Padres stave off elimination, beat Cards in Game 3

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The San Diego Padres got the ball to Trevor Hoffman, and baseball's career saves leader did the rest.

Chris Young shut down the Cardinals' offense for 6 2/3 innings,

Russell Branyan's two-run double gave the NL West champions their

first lead of the series and the Padres beat San Diego 3-1

Saturday, pulling to 2-1 in their NL playoff.

Game 3 Breakdown

Unsung Hero

Adrian Gonzalez. The Padres' first baseman reached base in four of his five at-bats -- two singles and two walks -- and scored San Diego's first run of the game.


Jeff Suppan. The righty lasted just 4 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on six hits while issuing three walks.

Turning Point

The top of the fourth. Gonzalez hit a one-out single, and then moved to second on a walk to Mike Cameron. Russell Branyan then cleared the bases with a two-run triple. Geoff Blum followed with a sacrifice fly, giving the Padres a 3-0 lead.

On Deck

Game 4 is Sunday in St. Louis. Woody Williams, who was 5-0 in his last five starts in the regular season, starts for the Padres. Chris Carpenter goes for the Cardinals. He earned the victory in Game 1.

Stopping the Cardinals from sweeping the Padres in the first

round for the second straight year, San Diego got Hoffman on the

mound for the first time this week.

"Anytime he comes into a game," San Diego's Mike Cameron said,

"that's a real good sign for us."

St. Louis sends ace Chris Carpenter to the mound in Game 4 on

Sunday, when the Padres will try to force the series back to San

Diego for a fifth game Monday.

"I think Chris is as good as anybody in baseball," Cardinals

manager Tony La Russa said. "So I always think we have a chance, a

good chance. It's a game we hoped not to play."

Woody Williams, who got knocked out in the second inning in Game

3 last year, will start for the Padres. Game 1 loser Jake Peavy

would go in Game 5.

"Probably as much as having confidence in Woody, we think Jake

could use another day," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's pitched a

lot down the stretch, and we're in a situation where we need to win

two games."

Carpenter will be made his third straight start against the

Padres, including his final regular-season outing.

"No matter what game it is and how many times you've seen them,

the goal is to execute pitches and execute your game plan,"

Carpenter said. "If you can do that you'll have success. If you

don't, you won't."

Williams won 18 games for the Cardinals in 2002 and was their

Game 1 World Series starter in 2004.

"It's going to be fun," he said. "I can't get too emotional

about it."

Carpenter builds resume

Chris Carpenter
If history repeats itself, the Padres don't have much of a chance against Chris Carpenter on Sunday. San Diego has had much more success against the St. Louis ace during the regular season.
Regular season

San Diego was 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position in the

series before Branyan's fourth-inning hit off loser Jeff Suppan put

the Padres ahead 2-0. Geoff Blum followed with a sacrifice fly.

Young, a 6-foot-10 right-hander, was the NL's best road starter,

going 6-0 with a 2.41 ERA. Making his first postseason appearance,

the 27-year-old allowed four hits, walked two and struck out nine,

fanning Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen twice each. He is 9-0 in 24

road outings dating to June 25, 2005.

"I don't think he's difficult to hit," Pujols said. "I saw

the ball good, but I chased some bad pitches, and when you chase

bad pitches you actually make the guy difficult."

Alan Embree finished the seventh, Scott Linebrink allowed an

eighth-inning homer to pinch-hitter So Taguchi and Hoffman finished

the five-hitter with a perfect ninth for his fourth postseason


Bochy had been 0-8 against the Cardinals in the playoffs, with

his team also getting swept in 1996.

"No getting away from it, they've had their way with us,"

Bochy said. "We're hearing 'Who's your Padre?' There's a real

sense of relief to finally win a game against these guys in the

playoffs. it took a well-pitched game."

Hoffman led the NL with 46 saves this season and set the career

record with 482, passing Lee Smith. He pitched only one inning in

last year's series against St. Louis.

"It felt good to finally get out there," Hoffman said.

"Everything was working for me."

San Diego won despite stranding a division series-record 14 and

going 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position, leaving the Padres

at 1-for-25 in the series. San Diego scored one run in losing the

first two games at home.

Elias Says

Chris Young
Chris Young was 6-0 in road games during the regular season and he earned a win at St. Louis on Saturday. Young is one of 49 pitchers since 1903 to go 5-0 or better on the road during a regular season, but he's the first of those 49 to follow that up with a road victory in the postseason. (1903 was the first year of postseason play in Major League Baseball.)

• For more Elias Says, Click here.

Pujols, who had five hits in the first two games, was 0-for-4

with two strikeouts and a double-play grounder. The second

strikeout came with runners on first and second for the second out

in the sixth, and Jim Edmonds followed with a flyout to the wall in


Suppan escaped a second-and-third, no-outs jam in the first when

Brian Giles hit a comebacker, Dave Roberts hit into a forceout at

the plate and catcher Yadier Molina picked off Mike Piazza at


San Diego went ahead when Adrian Gonzalez singled with one out

in the fourth, Cameron walked and Branyan drove the ball into the

right-field corner. Branyan took third on the throw, with second

baseman Ronnie Belliard leaping and then stumbling to retrieve the

off-line relay from right fielder Juan Encarnacion, and scored on

Blum's fly.

Taguchi, who homered only twice in 316 at-bats during the

regular season, homered leading off the eighth and Chris Duncan

walked with one out. But with the crowd of 46,634 chanting

"M-V-P!" Pujols grounded into a double play.

Seven pitches by Hoffman, and the Padres were celebrating. But

it was muted.

"We're not going to get excited just yet," reliever Alan

Embree said. "We've still got a lot of work to do."Game notes
Roberts, 7-for-11 against Suppan during the regular season

in his career, singled in all three at-bats against him. ...

Cardinals Hall of Fame SS Ozzie Smith threw out the ceremonial

first pitch. ... Cardinals reliever Josh Hancock, making his first

appearance since a lower abdominal injury on Sept. 28, escaped a

bases-loaded situation in the fifth to keep the deficit at 3-0.