Padres 5, Tigers 1

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SAN DIEGO (AP)—The San Diego Padres dodged a big one.

Being swept by the Detroit Tigers would’ve been a bummer, and the Padres knew it. They made sure it didn’t happen, beating the Tigers 5-1 Thursday.

Keith Lockhart, making a rare start, hit a go-ahead homer in the sixth, and Rod Beck thrust his arms in the air after pitching a perfect ninth in his second big league appearance since 2001.

“It’s definitely a good feeling not to get swept by a team that you’re basically battling for the worst record in baseball,” winning pitcher Adam Eaton said. “But we were in all three games. We probably should have won all three. To come back and win today was real big for us.”

And just like that, the Tigers (16-41) were once again saddled with baseball’s worst record, having given it up for one day to the Padres. San Diego (18-43) pulled percentage points ahead.

The Padres also snapped a five-game losing streak to the Tigers dating to the last three games of the 1984 World Series, which Detroit won 4-1.

It was just the eighth win in 38 games for San Diego.

“At this point, almost every game’s a must-win,” Lockhart said after the Padres played one of their best all-around games in a while. “We’ve got to turn it around, and it doesn’t matter who we play.

“It’s tough when you’re in a lot of games and you’re getting beat, losing in the ninth inning,” Lockhart said. “It’s tough to swallow because you don’t really know when it’s going to end. It’s tough for us to win two games in a row, so we need to kind of continue this for a little bit.”

The Padres haven’t had consecutive victories since taking three straight April 23-25.

The Tigers were trying for their second sweep of the season.

“I’d love to have said we got three, but we’ll take it,” manager Alan Trammell said. “We’re definitely playing better baseball and headed in the right direction.”

The Tigers have won 13 of 29 since starting 3-25.

With the score tied at 1, Lockhart homered into the first row of seats in right field on a 1-2 pitch from Adam Bernero with one out in the sixth. It was the second homer for Lockhart, who was making just his 13th start at second base.

“I threw a fastball that caught too much of the plate,” Bernero said. “It’s not where I wanted it.”

Rondell White drove in a run in the seventh with a grounder, and Lou Merloni and Gary Matthews Jr. had RBI singles in the eighth. Lockhart hit a leadoff triple in the eighth and scored on Merloni’s hit.

Detroit’s Alex Sanchez reached on a grounder in the eighth and stole second and third, but was thrown out at home by White trying to score on Gene Kingsale’s fly ball to left field.

On Wednesday night, Bennett dropped the throw from Matthews in center, allowing pitcher Steve Avery to score the go-ahead run in Detroit’s 5-3 win.

Bernero (1-7) was coming off his first win in 18 starts, a 4-2 victory over the New York Yankees on Saturday. Ranking last in the majors in run support with just 2.43 per nine innings, Bernero allowed two runs on five hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked four.

Eaton (2-4) won for the first time in six starts, striking out six and holding the Tigers to one run and four hits in seven innings. He walked one.

Beck struck out two in his second appearance since signing with the Padres on Monday. He missed all of last year while recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery and started this season in the minors.

“It was emotional for me just finishing up a major league game,” said Beck, who hadn’t been in the bigs since pitching with Boston in 2001. “It was every bit as good as a save.”

Each team scored a run in the first inning.

Detroit’s Dmitri Young, who homered in the first two games of the series, hit an RBI single in the first.

The Padres tied it on Ryan Klesko’s sacrifice fly that scored Mark Kotsay.Kotsay was activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game.

Notes

The Tigers’ only sweep of the year was at Baltimore May 5-7. … Padres 3B Sean Burroughs was hit by a pitch on his left forearm in the first and left the game after that inning. He has a bruised forearm. Lockhart moved fromsecond to third and Mark Loretta came in to play second.

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