Dodgers 6, Padres 3

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LOS ANGELES (AP)—When the Los Angeles Dodgers have needed a solid outing by a starting pitcher this year, Jose Lima often has been the one to provide it.

“I don’t want to be the only guy and the one to stop the bleeding, but I do like that pressure,” Lima said after pitching into the seventh inning of Tuesday night’s 6-3 victory over the San Diego Padres.

Jayson Werth hit a two-run shot, his third homer in three games, and Steve Finley added a solo drive as the Dodgers ended a two-game skid.

They remained 4 1/2 games ahead of San Francisco, a 3-2 winner at Milwaukee, in the NL West. San Diego fell 7 1/2 games behind Los Angeles in the division and three back of the Giants in the wild-card race.

Lima (13-5) went 6 2-3 innings, allowing three runs—two earned—and nine hits, including Jay Payton’s two-run homer in the third and Ryan Klesko’s solo shot in the fourth.

Although Lima has given up 32 homers this year, only seven have come with runners on base.

“We needed a start where our starter got us deep into the game, when we could be more efficient with our bullpen,” Los Angeles manager Jim Tracy said.

“Jose Lima did it again tonight.”

Mike Venafro got the final out in the seventh and Yhency Brazoban pitched a scoreless eighth.

Eric Gagne worked the ninth for his 41st save, tying St. Louis’ Jason Isringhausen and Florida’s Armando Benitez for the league lead. Gagne has blown just two saves.

“When he comes out, I just sit down and watch. It’s great,” Lima said.

The Dodgers are 16-6 in Lima’s starts, which doesn’t surprise Payton.

“He does a good job keeping the ball away from the middle of the plate, but he’s always around the plate. He’s one of those guys who keeps his team in the game,” Payton said.

“And the way they’ve been swinging the bats this year, they’ve had a chance to win every time he’s been out there.”

Werth hit a solo homer, his 15th, off rookie Justin Germano to tie it at 2 in the third inning, and homered against Brian Sweeney to make it 6-3 in the fifth.

The Padres obviously need to start stringing some wins together if they’re going to make the playoffs.

“Every loss is supercritical for us right now,” Payton said. “We’re the last team chasing everybody else for the wild card, so there’s really no room for mistakes right now.”

Germano (1-2) gave up five runs and seven hits in 3 2-3 innings. He struck out one and walked three in his fifth major league start.

Finley’s 34th homer—and 11th since coming to Los Angeles from Arizona— hit the top of the wall in right-center and bounced over.

Brent Mayne and Cesar Izturis had RBI singles and Alex Cora a run-scoring groundout as Los Angeles scored three times in the fourth inning to take a 5-3 lead.

Klesko homered to give San Diego a short-lived 3-2 lead in the fourth. He hit his ninth homer one pitch after third baseman Adrian Beltre dropped Klesko’s popup in foul territory for an error.

Beltre left the game in the ninth inning because of soreness in his right side, but Tracy said he doesn’t think the third baseman will miss any playing time.

Los Angeles took a 1-0 lead on Finley’s run-scoring groundout in the first inning. Payton’s sixth homer put the Padres on top briefly in the third before the Dodgers tied it on Werth’s home run in the bottom half.

Notes

Padres rookie SS Khalil Greene is expected to be out of the starting lineup for at least a week because of an injured right index finger. He was used as a pinch-runner in the seventh inning, then was scheduled to return to San Diego for X-rays on Wednesday. … Los Angeles RHP Brad Penny threw 55 pitches during three innings of a simulated game as he attempts to come back from arm pain that has sidelined him since Aug. 8. There is no timetable for him to rejoin the rotation. … Padres broadcaster and former Yankees great Jerry Coleman, who turned 80 years old Tuesday, spent his birthday at Dodger Stadium for the second year in a row.

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