The last pitcher to win a postseason game for San Diego is a big reason why the Padres still have a chance in this playoff chase.
Chris Young and four relievers combined on a four-hitter and the Padres showed some life in the waning days of the season, beating the Chicago Cubs 3-0 on Wednesday night to remain 1½ games behind Atlanta in the NL wild-card race.
Young (2-0) threw five strong innings in his third start back from a five-month stay on the disabled list. He allowed three hits while striking out six and walking two. He walked Kosuke Fukudome leading off the game and gave up a single to Starlin Castro, then retired the side. He allowed only three baserunners the rest of the way.
Young is the only Padres' pitcher to win a postseason game since 1998. With the Padres trailing the St. Louis Cardinals 2-0 in the 2006 division series, he threw 6 2-3 shutout innings in Game 3 at Busch Stadium as the Padres won 3-1. The Padres were eliminated the next day.
"I hope I get another chance to win another one," Young said. "But we've got to worry about getting there first. We've got our work cut out for us. With Atlanta and San Francisco winning tonight, we've got to win tomorrow and we've got to go to San Francisco and make it happen there.
"Anything's possible with this team," Young added. "We've got a great bunch of guys. We've got a bunch of guys that never quit. We're going to play it out and see what happens, and I believe in this group."
The Padres won for just the 12th time in 33 games since Aug. 25, when they were 76-49 and had a 6½-game lead over the Giants. The Padres had scored a total of only four runs in losing their previous three games.
Atlanta, which beat Florida 5-1 on Wednesday, is off Thursday while the Padres finish this four-game series. San Diego closes the regular season with three games at San Francisco.
It was the Padres' 20th shutout, tying the 2007 club record and matching Philadelphia for the major league lead. The Padres retired 17 of the final 18 batters.
Young won San Diego's second game of the season, April 6 at Arizona, but went on the disabled list six days later with a strained right shoulder. After making three rehab starts, he returned on Sept. 18 in a game at St. Louis.
The 6-foot-10 Young is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA since returning. In four starts this season, he has a 0.20 ERA.
Young said Wednesday night's performance was a validation of the work he's put in during the last five months.
"It's awesome. It's what you play for," he said. "I love it. I love environments like that: the crowd, the energy, the intensity. Every pitch matters. It's a lot of fun to be a part of it, and I'm just thankful I have this opportunity. It's unbelievable. Hopefully there's more to come. I'll be prepared to keep going. It's been so much fun to be in this environment."
Padres center fielder Will Venable made two great catches, including one in which he leaped to rob Aramis Ramirez of a two-run homer to end the third, then came tumbling down. Even Ramirez forced a smile after watching the catch. Venable, who sat out the previous two games with a sore lower back, made a nice catch of Alfonso Soriano's drive to just in front of the fence leading off the second.
"The first catch was good," Cubs interim manager Mike Quade said. "The second catch was phenomenal."
"What can you say?" Soriano said. "The second catch really hurt because that was a home run."
Heath Bell pitched the ninth for his 45th save in 48 chances, and his 32nd straight.
Chase Headley hit an RBI single in the second. Ryan Ludwick doubled leading off the fourth, was sacrificed by Yorvit Torrealba and scored on Randy Wells' wild pitch. Luis Durango pinch-hit for Young leading off the fifth and walked, stole second, then scored on David Eckstein's double down the left-field line.
"That was no fun," Quade said. "It's the same thing here. They scratch for a couple of runs. They get some great plays. Young pitched great. The bullpen is what it is. And you get beat."
Wells (8-14) allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings, walked four and struck out two.