SAN DIEGO (AP) – Eight years after beating them in the World Series, David Wells gets to start a playoff game for his hometown San Diego Padres.

Wells, who plans to retire after this season, will start Game 2 of the division series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday at Petco Park.

“I couldn’t be happier,” the 43-year-old left-hander said Tuesday. “This is like a dream come true. I’ve been going to Padres games at an early age and supported them my whole life. Even though I was in the American League I still had a favorite National League team, and that was San Diego.”

Wells pitched for the Padres in 2004, then signed as a free agent with the Boston Red Sox. San Diego reacquired him on Aug. 31 for the stretch run. Although he lost his first two decisions, he was sensational in his final regular-season start.

Wells has a history of postseason success, which is why the Padres got him. He has a career postseason record of 10-4.

with a 3.15 ERA.

He won World Series rings with Toronto in 1992 and the Yankees in 1998, when he beat San Diego in Game 1 of New York’s sweep. He was with the Yankees when they lost the 2003 World Series to Florida.

“He’s a guy that has a lot of experience,” manager Bruce Bochy said.

The Padres will save 6-foot-10 right-hander Chris Young for Game 3 at St. Louis on Saturday. Young is 6-0 with a 2.41 ERA in 15 road starts this season, holding opponents to a .176 average. At home, he’s 5-5 with a 4.60 ERA, holding opponents to a .238 average.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa made similar choices. Jeff Weaver, who was 4-1 with a 4.03 ERA in eight road starts after being obtained in a trade with the Angels on July 5, will go in Game 2 while Jeff Suppan will start the third game at St. Louis.

“We haven’t played well on the road,” La Russa said. “I forget now what the stats were, the wins we’ve had, Jeff Weaver has been involved in the majority of them. It made sense, I think, to give him the ball, and Supp played well at Busch Stadium. That’s part of the reason we did that.”

AP-ES-10-03-06 1611EDT

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