San Diego, CA (Sports Network) - Brad Snyder drove in the only run of the game in the ninth inning, and the Chicago Cubs dealt the San Diego Padres a damaging 1-0 loss in the finale of a four-game series at PETCO Park.
San Diego now trails the NL West-leading Giants by three games and fell two games behind the wild card-leading Braves, who were idle on Thursday. The Padres wrap up the regular season in San Francisco and must sweep the three- game set to force a one-game playoff for the division title. There is still a chance both San Francisco (91-68) and San Diego (88-71) make the playoffs, but only if wild card-leading Atlanta (90-69) falters in its weekend series with the NL East-champion Phillies.
"It's still not over," Padres outfielder Ryan Ludwick said. "We've put up three-game winning streak quite often this season and that's what we've got to do. We have to scratch, claw, do what ever we can to try to win."
Padres closer Heath Bell (6-1) gave up a single to Aramis Ramirez to open the ninth, and pinch-runner Darwin Barney took second on a sacrifice bunt from Xavier Nady. Snyder, a September call-up from Triple-A Iowa, followed with a single to left field.
"I just figured he was going away," Snyder said of the pitch he hit. "I made enough contact to get it through the infield."
Carlos Marmol struck out two of the three batters he faced in the bottom of the inning to earn his 37th save. Snyder's clutch hit made a winner out of Sean Marshall (7-5), who recorded the final two outs in the eighth.
Both starting pitchers were effective on the mound. Chicago's Tom Gorzelanny scattered three hits, walked four and struck out three in six innings, while San Diego's Jon Garland gave up four hits, walked one and fanned eight over 6 1/3 innings.
The start of the game was delayed 22 minutes because of rain...San Diego has dropped five of its last eight games...Padres outfielder Will Venable went 0- for-4 to snap a 10-game hitting streak...Cubs starting pitchers are now 10-2 with a 1.44 ERA over the last 13 road games.