San Diego The mild, mild NL West has a champion - the .500 San Diego Padres.
The Padres clinched the fourth division title in their 37-year history Wednesday night, beating the San Francisco Giants, 9-1, to return to the postseason for the first time since being swept by the New York Yankees in the 1998 World Series.
Midseason acquisition Pedro Astacio took a shutout into the seventh. Rookie Ben Johnson had three hits, scored twice and had an RBI, and Mark Loretta had three hits and two RBIs.
Trevor Hoffman, the only player who's been with the Padres continuously since 1998, pitched the ninth in a non-save situation. Hoffman earned saves when the Padres clinched in 1996 and '98.
Barry Bonds went 2-for-3, both singles.
San Diego's postseason drought included five straight losing seasons from 1999-2003 and an 87-75 finish last year, when the Padres were five games behind the wild-card winning Astros.
Now the Padres (79-79) need to win three of their last four games to finish above .500 for just the 11th time in their history. Since 1969, and excluding strike years, the 1973 New York Mets own the lowest winning percentage of a division champion by going 82-79 (.509) to win the NL East.
Astros 7, Cardinals 6
St. Louis - Morgan Ensberg had a tiebreaking double in the ninth, his fourth hit of the game, and Houston beat St. Louis to maintain a 21â2-game lead over Philadelphia in the NL wild-card race.
Phillies 16, Mets 6
Philadelphia - Chase Utley hit a three-run homer and drove in five runs, and David Bell and Kenny Lofton each had four hits to lead Philadelphia.
Rockies 10, Braves 5
Atlanta - Colorado first-year shortstop Clint Barmes drove in the go-ahead run with a two-run double in the sixth inning.
Reds 11, Brewers 4
Milwaukee - Adam Dunn hit his 39th home run, and Felipe Lopez drove in three runs to lead Cincinnati over Milwaukee, denying Chris Capuano his 19th win.
Diamondbacks 4, Dodgers 3
Los Angeles - Luis Gonzalez hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the eighth, and Arizona beat Los Angeles for its seventh win in eight games.
Nationals 11, Marlins 7
Miami - Preston Wilson homered and had five RBIs, and Nick Johnson added a home run and four RBIs to help Washington defeat Florida and sweep the three-game series.
Pirates 3, Cubs 2
Chicago - Nate McLouth homered for the third straight day to lead Pittsburgh over Chicago.