SAN DIEGO (AP)Wil Myers got a nice ovation from the crowd as he exited what probably was his final regular-season game with the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.
He hopes to be back here late next week if the Padres can get past the New York Mets in a wild-card series that starts Friday night at Citi Field.
Myers’ exit to cheers was the highlight for the Padres in an 8-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday in the regular-season finale. Manager Bob Melvin had Myers, the longest-tenured Padres player, move from first base to third base before the top of the eighth inning, and then subbed him out.
”That was really cool. One of my favorite moments in baseball,” Myers said. ”It was really cool to be able to jog in there. I was very thankful for Bob to kind of get the attention of the crowd. That way it was more of a moment.”
Myers said he wasn’t emotional. The only way the Padres can play at home again this year is by beating the Mets in that best-of-three series and advancing to the Division Series against the rival Los Angeles Dodgers.
”More than anything we want to win the series so we can see playoff baseball here in San Diego,” said Myers, acquired from Tampa Bay in a three-team trade in December 2014 and signed an $83 million, six-year contract extension in 2017.
”It’s been pretty wild and a lot of fun to see this organization turn around and become very relevant and now we’re here in the postseason ready to do some damage,” Myers said. ”There’s more to it than just the regular season this year. With this one game here being my last one it wasn’t a big deal because I knew we had more. More than anything I want to play here in San Diego in the postseason so that’s what I’m holding onto now. I still think we’re going to have plenty of games here in San Diego.”
The Padres beat St. Louis in a home wild-card series after the pandemic-shortened 2020 season but fans weren’t allowed in the ballpark. The last time the Padres hosted a playoff game in a full season was 2006.
David Villar hit two home runs and Austin Slater also connected for the Giants, who finished .500 (81-81) for the first time in the franchise’s 140 seasons. The Giants became the eighth team in history to win 100-plus games and then finish .500 or worse the next season. They set the franchise single-season record for wins in 2021, when they went an MLB-best 107-55 and won the NL West.
San Diego finished 89-73, its first winning record in a full season since going 90-72 in 2010, when it missed the playoffs.
Melvin said he wanted to move Myers to third so he’d have a longer jog back to the dugout to give him more time to soak up the applause.
”I told him, `Play as deep as you can,”’ Melvin joked. ”Wil’s pretty quick when he gets on and off the field, he moves around pretty quick. Take your time.
”It was easy to do,” the manager added. ”He’s meant a lot to this team. He’s kind of the start of where this thing went to where it is right now. First guy with a big contract, showing where we’re going, what he means in the clubhouse to these guys, they were all out there for it. So that ended up being the best part of the day for sure.
Mike Clevinger had been scheduled to start for the Padres but was placed on the injured list a few hours before the game with an illness. Melvin said Clevinger tested negative on a rapid COVID-19 test but won’t take the test MLB requires to clear him until Thursday, so he won’t travel.
Reliever Craig Stammen (1-2) started and gave up five runs and six hits in three-plus innings, struck out three and walked three. He failed to get an out in the four-run fourth, when the first six Giants reached and three scored before they made an out. Villar hit a two-run homer and LaMonte Wade Jr. added an RBI single off Stammen. Mike Yastrzemski added a sacrifice fly off Nabil Crismatt.
Villar homered against Pierce Johnson leading off the eighth. Left fielder Jurickson Profar tried to make the catch but the ball went off his glove and over the fence. Villar finished with nine homers.
Slater homered off Nabil Crismatt with two outs in the seventh, his seventh.
Manny Machado and Jake Cronenworth hit consecutive doubles in the first for a 1-0 Padres lead. The Giants tied it in the third on Yastrzemski’s RBI single.
The Padres drew 32,064 fans to finish with a season total of 2,987,470, the fifth-highest in the majors this year and the second-highest in franchise history behind 3,016,752 in Petco Park’s inaugural season of 2004. By comparison, the Padres drew 2,396,399 in 2019, the last season before COVID-19 restrictions.
The Giants placed OF Joc Pederson on the family medical emergency list and recalled OF Heliot Ramos from Triple-A Sacramento.
Giants: Open their 2023 spring training schedule Feb. 25 against the Chicago Cubs in Mesa, Arizona.
Padres: RHP Yu Darvish (16-8, 3.10 ERA) is scheduled to start Game 1 of the wild-card series at the New York Mets on Friday night.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports