The Marlins-Brewers game ended with the Padres batting in the bottom of the seventh inning against the Chicago White Sox. When the final score went up on the out-of-town scoreboard, the sellout crowd of 41,407 at Petco Park stood and cheered the sealed wild-card spot.
The Padres trailed 2-0 at the time, but Ha-seong Kim homered a few minutes later.
San Diego came into the day leading Philadelphia by two games for the second of three NL wild cards, and Milwaukee was a game back of the Phillies.
The Padres won a wild-card series against St. Louis after the pandemic-shortened 2020 season before being swept in the division series by the eventual World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers.
Before that, they hadn’t been to the playoffs since winning the NL West in 2005 and 2006.
It’s the seventh playoff berth in franchise history and the fourth since Petco Park opened in 2004. The Padres haven’t been to the World Series since 1998, when they were swept by the New York Yankees.
The Padres reached the playoffs this year without electrifying shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., who was on the cusp of returning from a broken left wrist when he was suspended for 80 games by MLB on Aug. 12 for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.
The Padres hired veteran manager Bob Melvin after last year’s brutal September collapse cost Jayce Tingler his job.