Padres 9, Dodgers 5

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SAN DIEGO (AP)—The San Diego Padres didn’t waste any time in dealing the rival Los Angeles Dodgers a big blow to their wild-card hopes.

Phil Nevin hit a three-run homer in the first inning and the Padres scored the game’s first seven runs en route to a 9-5 win Monday night.

The Dodgers fell 3 1/2 games behind Florida in the wild-card race, with seven games left and three teams in between. Los Angeles has lost five of seven since sweeping the Padres at Dodger Stadium Sept. 12-14.

“They beat us in the first two innings,” Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. “When we get down that quickly, you won’t find too many times when we came back and overcame a deficit like that.”

Tracy tried to remain optimistic, pointing out that Wilson Alvarez, Kevin Brown and Hideo Nomo pitch for the Dodgers the next three games.

“We’re still in it and still playing,” Tracy said.

Los Angeles starter Odalis Perez was forced out after one inning with a blood blister on the middle finger of his left hand. Perez had been scratched from his scheduled start last Wednesday because of a broken nail on the middle finger of his pitching hand.

Perez left trailing 4-0 after allowing hits to the first five batters he faced, including Nevin’s shot into the seats in left, his 13th.

A trainer came out and looked at Perez’s hand, but he stayed in and allowed a single to rookie Xavier Nady on his next pitch.

Perez (12-12) allowed five hits, walked one and struck out one. Edwin Jackson came on to start the second.

By jumping on the Dodgers early, the Padres were able to avoid the core of Los Angeles’ bullpen, particularly closer Eric Gagne, who has 53 straight saves this year and a big league record 61 in a row.

“You want to score runs early, get a lead and stay away from the guys down there,” Nevin said.

The Padres were coming off a 2-8 road trip.

“We’re not talking about being spoilers,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We’re trying to finish strong. They’ve got a great ballclub over there and it was an important ballgame, but it was important for us, too.”

Nady went 3-for-4, and he and Brian Giles each drove in two runs as the Padres improved to 10-6 against Los Angeles this season. Nady hit RBI singles in the second and fourth innings as the Padres built a 7-0 lead.

San Diego scored twice on wild pitches, one each by Jackson and Masao Kida.

Padres starter Mike Bynum (1-3) struggled to make it through five innings to get the win. He allowed three runs on four hits in the fifth, three of them for extra bases. Alex Cora, who tied a career high with four hits, had an RBI triple and pinch-hitter Mike Kinkade an RBI double.

The Dodgers threatened again in the seventh but got just one run, on Paul Lo Duca’s single. Shawn Green flied out to end the inning, leaving runners on first and second.

Bynum allowed three runs and six hits, struck out six and walked none. Trevor Hoffman pitched the ninth and allowed Lo Duca’s RBI double, his first run in seven innings over seven appearances since returning Sept. 2 from two offseason shoulder surgeries.

The Padres opened their final homestand at Qualcomm Stadium. They have six games left at the Mission Valley stadium, where they’ve played for 35 seasons.Their new downtown ballpark is scheduled to open in April.


Mark Loretta singled twice to give him 184 hits this season, which tied Roberto Alomar’s team record set in 1989. … The Padres returned from a road trip to find the field at Qualcomm Stadium a mess after it hosted three football games in eight days. “It’s as bad as I’ve seen,” manager Bruce Bochy said. The Chargers played home games the last two Sundays and San Diego Stateplayed at home Saturday night.

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