SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Seth Lugo allowed three hits and came within an out of his first career complete game, Juan Soto homered twice and the San Diego Padres stayed alive in the NL wild-card race, beating the San Francisco Giants 4-0 on Tuesday night.
The teams are tied at 78-80, 4 1/2 games behind the Chicago Cubs for the final NL wild-card spot. They also are three games behind Cincinnati and four games in back of Miami.
San Francisco was mathematically eliminated and will miss the playoffs for the second straight year. The Giants can win a maximum 82 games and would lose a tiebreaker against all other teams reaching 82.
Lugo, who beat San Francisco behind six scoreless innings at Petco Park on Sept. 3, was just as crisp at Oracle Park. He had seven strikeouts and worked around three walks while throwing 123 pitches for his career-best eighth victory.
It was exactly what manager Bob Melvin hoped for when the Padres signed Lugo in the offseason. Mostly a reliever through his career, Lugo signed with San Diego with the idea of joining the rotation.
“He felt like he could be a starter all along,” said Melvin, who repeatedly paced the dugout hoping for Lugo to go the distance. “He felt like innings weren’t ever going to be a problem. Certainly throwing almost 125 pitches in his last game of the year showed you that he was prepared for it.”
The 33-year-old Lugo (8-7) pitched with runners on base in four innings, and retired 14 of 15 during one stretch. It marked the 17th time in 26 starts that Lugo has thrown 90 pitches or more.
“The last few years I’ve built up a pretty good routine so physically I feel good,” Lugo said. “Mentally I feel confident. It’s a good place to be heading into whatever’s next.”
Lugo got the first out of the ninth on a line drive to second base. Luis Matos walked before Joc Pederson reached on a fielder’s choice. Thairo Estrada singled with two outs before Melvin replaced Lugo with All-Star closer Josh Hader, who retired Michael Conforto on a looking strikeout.
“I wanted it,” Lugo said about a complete game. “Went out for the eighth, had never done that before. So at that point I was happy with whatever happened.”
Soto hit a solo shot off John Brebbia in the first inning to extend his on-base streak to a career-best 29 games. Soto connected for a two-run drive off Ryan Walker in the seventh for his 35th homer, another personal best.
It’s Soto’s fifth multi-homer game this season and the 17th of his career.
“I faced Brebbia a couple times before, so I know what he has,” Soto said. “He was showing that he had good stuff today so my mindset was jumping him early.”
Brebbia (3-3) was pressed into duty to make his ninth appearance as an opener this season after top pitching prospect Kyle Harrison was scratched from the lineup 15 minutes before first pitch due to illness. Brebbia retired four batters and had two strikeouts while allowing one run.
A wacky play led to an unearned run for San Diego in the third.
After Brett Sullivan singled with one out, Xander Bogaerts hit a slow chopper to the side of the mound. Giants reliever Alex Wood dove for the ball but missed, then second baseman Thairo Estrada grabbed it then threw wildly past first base for an error. Ha-Seong Kim’s groundout scored Sullivan.
PLAY OF THE GAME
San Francisco’s J.D. Davis doubled off the brick wall in right field with two outs in the first inning, then scrambled toward third when Tatis initially fumbled with the ball. Tatis picked the ball up and threw to second baseman Kim, who relayed it to third baseman Matthew Batten. Davis overslid the bag at third was tagged out by a wide margin.
Wood made a backhanded grab of Jurickson Profar’s sharp bouncer up the middle in the fourth inning and had a huge grin on his face as he tossed the ball to first baseman LaMonte Wade Jr. for the out.
Giants: Davis left the game with a left shoulder sprain that he apparently suffered during the slide into third base. … RHP Jakob Junis was placed on the 15-day Injured List with a cervical sprain. The move is retroactive to Sept. 24. … C Joey Bart was called up from Triple-A Sacramento.
Giants LHP Sean Manaea (7-6, 4.51 ERA) faces San Diego Wednesday night looking for his eighth win, which would match his season total from 2022. Padres rookie RHP Matt Waldron (1-3, 4.58) hasn’t made it through six innings in any of his previous five starts.
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