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Padres again try to wrap up second straight playoff berth

Sep 30, 2006 - 2:28 PM San Diego (86-74) at Arizona (76-84) 4:10 pm EDT

PHOENIX (Ticker) -- The San Diego Padres hope Friday's loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks was merely a delay of the inevitable.

David Wells again tries to post his first victory with the Padres this season when they attempt to clinch their second consecutive playoff berth with a win over the Diamondbacks on Saturday.

The Padres are tied for first place with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West Division and lead the Philadelphia Phillies by two games in the wild card race with two to play.

San Diego missed an opportunity to wrap up the fifth postseason appearance in franchise history in Friday's 3-1 loss to Arizona. The Padres managed just four hits in losing for just the second time in nine games.

Winless since August 16, Wells (0-2, 4.43 ERA) missed his last start Monday with gout in his right foot and may need a strong outing to earn a spot in the playoff rotation. He allowed four runs and 11 hits in 6 1/3 innings of a loss to the Diamondbacks on September 20.

Arizona counters with Juan Cruz (5-6, 4.27), who got the assignment in place of rookie Edgar Gonzalez. He has made nine relief appearances since his last start on August 8, when he beat the San Francisco Giants.

Eric Byrnes belted his third homer in five games and Livan Hernandez worked seven effective innings Friday for Arizona, which topped San Diego for just the second time in their last seven encounters.

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