Padres 6, Dodgers 5
SAN DIEGO (AP)—While it didn’t have the dramatic impact of four straight homers or the magnitude of a September game, the San Diego Padres showed the rival Los Angeles Dodgers that they’re capable of staging an improbable comeback, too.
Russell Branyan drew a bases-loaded walk with one out in the ninth to complete a five-run rally as the Padres stunned the Dodgers 6-5 Thursday night to finish a three-game sweep.
With Arizona losing to San Francisco, the two-time defending division champion Padres opened a one-game lead in the NL West over the Diamondbacks. The Dodgers dropped 2 1/2 games back.
“These type of games happen throughout baseball,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “To do it against the Dodgers is a nice win, but here again, it’s one win. Without a doubt, we’re happy we got it.”
Then again, even one win can be huge. These teams finished last season with identical 88-74 records, but the Padres won the NL West because they won the season series against the Dodgers.
San Diego improved to 5-4 against the Dodgers this year.
On Sept. 18 at Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles shocked the Padres with four straight home runs—two off Trevor Hoffman—in the ninth inning to tie the game before Nomar Garciaparra hit a two-run shot in the 10th to win 11-10.
“I heard somebody say we returned the favor,” Branyan said. “We did it in the ninth, they had a four-run lead and blew it. We came back and won the ballgame.
“I was at that game last year,” Branyan added. “That was like sticking a dagger in our hearts. But tonight, with everything the way it happened, I mean, they didn’t execute and it cost them the ballgame.”
The Padres won their fifth straight and for the 10th time in 12 games.
The Padres trailed 5-1 and had only four hits going into the ninth. They got five hits and tied the game against Jonathan Broxton (2-2) before making their first out of the inning.
Geoff Blum started the winning rally by beating out an infield single to second base. Terrmel Sledge reached on an error by first baseman Garciaparra, who fielded his grounder but had the ball pop out of his glove. Marcus Giles singled to left to load the bases, and Paul McAnulty hit a chopper and outraced Garciaparra to the bag for an infield single that brought in the inning’s first run.
“To be able to come back against those guys, that’s a great boost of confidence for the team,” McAnulty said. “That let us know we can do anything.”
Kevin Kouzmanoff struck out for the first out, bringing up Branyan, who walked on a full-count pitch to score Gonzalez.
“That’s a tough situation for both sides,” Branyan said. “My adrenaline was going, I’m trying to get a base hit, I’m trying to stay under control there and he’s trying to do the same thing there. He’s trying to pitch in the strike zone but not give up a base hit. It just worked out for the better for us, and we walk out of here with a sweep.”
Broxton faced nine batters, allowing five hits and walking two.
Manager Grady Little said he had no intention of relieving Broxton. Closer Takashi Saito was unavailable due to a strained hamstring.
“I wasn’t going to use Saito there,” Little said. “There are 100 games left. It doesn’t make sense.”
Saito is expected to be available Friday night at home against Toronto.
“It’s a tough loss, no doubt,” said Luis Gonzalez, who homered in the eighth to give L.A. a 5-1 lead. “But you have to keep in perspective that this is just one game in June.”
Justin Hampson (2-1) pitched a scoreless inning for the victory.
It was the second time the Padres won on a bases-loaded walk. On May 16, Kouzmanoff drew a bases-loaded walk to beat Cincinnati 3-2.
Rafael Furcal drove in three runs for the Dodgers.
The rally got ace Jake Peavy off the hook for what would have been just his second loss in seven starts. By allowing four runs, Peavy saw his ERA rise from 1.68 to 1.97, dropping him to second in the big leagues behind Oakland’s Dan Haren (1.70).
Peavy had been locked in a pitcher’s duel with Hong-Chih Kuo before give up three runs on three hits and a walk in the seventh, getting chased Tony Abreu’s RBI double, which followed Furcal’s two-run double.
Peavy allowed seven hits, struck out three and walked three.
He’s allowed more than two runs just four times in 13 starts, with two of those instances coming in consecutive starts. He gave up three earned runs while getting a no-decision in a 4-3, 10-inning loss at Washington last Friday.
Kuo, making his second start since replacing Brett Tomko in the rotation, matched his career-high with eight strikeouts. He held San Diego to one run and three hits in six innings while walking four.
Peavy tied the game at 1 when he doubled down the left-field line with two outs in the fourth to score Hiram Bocachica.
The Dodgers got their first run when Furcal singled in Ethier with two outs in the third.
Little gave Juan Pierre the night off to see if the CF could “regroup” from his 4-for-32 skid. Pierre is due back Friday night for a series opener against Toronto at Dodger Stadium. … Padres closer Trevor Hoffman was honored before the game for becoming the first big leaguer to reach 500 saves.