Young falls four outs shy of perfect game as Padres pound Brewers

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Chris Young came within four outs of perfection, a major accomplishment for a guy whose season has been anything but perfect.

Young retired the first 23 Brewers in order before Gabe Kapler homered, and the San Diego Padres beat Milwaukee 10-1 on Sunday.

Not bad for a guy who missed nine weeks after a scorching liner from Albert Pujols broke his nose.

"Personally, it's pretty gratifying," said Young, who missed from May 21 to July 29 after having surgery to repair his deviated septum. "It's been a long road for me.

"It's been a lot of time sitting and watching," he said. "It's been hard, especially with the way the season has gone for us as a team. I couldn't sit out and ... whine about it. I had to keep working and do my best to get out there."

He had little trouble as none of the free-swinging Brewers came close to getting a hit in the first seven innings. In the eighth, he got Prince Fielder and Corey Hart to pop out before throwing a first-pitch ball to Kapler.

Catcher Nick Hundley then called for a slider, but Young wanted to throw his self-described "bread and butter" fastball. He threw the fastball and Kapler hit it squarely into the left-field bleachers.

"I learned my lesson," Young said. "He called a slider and I wanted to challenge him with a heater. I didn't want to fall behind him any farther than that [in the count] so I came after him with the heater and he hit it out."

Pinch-hitter Mat Gamel doubled with one out in the ninth for Milwaukee's only other hit.

The Padres -- in last place in the NL West -- have not had a no-hitter in franchise history.

"It would have been a bright spot in an otherwise season that hasn't gone our way, and especially with a guy that's had a major setback in the middle of the season and an injury in late July through August," said San Diego manager Bud Black, who was the opposing pitcher when Toronto's Dave Stieb no-hit the Cleveland Indians on Sept. 2, 1990.

"It would have been a great moment for the club," Black said.

Chase Headley hit his ninth homer and Kevin Kouzmanoff hit his 21st for San Diego, which had 14 hits and broke the game open with five unearned runs off Manny Parra (10-7) in the third.

Young, at 6-foot-10 the second tallest player in the history of baseball, sat alone in the Padres dugout in the late innings before giving up the homer. If Young had succeeded, it would have been the 18th perfect game in MLB history, and first since Arizona's Randy Johnson accomplished the feat on May 18, 2004 with a 2-0 victory over the Braves.

The Brewers remained four games behind the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central after the Cubs lost 4-3 to the Reds. Milwaukee began the day with a 4 1/2-game lead over the Phillies in the wild card race and has have lost five of seven in its chase to make the postseason for the first time since 1982.

"Listen, we'd prefer to not have them celebrate something like a no-hitter or a perfect game, any team for that matter, on our field," Kapler said. "So, it's gratifying that didn't happen. That said, it wasn't a good game. We didn't play well. We didn't play good defense. We didn't swing the bats well and we didn't pitch. There's not much good to talk about today."

Young gave up two hits, didn't walk a batter and struck out five in his first complete game in 114 starts. He also helped himself at the plate, going 1-for-3 with a double, sacrifice bunt and sacrifice fly.

Young returned from his nine-week stay on the DL on July 29, but lasted only three starts. He gave up seven runs in four innings on Aug. 10 at Colorado before going on the DL again with a strained right forearm.

The near-perfect game Sunday was his second start since returning from the DL. In his first start Sept. 1, he gave up four runs in five innings in a 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Rookie shortstop Sean Kazmar, who came into the game 1-for-15, went 3-for-4 with an RBI for the Padres, and Adrian Gonzalez had two hits and two RBIs.

Game notes
There's only been one no-hitter this year, thrown by Boston's Jon Lester, who beat the Kansas City Royals, 7-0, on May 19. ... Brewers CF Mike Cameron missed his second consecutive game due to a sore left knee. He's day-to-day. ... Brewers INF Mike Lamb made his first appearance since being signed Friday, flying out to center as a pinch-hitter in the sixth. ... It was Gamel's first major league hit.