Padres 7, Dodgers 3
LOS ANGELES (AP)—Mike Cameron was more pleased with his great defensive play than his two-run homer.
Cameron threw out the potential tying run at home plate in the sixth, and the San Diego Padres beat Los Angeles 7-3 Tuesday night to extend the Dodgers’ losing streak to seven games.
The Dodgers closed to 4-3 in the sixth on singles by Ricky Ledee and Toby Hall, followed by Cesar Izturis’ RBI groundout to the right side. One out later, pinch-hitter J.D. Drew lined a single to center—but Cameron charged the ball and made a perfect throw to Mike Piazza to retire Hall.
“That had to be bigger than the home run because that could have tied the game up and it stopped the momentum,” said Cameron, whose two-run drive in the third gave San Diego a 2-0 lead. “All I had to do was make a good throw and give Piazza a chance to set. If I had to run to my left, it would have been different. But I was already playing Drew to pull, so that made it easier for me — especially against Toby Hall. He had no chance.”
The Dodgers’ catcher admitted he was the wrong guy running at the wrong time.
“You can’t always pick who’s on second base when you’re hitting a line drive,” Hall said. “It was two outs, and if he makes a perfect throw, you’re going to be out nine times out of 10.”
Adrian Gonzalez drove in three runs to help Chan Ho Park (7-6) get the win against his former team. The right-hander faced the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine for only the second time since leaving them to sign with Texas as a free agent in December 2001.
Park allowed three runs and 10 hits over six innings, striking out three and walking none for only the second time in his last 19 starts.
“He had good control,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s done a great job for us, getting us deep into games. Tonight he battled out there and made pitches when he had to. We played great defense for him, throwing a guy out at the plate.”
Gonzalez went 2-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to 16 games. The Padres have won three in a row after losing four straight.
Kenny Lofton ended a 91-game home run drought with his first for the Dodgers. But Los Angeles lost for the 12th time in 13 games since the All-Star break and fell 6 1/2 games behind the NL West-leading Padres.
“Everybody’s pressing, trying to hit the three-run homer,” Hall said. “You can’t try to do too much, but that’s what this team’s doing. When it rains, it pours—and it’s pouring right now.”
Olmedo Saenz started at first base for the Dodgers in place of Nomar Garciaparra, who sprained a ligament in his right knee in the 11th inning of Monday night’s loss and is expected to miss at least five games.
Piazza led off the Padres’ two-run sixth with a double against Mark Hendrickson (0-4). Gonzalez doubled him in with one out to put the Padres ahead 3-2. It was Piazza’s 1,000th run in the big leagues and it came just four nights after he got his 2,000th hit.
Mark Bellhorn followed with a single that put runners at the corners, and Park drove in Gonzalez with an opposite-field bloop single that landed smack on the right-field line between Ledee and second baseman Ramon Martinez. The Padres scored three in the ninth on a two-run double by Gonzalez and a sacrifice fly by Josh Barfield.
“Adrian has come a long way,” Cameron said. “He’s gotten a chance to play more against left-handers, which he didn’t do early in the season. That’s given him a little more confidence and reassurance in himself that he’s capable of doing it. He’s been solid.”
Hendrickson allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings. The left-hander has a 4.97 ERA in five starts since joining the Dodgers on July 27 in a trade with Tampa Bay. He was 4-8 with a 3.81 ERA in 13 starts for the Devil Rays.
“Besides the home run, he did fine. He kept us in it,” said Hall, who came to the Dodgers in the same trade as Hendrickson.
Lofton, who hit a career-high 15 homers with Cleveland in 2000, led off the fourth with a drive into the seats in right-center to trim San Diego’s lead to 2-1. It was only his second homer since opening day of last year with Philadelphia, and his first since Aug. 30, 2005, against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium.
Martinez was 0-for-13 lifetime against Park before ending the drought with a leadoff single in the fifth. He scored the tying run all the way from first on Rafael Furcal’s double down the left-field line.
The Padres have committed 49 errors through their first 100 games, the fewest in franchise history through this stage of the season. They have reduced their error total in each of the last six years. … Lofton’s first homer as a Dodger came in his 272nd at-bat with the team. … LHP Elmer Dessens pitched two scoreless innings in his return to the Dodgers, after Kansas City traded him for disgruntled LHP Odalis Perez earlier Tuesday.
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