Maddux, Greene combine to end Milwaukee's playoff hopes



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• Summary: The playoffs will have to wait another year for the Brewers. Greg Maddux gave up three runs and six hits in five innings for his 347th win as San Diego opened a two-game lead in the NL wild-card standings and remained one game behind Arizona in the NL West. The Pads' win, coupled with the Cubs' win over Cincinnati, knocked Milwaukee out of the playoff picture.

• Turning point: The Padres broke a 3-3 tie on Khalil Greene's double in the sixth and Greene added a two-run homer in the eighth to knock out the Brewers.

• Rally killer: The Brewers had a scoring chance in the eighth after Padres' reliever Heath Bell walked Prince Fielder and hit Corey Hart with one out. But Bell got Kevin Mench to fly out and struck out Joe Dillon to end the inning.

• Hunt for October: Milwaukee is out of the playoff picture, but the Padres have plenty of options. They took a two-game lead over the Mets and Rockies in the NL wild-card race and are a game behind Arizona for the NL West title.

• Quotable: "The .500 thing is irrelevant. I'd rather be in the playoffs with a sub-.500 record." -- Brewers center fielder Bill Hall, on finishing over .500

-- news services

Padres 6, Brewers 3

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- At the very least, the San Diego Padres will still be playing come Monday.

And while they came close for the first time in a long time, the Milwaukee Brewers will be bystanders for yet another October.

The Padres beat the Brewers 6-3 on Friday, assuring themselves of no worse than a tie for the NL wild card and eliminating Milwaukee from the postseason.

San Diego holds a two-game lead in the wild-card race over Colorado and New York with two games left. The Padres trail Arizona by one game in the NL West.

With so many teams left in contention, Greg Maddux (14-11) enjoyed pondering all the playoff scenarios.

"It's fun to talk about it, you know," said Maddux, who got his 347th win. "I mean, we could go to New York, Philly, Chicago or play at home. I guess we can't go to Arizona or Colorado. Or, we can have a one-game playoff anywhere, really, on Monday."

On the other side of the ballpark, the fun suddenly evaporated from Milwaukee's clubhouse.

"We didn't do what we needed to do," Brewers manager Ned Yost said.

Milwaukee entered two games behind the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs. But the Brewers' loss, coupled with the Cubs' 6-0 victory at Cincinnati, sealed their fate.

Despite the promise of a hot start in April and a big division lead in June, Milwaukee missed the playoffs once again.

Yost said his young team met its goal of playing meaningful games in late September for the first time in a long time. And that experience, Yost said, will be invaluable come next year.

"Our kids gave their very, very best effort to see that happen," Yost said. "They just fell a little short."

Prince Fielder, the most prominent of the Brewers' young core, struggled to turn his thoughts from a disappointing present to a promising future.

"Nah," Fielder said, briefly looking up and shaking his head. "Not right now."

Milwaukee held an 8 1/2-game lead after beating Kansas City on June 23 but slumped in the second half. Several starting pitchers went into prolonged slumps, Ben Sheets got hurt again, and the bullpen wasn't good enough.

Yost said the team still had one goal to shoot for: By winning one of their last two games, the Brewers would secure their first winning record since 1992.

"The .500 thing is irrelevant," center fielder Bill Hall said. "I'd rather be in the playoffs with a sub-.500 record."

After the Padres broke a 3-3 tie on Khalil Greene's RBI double off Claudio Vargas (11-6) in the sixth, the Brewers had a chance to come back in the bottom half when they loaded the bases with one out off reliever Joe Thatcher.

But Black lifted Thatcher for right-hander Cla Meredith, who got pinch-hitter Craig Counsell to ground into a 4-6-3 double play.

"Clay probably had the pitch of the night when he got the double play," Maddux said.

Greene added a two-run homer in the eighth, his 26th of the season.

"We've been a kind of middle-of-the-road team, but we've continued to play hard and try to win games that we keep close," Greene said. "We've been able to do that, I think, more often than not here lately."

The Brewers had another scoring chance in the eighth, after reliever Heath Bell walked Prince Fielder and hit Corey Hart with one out. Bell got Kevin Mench to fly out and struck out Joe Dillon.

With his team's playoff possibilities erased, Yost retained at least some semblance of a sense of humor.

"I was glad to make it through a game without getting thrown out," said Yost, who had been ejected from or suspended for four of the Brewers' previous five games. "It's been fun. It's been intense."

Game notes
Chris Capuano gave up three runs and five hits in five innings. The Brewers have lost the last 22 games Capuano has appeared in, a stretch that includes 18 starts and four relief appearances. Capuano was banished to the bullpen in mid-August but recently returned to the rotation after No. 1 starter Ben Sheets injured his left hamstring. ... The commissioner's office revoked the three-game suspension assessed to RHP Seth McClung Thursday. The reliever and Yost were ejected Wednesday night after Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals was hit during a 7-3 loss. ... Maddux was picked off first base by Capuano in the third despite taking only a two-step lead off first base. ... Brewers 2B Rickie Weeks hit RHP Yovani Gallardo in the back with a line drive during batting practice. Gallardo eventually walked off the field, accompanied by a member of the training staff. ... Sheets, who might be available for bullpen duty, warmed up in the sixth.