Padres 7, Dodgers 4

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LOS ANGELES (AP)—In a graphic example of role reversal, the San Diego Padres resembled the team contending for a postseason berth the past three nights.

The Los Angeles Dodgers looked like the team trying to fight its way out of last place.

Ryan Klesko hit a two-run homer and the Padres sent Kevin Brown to his third straight loss, beating the sputtering Dodgers 7-4 Thursday night for a three-game sweep.

Gary Bennett doubled home two runs and Adam Eaton won for the first time in five starts, helping the Padres extend their longest winning streak of the season to five games—one more than their longest of last year.

“We’ve been playing very well the past three weeks or so, and our record shows that,” Eaton said. “We come out with the same effort and enthusiasm every day, and it’s finally starting to pay off.”

The Dodgers have lost a season-worst six straight and nine of 10, after winning 10 of their previous 11. They remain 5 1/2 games behind San Francisco in the NL West.

“I don’t feel it slipping away,” right fielder Shawn Green said. “We’re only halfway through the season. We just need to turn it around, and we have three months to play. We were 8 1/2 games out in April, and all of a sudden we were in first place. So it changes fast and it’s going to keep changing.”

Eaton (3-7) allowed four runs—one earned—and nine hits over six innings. He struck out four and did not walk a batter, after issuing five walks in each of his previous two starts.

Rod Beck pitched the ninth for his sixth save in six chances.

Brown (10-4) gave up five runs—two earned—and eight hits in five innings before leaving with a lower abdominal strain. He got hurt while running the bases in the fourth, but scored a run and persevered through one more inning on the mound.

“As he was rounding second base and heading to third, you could tell that something was bothering him by the way he was running—which was why I went out there with (assistant trainer) Matt Wilson,” manager Jim Tracy said.

“When he came off the mound after the fifth inning, he told us he was done and was unable to go any further. Kevin’s day-to-day, they’ll check him out again tomorrow and I’ll have some more information for you then.”

Brown, who appeared to be a lock for his sixth All-Star game after going 9-0 with a 1.27 ERA in the 10 starts prior to this recent skid, has allowed eight earned runs and 26 hits in 17 innings over his last three outings for a 4.24 ERA.

He dropped to 6-1 against the Padres in 10 starts since June 30, 1999, when he faced them for the first time after leaving San Diego as a free agent and lost 11-2.

The Padres scored five times in the second against a team that has scored no more than four runs in eight of its last nine games.

The biggest play of the inning was a botched force, when shortstop Cesar Izturis failed to hold a backhand flip from second baseman Alex Cora on a grounder up the middle by Gary Matthews Jr. Izturis was charged with an error.

Bennett opened the scoring with a bouncer between Adrian Beltre and third base that drove in Sean Burroughs and Matthews. Donaldo Mendez followed with an RBI double, Mark Kotsay had a run-scoring groundout and Mark Loretta capped the rally with a bloop RBI single.

Izturis sparked the Dodgers with an RBI single in the bottom half, and they closed to 5-4 in the fourth with three straight run-scoring hits after Cora was hit by a pitch and Mendez misplayed Brown’s two-out grounder to shortstop for an error.

Wilkin Ruan had an RBI double, Paul Lo Duca followed with an infield single that drove in Brown, and Ruan scored when Green’s popup fell between Eaton and second baseman Loretta. Green was credited with a hit, but all three runs were unearned.

“It was one of those ‘tweener balls,” Eaton said. “I saw him coming at the very end and I sort of alligator-armed it. We definitely would have been better off if I had stayed out of it. I should have checked him out to see where he was at, and if I had done that, he would have had an easy play.”

Klesko tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the seventh against Tom Martin with his team-high 17th homer, and third against a left-hander. The other twocame off Colorado’s Denny Neagle on June 17 at Coors Field.

Notes

Ruan was promoted earlier in the day from Triple-A Las Vegas when center fielder Dave Roberts was placed on the 15-day disabled list for the second time this season with an injured right hamstring. … The Dodgers also purchased the contract of OF Chad Hermansen from Triple-A Las Vegas andoptioned OF Jason Romano back to Triple-A.

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