Series: Game 3 of 3

San Francisco won 2-1

Game 1: Tuesday, September 28
San Francisco7Final
San Diego5
Game 2: Wednesday, September 29
San Francisco3Final
in 10
San Diego4
Game 3: Thursday, September 30
San Francisco4Final
San Diego1

Giants 4

(89-70, 42-35 away)

Padres 1

(86-73, 42-39 home)

10:05 PM ET, September 30, 2004

Petco Park, San Diego, California 

123456789 R H E
SF 000400000 4 9 0
SD 100000000 1 5 3

W: J. Williams (10-7)

L: A. Eaton (11-14)

S: D. Hermanson (16)

San Francisco tied for wild-card lead

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Thanks to a right-hander who hadn't started in two months, the San Francisco Giants head to Los Angeles with two playoff options intact.

Jerome Williams pitched seven strong innings in his first start in two months and the Giants jumped back into a tie for the wild-card lead by beating the San Diego Padres 4-1 on Thursday night.

The Giants (89-70) tied the idle Houston Astros in the wild-card race, one game ahead of the Chicago Cubs (88-71), who were swept by the Cincinnati Reds.

San Francisco remained three games behind the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers (92-67), who rallied to beat Colorado 4-2 in 11 innings. The Giants and Dodgers end the season with three games this weekend in Los Angeles. A San Francisco sweep would either force a one-game playoff for the division title or give the Giants the NL West championship based on a 10-9 season record against Los Angeles if Houston loses at least once.

"We have two chances now," manager Felipe Alou said. "In the wild card, and we'll have something to do with the pennant race."

The Padres, playing their home finale, were pushed to the brink of elimination, falling three games back in the wild-card race with three to play.

Barry Bonds beat out an infield single in the eighth, making him 1-for-10 in the series. With runners on first and second and two outs in the fifth, Bonds hit a high fly to center that Jay Payton caught on the warning track.

Ray Durham, who wasn't cleared to play until two hours before game time after straining his right quadriceps on Wednesday night, homered off Adam Eaton (11-14) leading off the four-run fourth. The Padres committed two errors that inning, leading to three unearned runs.

Williams and three relievers held the Padres to five hits. Dustin Hermanson pitched the ninth for his 16th save in 19 chances.

Alou said the Giants hoped for five decent innings from Williams. "He threw seven great innings," the manager said.

The Padres couldn't muster much offense against Williams (10-7), who made his first start since July 30, when he left a game against St. Louis with a triceps strain. He had arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow on Aug. 4.

"I just wanted to try to stay calm," Williams said. "The first time back in two months, you tend to try to go out there and overpower everybody. I tried not to let my emotions get to me, and go out there and throw."

Williams allowed one run and four hits, struck out three and walked one.

San Diego's only run came in the first when Brian Giles' groundout scored Ramon Vazquez, who hit a leadoff double and advanced on Mark Loretta's groundout.

The Padres had runners on first and third with no outs in the sixth and failed to score. Vazquez tripled into the right-field corner and Mark Loretta was hit by a pitch. Brian Giles flied out to left and Phil Nevin grounded into a double play.

"What makes it worse is how we lost," Nevin said. "We gave up three unearned runs, we had a guy pitching his tail off and we're pitching to Barry Bonds every time he comes to the plate."

Durham hit his 16th homer leading off the fourth. Edgardo Alfonzo singled with one out, Bonds reached on Nevin's fielding error at first and J.T. Snow doubled in Alfonzo. Bonds scored on the play when Payton threw to second even though nobody was covering the bag. Deivi Cruz added an RBI single.

"There's no explanation for it, no excuse," Nevin said of his error.

Game notes

Giants RF Dustan Mohr, who hurt his left knee Wednesday night, flew back to San Francisco to have an MRI exam. The preliminary diagnosis was a strained patella tendon. ... The Petco Park-record crowd of 45,389 pushed the Padres over 3 million in attendance for the first time, at 3,016,752. ... San Diego's Jake Peavy, who leads the NL with a 2.25 ERA, will make his final start of the season Friday night at Arizona. He needs just 1 2-3 innings to qualify for the title. He leads Chicago's Carlos Zambrano (2.60) and Randy Johnson (2.65). ... Snow's double in the fourth inning was the Giants' 308th this year, setting the franchise record. The old record of 307 was set in 1999.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press