SAN DIEGO – Chris Young and four relievers combined on a four-hitter and the San Diego Padres showed some life in the waning days of the playoff race, beating the Chicago Cubs 3-0 on Wednesday night to remain 1½ games behind Atlanta in the NL wild-card race.
San Diego remained two games behind first-place San Francisco in the NL West. The Giants beat Arizona 3-1 on Wednesday night.
The Padres won for just the 12th time in 33 games since Aug. 25, when they were 76-49 and had a 6½-game lead over the Giants. The Padres had scored a total of only four runs in losing their previous three games.
Atlanta, which beat Florida 5-1 on Wednesday, is off Thursday while the Padres finish this four-game series. San Diego closes the regular season with three games at San Francisco.
It was the Padres' 20th shutout, tying the 2007 club record and matching Philadelphia for the major league lead. The Padres retired 17 of the final 18 batters.
Padres center fielder Will Venable made two great catches, including one in which he leaped to rob Aramis Ramirez of a two-run homer to end the third, then came tumbling down. Even Ramirez forced a smile after watching the catch. Venable, who sat out the previous two games with a sore lower back, made a nice catch of Alfonso Soriano's drive to just in front of the fence leading off the second.
Young (2-0) threw five strong innings in his third start back from the disabled list. He allowed three hits while striking out six and walking two. He walked Kosuke Fukudome leading off the game and gave up a single to Starlin Castro, then retired the side. He allowed only three baserunners the rest of the way.
Young won San Diego's second game of the season, April 6 at Arizona, but went on the disabled list six days later with a strained right shoulder. After making three rehab starts, he returned on Sept. 18 in a game at St. Louis.
The 6-foot-10 Young is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA since returning. In four starts this season, he has a 0.20 ERA.
Young is the only Padres' pitcher to win a postseason game since 1998. With the Padres trailing the St. Louis Cardinals 2-0 in the 2006 division series, he threw 6 2-3 shutout innings in Game 3 at Busch Stadium as the Padres won 3-1. The Padres were eliminated the next day.
Heath Bell pitched the ninth for his 45th save in 48 chances, and his 32nd straight.
Chase Headley hit an RBI single in the second. Ryan Ludwick doubled leading off the fourth, was sacrificed by Yorvit Torrealba and scored on Randy Wells' wild pitch. Luis Durango pinch-hit for Young leading off the fifth and walked, stole second, then scored on David Eckstein's double down the left-field line.
Wells (8-14) allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings, walked four and struck out two.
NOTES: It was only the fourth road loss in 18 games since Cubs interim manager Mike Quade took over for Lou Piniella. ... The Padres play their final home game of the regular season on Thursday, with Jon Garland scheduled to start against Chicago's Tom Gorzelanny.