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At close of play on September 13, 2007, the NL West standings read thus:
|TEAM ||W ||L ||GB
|ARI ||83 ||64 ||-
|SDP ||78 ||67 ||4.0
|LAD ||77 ||69 ||5.5
|COL ||76 ||70 ||6.5
|SFG ||66 ||80 ||16.5
Losing two games in a row to the Dodgers had set the Padres back, and while they still held a 1.5-game advantage on Los Angeles and Philadelphia in the wild card, things were beginning to look bad for them.
The next day, San Diego kicked off a seven-game winning streak. It was back in charge of the wild card, and although the Rockies came into town on a five-game streak of their own (having knocked the once front-running Dodgers out of the race for good with a four-game sweep), the Padres felt confident.
The Rockies shattered that confidence. They swept San Diego, then moved on to LA and swept the Dodgers again. The Diamondbacks and Padres kept themselves afloat, but did not run the table in the same way.
So with just the last weekend in September still to play, the three teams were within two games of one another, Arizona in the lead, Colorado two games back. The Rockies lost the first game of their season-ending series with the D-Backs, a devastating blow, but they won the next two to finish one game behind Arizona. That opened the door for the Padres, but they split their final four-game set with Milwaukee, and ended up a game short, too. It had very nearly been a three-way tie, but instead, the Padres and Rockies would have to play a one-game tiebreaker for NL wild card supremacy.
Meanwhile, on the East Coast...
You might remember my mention of Philadelphia as part of the wild card race as of September 13. That was the only race of which it was a part at that point. A win that day had drawn it slightly closer, but it still trailed the New York Mets in the NL East by six and a half games at the end of play that day.
The next day, though, it began a series with the Mets in New York. It won. Philly won again Saturday, and again Sunday. Now it was rolling and would finish with wins in 14 of its final 18 games. When the Mets lost six of their final seven against Washington, St. Louis and Florida, the Phillies were NL East champions, and the Mets were totally on the outside looking in.
Back to Denver!
The Rockies and Padres met at Coors Field to settle the wild card. On paper, the pitching matchup was a mismatch, with eventual 2007 NL Cy Young winner Jake Peavy taking on Josh Fogg. Naturally, then, Peavy gave up six runs in 6.1 innings, and the Padres trailed by a run until a Brian Giles double tied the game in the top of the eighth.
That's when things really got exciting. As the game progressed into extra innings, the tension built, until San Diego's Scott Hairston popped it with a two-run home run in the top of the 13th inning. It seemed it was all over. The Padres sent Trevor Hoffman to the mound with a two-run cushion, needing their legendary closer to simply nail down one of his easier save opportunities in order to move on.
Not so fast, said the Rockies. A Kaz Matsui double, then a Troy Tulowitzki double, then a Matt Holliday triple tied the game. One batter later, Jamie Carroll hit the sacrifice fly that scored Holliday (arguably) to end it, and the Rockies had completed a stunning final run to the playoffs.