"I really felt if we got Wells, we are a serious player for winning this division," general manager Kevin Towers said. "I think we got one of the biggest big-game pitchers in the game. This guy thrives on this time of the year -- September games, pennant races."
The question is whether there is enough time if the Dodgers don't hit a cold spot.
David Wells made his Padres debut Sunday afternoon and held the Reds to one run on five hits over six innings in a game the Padres won 2-1. On Saturday night, Jake Peavy held the Reds to two hits -- one a solo homer by Adam Dunn -- and had a season-high 14 strikeouts in a 7-1 Padres victory.
The rotation is rounded out by Woody Williams, Chris Young and Clay Hensley.
The return of Wells -- who attended Point Loma High in San Diego, played for the Padres in 2004 and lives in the San Diego area -- seemed to add a step to the Padres.
"Today was special," said the 43-year-old Wells, who drew a standing ovation as he walked to the Petco Park mound in the first. "I was locked in. I wanted to show these guys what an old man can still do.
"It's nice to come home and keep the team in the ballgame."
Wells was the Padres starter in their first game at Petco Park in 2004. Last winter, he unsuccessfully lobbied the Red Sox to trade him to a Southern California team -- most notably the Padres.
"Boomer continues to amaze you," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said of Wells. "He has a way of rising to the occasion, which he did today."
Wells was thrown out trying to score in the fifth after getting his first hit in more than a year. "It takes three singles to score me from first," he said.
REPLAY: Behind David Wells, the Padres were able to gain a game on the Dodgers in the National League West (three behind) and pull to a 1 1/2-game lead on Philadelphia i
n the wild-card race with a 2-1 win over the Reds on Sunday.
The winning hit was delivered by catcher Josh Bard, a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the eighth to break a 1-1 tie. Dave Roberts drove in the Padres' first run with a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 1-1.