Padres 4, Dodgers 0
Jake Peavy combined on a three-hit shutout and Phil Nevin hit a two-run homer, lifting the San Diego Padres to a 4-0 win Wednesday night, slicing Los Angeles’ lead over the San Francisco Giants to a half-game.
The Giants beat Houston 5-1 to pull closest to the Dodgers since they also trailed them by a half-game on July 15. Los Angeles has lost five of seven, while San Francisco has won nine of 10.
“It’s an 11-game season and we’re still in first place,” Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said.
The Dodgers had a six-game lead 11 days ago.
“Things are a little indecisive in here right now,” catcher David Ross said. “But it’s still in our hands.”
The loss of Penny weighed heavily on the Dodgers. The right-hander left in the fourth inning after reaggravating the nerve in his upper right arm. It was same injury that sidelined Penny since Aug. 8 when he strained his right biceps.
Penny, acquired in a six-player deal with the Florida Marlins on July 30, is scheduled to go back to Los Angeles on Thursday and have an MRI performed.
“We don’t like to talk about it, but I don’t anticipate seeing Brad Penny again this year,” Tracy said.
Penny (9-10) grimaced and held his arm after he threw a pitch to Jay Payton in the fourth inning. Tracy and assistant trainer Matt Wilson came out to the mound and Penny told them that his arm tightened up.
Penny allowed four runs—three earned—and three hits, and walked five in three innings. It was not the outing the Dodgers envisioned.
“We were hoping that he could give us a lift,” outfielder Milton Bradley said. “Obviously, it didn’t work out.”
Peavy (13-6) was dominant, allowing only three hits in eight innings. Akinori Otsuka pitched a perfect ninth to complete the Padres’ eighth shutout.
“Man, he was outstanding,” San Diego manager Bruce Bochy said. “He had great velocity and he could throw any pitch any time.”
Peavy allowed a leadoff single to Adrian Beltre in the second, then retired 12 of 13. Peavy struck out eight of 10 during one stretch and matched his career high with 11 strikeouts.
San Diego, which beat Los Angeles for the fifth time in six games, pulled within 4 1/2 games of the Dodgers. The Padres remained four back of San Francisco in the wild-card race.
Peavy lowered his ERA to 2.28, which would lead the league if he pitched the required minimum number of innings. Peavy, who has allowed two earned runs or less in 21 of 25 starts, needs to pitch 7 2-3 more innings by season’s end to have enough qualifying innings for the NL ERA title.
“If it comes about, that would be awesome,” Peavy said. “The most important thing is trying to win these ballgames.”
The 23-year-old Peavy is scheduled to pitch on three days’ rest for the first time in his three-year career Sunday against Arizona.
Ramon Vazquez had a sacrifice fly in the fourth to increase the lead to 4-0.
Los Angeles’ only real scoring threat came in the sixth when Jose Hernandez led off with a double. Peavy struck out two straight before walking Steve Finley. The right-hander then got Beltre, the majors’ home run leader, on a foul pop up.
Peavy also struck out 11 against Los Angeles on April 3, 2003. … The last time San Diego was within four games of the NL West lead was Aug. 3. … Finley went 0-for-3 with a walk and is hitless in his last 23 at-bats.