NEW YORK – Bud Black hung on to win this race. Ron Gardenhire became a first-time manager of the year, too, after so many near misses.

A month after his San Diego Padres were knocked out of the playoff chase on the final day, Black nudged Cincinnati’s Dusty Baker by one point for the National League award Wednesday.

“I guess this vote was sort of like our season — it came down to the wire,” Black said.

Gardenhire was the clear choice in the American League, earning the honor after five times as the runner-up. He led Minnesota to its sixth AL Central title in nine seasons.

“It’s pretty neat to have your name mentioned up there,” said Gardenhire.

Black was selected after guiding San Diego to a 15-game turnaround despite the second-lowest payroll in the majors. The Padres finished 90-72 and led the NL West until a late, 10-game slump ending in a loss to San Francisco on the last day eliminated them.

Black drew 16 first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and got 104 points. Baker had 13 first-place votes and 103 points.

Gardenhire drew 16 first-place votes and 108 points, and was the only AL manager listed on all 28 ballots.

Ron Washington, who led Texas to its first trip to the World Series, was next in the AL with 10 first-place votes and 81 points.


RED SOX: Boston received Major League Baseball’s first commissioner’s award for philanthropic excellence.


METS: Terry Collins, Bob Melvin, Wally Backman and Chip Hale were scheduled for second interviews for New York’s open managerial job at this week’s general managers’ meetings.

BLUE JAYS-ATHLETICS: Toronto acquired speedy outfielder Rajai Davis from Oakland for a pair of minor leaguers.


MARLINS: All-Star catcher John Buck finalized an $18 million, three-year contract with Florida after passing his physical. He gets a $1.5 million signing bonus, $4.5 million next season and $6 million each in 2012 and 2013.


TIGERS: Reliever Joaquin Benoit reached a preliminary agreement with Detroit on a $16.5 million, three-year contract, a person familiar with the negotiations said on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.


A DEFENSE EXPERT said former major leaguer Jim Leyritz was not drunk when he was involved in a Florida car crash that killed a 30-year-old woman.

Toxicologist Dr. Stefan Rose testified Leyritz had a blood-alcohol level under Florida’s 0.08 percent limit when the 2007 crash happened. Rose said Leyritz’s alcohol level rose to 0.14 percent hours after the crash because he had a shot of vodka minutes earlier.