Padres 7, Dodgers 3
That turned out to be the extent of the Los Angeles offense.
Lawrence overcame his shaky beginning to pitch six solid innings, and Brian Giles had three hits including a tiebreaking homer to help the Padres beat the Dodgers 7-3 Wednesday night.
“I don’t remember giving up five straight hits to start a game,” Lawrence said. “Hopefully, it won’t happen again.”
The NL West-leading Dodgers’ lead was cut to 3 1/2 games over San Francisco, an 8-1 winner at Milwaukee. San Diego moved within 6 1/2 games of Los Angeles in the division race and remained three back of the Giants in the wild-card race.
Lawrence (15-12) said he felt as good as he has all year when he took the mound.
“You never know until you get out there and they start swinging,” he said. “I was putting us in a hole pretty quick. They hit some good pitches—they’ve got good hitters. I started making some pitches and getting some outs.”
Lawrence gave up only two hits and no runs after the first five batters hit safely. He retired 18 of the final 21 batters he faced, and the Dodgers had only three hits after the first inning.
“Lawrence just worked that magic that he does,” said Dodgers outfielder Milton Bradley, who went hitless in four at-bats. “I don’t know what the pitching coach said when he went out there, but it must have been one heck of a speech, because he shut us down after that.
“He just throws the ball up there for you to put it in play and hopes you hit it at somebody. And that’s what we were doing after those consecutive hits in the first inning.”
Giles hit Wilson Alvarez’s first pitch of the sixth inning just inside the right-field pole for his 22nd homer to snap a 3-3 tie.
Jay Payton hit Duaner Sanchez’s first pitch of the seventh over the left-field fence for his seventh homer and second in two nights, and Ramon Hernandez hit a two-run double off Giovanni Carrara in the eighth to complete the scoring.
“You have to look at the big picture now,” Giles said. “There’s not much room for error. We pretty much have to win every game now.”
Trevor Hoffman, the fifth San Diego pitcher, got the final three outs for his 37th save in 41 chances. Hoffman, who relieved Blaine Neal with two on and nobody out, has 391 saves and trails Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley by one for third on the career list.
The Padres scored twice off Alvarez (7-6) in the first on a run-scoring single by Giles and an RBI triple by Phil Nevin.
The Dodgers scored all their runs in the bottom of the inning on RBI doubles by Jayson Werth and Robin Ventura and a run-scoring single by Steve Finley. They had three runs in and runners at second and third with nobody out before Lawrence retired the next three batters.
Sean Burroughs hit a two-out, RBI single in the second for the second of his three hits to make it 3-3.
Alvarez allowed seven hits and four runs in five-plus innings with no walks and five strikeouts. The start was his first since Aug. 27, when he gave up eight hits and six earned runs in 1 1-3 innings against the New York Mets. He allowed eight hits and seven earned runs in 1 1-3 innings against the Atlanta Braves five days earlier.
Adrian Beltre, who has a major league-leading 45 homers, didn’t play for the Dodgers because of soreness in his left foot and lower back.
Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said he hoped Beltre would be in the lineup Thursday night against the Padres, but added he wouldn’t use him unless Beltre felt no discomfort swinging.
Burroughs sprained his right knee sliding into second base in the seventh. San Diego manager Bruce Bochy said it’s unlikely Burroughs will play Thursday night.
Rookie San Diego SS Khalil Greene has a broken bone in his right index finger that is expected to keep him out of the starting lineup for the rest of the regular season. Greene was injured Monday night while fielding a grounder. … Tracy said RHP Brad Penny, sidelined since Aug. 8 because of an injured nerve in his pitching arm, will pitch a simulated game Friday in Colorado. If all goes well, Penny might start a game at San Diego next week, Tracy said. … The Padres have homered in a season-high nine straight games. San Diego held the Dodgers without a home run, ending their season-high streak of nine games. … Dodgers SS Cesar Izturis singled in the first to extend his hitting streak to nine games. Izturis and Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki are the only major leaguers with four hitting streaks of 10 or more games this season. … Lawrence is 9-4 lifetime against the Dodgers. … Dodgers 2B Alex Cora was hit by a pitch in the ninth inning, the 17th time he has been hit by a pitch this season—the most for any player since the team moved to Los Angeles in 1958.
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