10/06/06 6:15 PM ET
Cards know Padres won't go quietly
St. Louis seeks clincher, while San Diego tries to stay alive
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
In contrast, the Padres have only led twice in their eight straight NLDS losses to the Cardinals, and not once since the final game of the 1996 series. Last year, the Padres lost the first two games at old Busch and dropped the final game at PETCO Park.This year, when the NL West-winning Padres were much more optimistic about prevailing, they dropped the first two games at home and face quick elimination again on Saturday. Thus far in the series, the Padres have scored one run on 10 hits. It's not as if the Cardinals have been bashing the ball, either. They've scored seven times in the first two games with Albert Pujols generating the mass of those runs by either scoring or knocking in five of them. Pujols is 5-for-8 and has won both games, the first with a two-run homer and the second with an RBI single. "We certainly have an uphill climb," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "Our backs are to the wall. The only thing we can do is go out swinging. Hopefully, we'll loosen up and get these bats going a little bit. Our pitching has done a pretty good job. But somewhere along the line we'll have to put some runs on the board. That's the only way you win ballgames. "We've been down before during the course of the season. We've been very resilient. Hopefully, we'll show that in St. Louis." Talk about postseason resilience, Bochy was the backup catcher on the 1984 Padres team that returned to what was then called San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium down, 2-0, to the Cubs in the last of the best-of-five NLCS. The Padres had dropped the first two games at Wrigley Field by a combined score of 17-2, but they swept the three home games and won their first pennant. David Wells, who pitched five solid innings on Thursday only to take the loss, said another comeback is not out of the question, but the Padres' hitters have to start producing. "We've got to get on the board and score some runs," said Wells, who says he's retiring at the end of the postseason and may have made the last start of his 20-year career on Thursday. "One run in two games isn't going to cut it. If this continues then it's the end of it. So hopefully our bats wake up and our pitchers don't give up any runs. Right now, I mean, it's about as flat as it can get."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.