Padres hit 4 homers in 9-4 victory over Dodgers

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LOS ANGELES (AP)—Coming off series losses at Arizona and Colorado, the San Diego Padres wanted to beat up on an opponent. Luckily, it was Jake Peavy’s turn to pitch and the Los Angeles Dodgers were easy fodder.

Peavy won his league-leading 17th game and the NL wild card-leading Padres backed their ace with four homers in a 9-4 victory Tuesday night.

“No way I can come in here and let the Dodgers win this first game,” he said. “If I do that, then the team morale really gets down and we can easily roll over. You want to lead by example and I was just hoping to be good for the boys tonight and fortunately I was.”

Brian Giles, Khalil Greene, rookie Kevin Kouzmanoff and Geoff Blum homered for the Padres, who extended their lead over second-place Philadelphia to 2 1/2 games with the Phillies’ 8-2 loss to Colorado. San Diego’s lead over the Dodgers and the Rockies is 3 1/2 games.

“Pitching at Dodger Stadium is never easy. Those guys don’t quit coming,” Peavy said. “I can’t say enough about the offense. The boys swung the bats.”

The Dodgers fell to 6-10 against the Padres this season in the opener of a crucial three-game series between the NL West rivals. They host three games against Arizona starting Friday in a week that could decide the Dodgers’ playoff fate.

“We need to win tomorrow and go from there,” Dodgers manager Grady Little said. “We’ve still got 18 games to go and we’ve just got to continue to play hard and hope the ball starts falling in our favor.”

Peavy (17-6) allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings, struck out five and walked two. The right-hander has won each of his five starts against Los Angeles this season, including three at Dodger Stadium.

“It just comes down to executing pitches,” he said. “This late in the season, you’ve definitely got to pick and choose your spots and save your bullets. When your team is up four, six runs, you pitch differently than you do when it’s a 0-0 game or a 1-0 game.”

Pitching on seven days’ rest, Esteban Loaiza (1-1) gave up six runs and six hits in 3 1-3 innings, struck out five and walked four. The right-hander stumbled from the start, walking three of the first four batters he faced.

“It was a struggle for our starter right out of the gate. He was making what we thought were good pitches that were called balls and it took him right out of his style of pitching,” Little said. “He’s a pitcher who, if he doesn’t get the calls on the pitches he was making, he’s got a big problem. That’s what happened out there. When they put those runs up there, they put them up there quick.”

Loaiza gave up back-to-back homers to Greene and Kouzmanoff in the third. Loaiza was booed when pitching coach Rick Honeycutt left him in after visiting the mound during the inning.

“I wanted to go out there and hit my corners and threw a lot of good pitches that were strikes, but the umpire was calling them balls,” Loaiza said. “Me and the pitching coach were talking and I said I think I needed to throw everything down the middle to get a strike.”

San Diego jumped on the Dodgers in the first, taking a 2-0 lead on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Greene and an RBI single by Kouzmanoff.

Giles sent a 3-0 pitch from Loaiza into the right field pavilion with two outs in the second, increasing San Diego’s lead to 4-0.

The Padres piled on in the third, with the consecutive homers by Greene, his 21st, and Kouzmanoff, his 16th, that made it 6-0.

San Diego added three runs in the seventh. Blum homered off Rudy Seanez, Mike Cameron scored on a wild pitch and Brady Clark added an RBI single to keep the Padres ahead 9-2.

“It’s gratifying we got the first win,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “There is still a lot of baseball to be played. A lot can happen.”

James Loney hit a two-out homer in the third for the Dodgers. Jeff Kent had an RBI single in the sixth and Loney drove in a run with a single in the seventh. Chin-Lung Hu homered off former Dodger Brett Tomko in the ninth for his first major league hit.

The Dodgers loaded the bases in the eighth, but a groundball by Andre Ethier deflected off first baseman Adrian Gonzalez’ glove, and second baseman Blum hustled after it and threw to pitcher Heath Bell covering first for the third out as Ethier made a headfirst slide.

Notes

Peavy improved to 9-1 on the road. … He hasn’t lost to the Dodgers since Sept. 13, 2003. … The Dodgers had won seven of their previous eight at home. … Kouzmanoff has hit safely in 15 of his last 18 games, with three homers since Aug. 22.

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