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Padres history: 10/01/2006 - San Diego holds off Arizona to win second-straight NL West title


Going into the final day of the 2006 season, the Padres and Dodgers were tied for the NL West lead with twin 87-74 records. A win would ensure the Padres the division, regardless of what the Dodgers did; San Diego owned the tiebreaker thanks to their dominance in the season series against Los Angeles. Likewise, the Padres could have gotten away with losing if the Dodgers lost, but that was not an issue as the Dodgers beat the Giants to put the pressure on.

Regardless of the Dodgers' victory, it looked like the Friars were poised to stroll into the postseason after they jumped out to a huge lead over Arizona in the fourth inning. San Diego got on the board in the first when Adrian Gonzalez singled and Mike Piazza doubled him home.  With the score still 1-0, Gonzalez led off the fourth with his second single and Piazza once again followed up with a double. Gonzalez didn't score from first that time, but no matter. He scored his and the team's second run three pitches later when Diamondbacks starter and that year's Cy Young Award winner Brandon Webb threw a wild pitch past receiver Chris Snyder. Webb struck out Russell Branyan and Terrmel Sledge, but then his wheels came off. The next six Padres batters reached base. Geoff Blum, Josh Barfield, and starting pitcher Woody Williams singled, followed by walks to Dave Roberts and Brian Giles. Gonzalez doubled for his second hit of the inning, and by the time Piazza struck out for the third out, the Padres were up 7-0.

Arizona got on the board in the bottom of the fourth on a solo homer by Craig Counsell, and scored another run on a sacrifice fly in the fifth. They got within slam-range in the bottom of the seventh, when Williams allowed a two-run home run to Chad Tracy which narrowed the score to 7-4. Two batters later, rookie outfielder Carlos Quentin mashed a drive deep to right that had home run written all over it, but Brian Giles used his glove to erase that writing, making an incredible catch.

After both teams traded zeros in the eighth inning and the Padres failed to tack on any insurance in the top of the ninth, recently crowned all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman came in to record number 482. He got obnoxious false-hustler Eric Byrnes to pop out before Tracy made the score 7-5 with his second homer run in as many at-bats. That score lasted for all of three pitches, as Conor Jackson added one of his own. Hoffman walked Quentin, who was then forced at second on a grounder by Snyder for the second out. Pinch-hitter Alberto Callaspo then grounded to second, and that's when the confusion broke loose.

This really seems like something MLB Multimedia would have a clip of, but they just had dead links and I couldn't find one anywhere else. In place of that, here's a succinct retelling from the AP recap:

Pinch-runner Chris Young was on first base when Alberto Callaspo hit a two-out grounder to second baseman Josh Barfield, whose throw pulled Gonzalez off first base.

But Gonzalez alertly threw to second in time to get Young, who slipped as he let the grounder get past him. Second base umpire Larry Poncino originally signaled safe when shortstop Khalil Greene failed to tag Young, then changed the call on a forceout when Bochy protested.

I remember going from sheer "even when things go right, they go wrong" frustration to amazed jubilation when the umpiring crew corrected the call, something that happened much less frequently in those pre-replay caveman days. Now if only the umpires could have gotten the final call right one year to the day later...