The mild, mild West has a champion -- the .500 San Diego Padres.
The Padres clinched the fourth division title in their 37-year history last night, beating the San Francisco Giants, 9-1, to return to the postseason for the first time since being swept by the Yankees in the 1998 World Series.
Midseason acquisition Pedro Astacio took a shutout into the seventh. Rookie Ben Johnson had three hits, scored twice and had an RBI, and Mark Loretta had three hits and two RBIs.
Trevor Hoffman, the only player who's been with the Padres continuously since 1998, pitched the ninth in a non-save situation. Hoffman earned saves when the Padres clinched in 1996 and '98.
Barry Bonds went 2 for 3, both singles.
San Diego's postseason drought included five straight losing seasons from 1999-2003 and an 87-75 finish last year, when the Padres were five games behind the wild-card winning Astros.
Astros 7, Cardinals 6 -- Morgan Ensberg had a tiebreaking double in the ninth, his fourth hit of the game, and Houston won in St. Louis to maintain a 2 1/2-game lead over Philadelphia in the wild-card race.
With the score 6-6, Willy Taveras led off the ninth with his major league-leading 69th infield hit and scored without a play on Ensberg's double into the left-field corner off Jason Isringhausen (1-2).
Lance Berkman and Mike Lamb homered in consecutive at-bats off Carpenter as the Astros improved to 87-71, a season-best 16 games above .500.
Phillies 16, Mets 6 -- Chase Utley hit a three-run homer and drove in five runs and David Bell and Kenny Lofton each had four hits to give host Philadelphia's fading postseason hopes a boost.
The Phillies avoided a three-game sweep and maintained their slim chance of catching Houston.
The Mets threatened late when David Wright's two-run homer in the seventh off reliever Ryan Madson pulled them to 9-6. Vicente Padilla (9-12) was solid for the Phillies until tiring in the seventh.
Rockies 10, Braves 5 -- On a night when a lot of rookies were on display, first-year shortstop Clint Barmes had the biggest hit, driving in the go-ahead run with a two-run double in the sixth inning and Colorado won at Atlanta.
Pirates 3, Cubs 2 -- Rookie Nate McLouth homered for the third straight day to lead Pittsburgh at Chicago.
Reds 11, Brewers 4 -- Adam Dunn hit his 39th home run and Felipe Lopez drove in three runs to lead Cincinnati at Milwaukee, denying Chris Capuano of the Brewers his 19th win.
Nationals 11, Marlins 7 -- Preston Wilson homered and had five RBIs and Nick Johnson added a home run and four RBIs to help Washington beat Florida for a sweep of the three-game series in Miami.
Diamondbacks 4, Dodgers 3 -- Luis Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in the eighth and visiting Arizona won in its seventh in eight games.