The San Diego Padres won the race with Atlanta to get Randy Myers, giving them a reliable lefty reliever for the first time since, well, the last time they had Myers.

The Padres grabbed Myers off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays as a left-handed complement to closer Trevor Hoffman. The four-time All-Star, who pitched for the Padres in 1992, is well-versed in what comes next."Hopefully, I'll go over there and help the club win," Myers said Thursday night. "They're doing pretty good the way it is now. Hopefully, I'll help them at the next level."

That, of course, would be the playoffs. The Padres are well on their way to their second NL West title in three seasons. If the season ended now, the Padres would have to face the Houston Astros, who got Randy Johnson from Seattle on Friday night. If they got by the Astros, the Braves likely would be next.

Myers, 35, was acquired for minor league catcher Brian Loyd and a player to be named.

Because the trade happened after the July 31 trading deadline, the waiver process came into play where teams can block proposed deals. No AL teams submitted a claim for Myers, and when the process went through the NL in the reverse order of the standings, the Padres submitted a claim.

The final team that could have submitted a claim was Atlanta, which was known to have been interested in Myers and leads the Padres by two games in the race for home-field advantage for the NL playoffs.

The Padres made it clear that Hoffman, who leads the majors with 37 saves, will still be the closer.

Coincidentally, Hoffman lost for the first time this season on Thursday, allowing Rico Brogna's RBI single in the 11th inning to give Philadelphia a 3-2 win.

Myers has pitched in the playoffs four times, including saving the final game of Cincinnati's four-game sweep of Oakland in the 1990 World Series.

Myers was 3-4 with 4.46 ERA and 28 saves with Toronto.

He was allowed to leave San Diego as a free agent after the 1992 season, when the Padres began a salary purge. In 1993, he saved an NL-record 53 games for the Chicago Cubs.

Once Myers arrives in San Diego, the Padres will have to move a pitcher off their 25-man roster.

BOSOX ADD SCHOUREK: The Boston Red Sox added depth to their starting rotation on Thursday, purchasing left-hander Pete Schourek from the Houston Astros.

Schourek, 29, was 7-6 with a 4.50 ERA in 15 starts for the Astros this season, winning four of his last five decisions. He had his best year in 1995, when he went 18-7 for Cincinnati, but since having elbow surgery his endurance has been limited.

And, when the Astros acquired Randy Johnson last week, Schour-ek became expendable. The deal, for an undisclosed amount of cash, creates space on the Houston roster for lefthandeder Billy Wagner, who's expected to be activated from the 15-day disabled list for Friday night's game against the Phillies.