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Padres Counting On Wells to Tie the Series

October 05, 2006|From the Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — This is the kind of game that has "Boomer" written all over it.

At least the San Diego Padres hope it does.

Down one game to the St. Louis Cardinals in the division series, the Padres will turn to 43-year-old San Diego native David Wells to start Game 2 today against Jeff Weaver.

The Padres acquired the left-hander Aug. 31 from Boston because of his reputation as a big-game pitcher, especially in October. And this is definitely a big game for the Padres, who don't want the Cardinals to take a 2-0 lead to St. Louis for Game 3 on Saturday.

"I couldn't be happier," said Wells, who plans to retire after the season. "It's nice to represent your hometown and be a part of something big. This couldn't be a better time for me. It's my last year, and going out on top would be a nice way to go, especially in your hometown."

Although Wells was 0-2 in his first four starts with San Diego, he pitched six scoreless innings against Arizona on Saturday and the Padres won, 3-1, to clinch a postseason berth.

The Cardinals won Tuesday, 5-1, propelled by Albert Pujols' two-run home run against Jake Peavy. It is the third time the Padres are facing the Cardinals in a division series since 1996, and St. Louis has won all seven games.

"The boys are going to come out [today] and I promise you, expecting to win," Peavy said after the loss. "And we've got the big boy on the mound who has been there and done it before. Hopefully, he'll give us a lift."

Wells has reached the postseason 11 times with six teams and is 10-4 with a 3.15 earned-run average.

He won World Series rings with Toronto in 1992 and the New York Yankees in 1998, when he beat San Diego in Game 1 of New York's sweep. He was with the Yankees when they lost to Florida in the 2003 World Series.

Wells, who pitched for the Padres in 2004 before signing with Boston, is looking forward to facing Pujols.

"I've never been a guy to shy away from anybody," Wells said. "I love challenging. I mean, Albert's a great hitter. He's very respectable and he can be a one-man show at times. But to me, that's where I get recognition too, is by getting guys like him out."

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