SAN DIEGO (AP)—Jody Gerut is having a month to remember.
It was Gerut’s 14th home run of the season and seventh in August. He also has 17 RBIs in 21 games this month, tops on the team.
“To me, Jody’s been the second-half MVP, no doubt about it,” Padres ace Jake Peavy said. “He’s carried us, hitting in the leadoff spot, and now he’s hitting third, coming up with some big hits. No different from what we’ve seen all year.”
The loss kept first-place Arizona three games ahead of Los Angeles in the NL West. The Dodgers lost 5-0 at Philadelphia.
Trevor Hoffman (2-6) pitched a scoreless inning for the win, ending a long skid for San Diego.
“Was it seven? I don’t know what it was, but it was tough,” Gerut said. “It’s a struggle to get through things like that. At some point, you know things are going to change for you. It’s just good that it was in dramatic fashion and we can go home happy tonight.”
Luis Rodriguez singled with two outs in the ninth, his third hit, and Gerut drove the next pitch from the 6-foot-11 Rauch (4-5) into the right-field bleachers.
“He’s just another righty reliever to me. I don’t particularly see him that well, but I got a good cut,” Gerut said. “I can’t imagine anyone saying they walk into the batter’s box and feel comfortable against a guy like that.”
It was Gerut’s first game-ending homer.
“Jody was great in spring training, didn’t really have much of an opportunity early. They gave it to other guys,” Peavy said. “He’s stayed patient and obviously is showing he’s a big league player.”
Acquired from Washington last month, Rauch has given up homers in consecutive outings.
“(Rauch) is going to keep getting run out there,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s in a pennant race right now and I’m sure it hurts a little bit, but come tomorrow he’ll come in with a positive attitude and look to contribute again.”
Dan Haren and Peavy both pitched well in an entertaining duel, though neither got a decision.
Haren tossed seven innings, allowing two runs and nine hits. The right-hander struck out a season-high 11 and walked one. He threw 101 pitches, 71 for strikes. He also had a single and a double.
“I knew I had good stuff,” Haren said. “My split got better as the game went on and I was able to strike out people.”
Peavy pitched six innings, yielding two runs and four hits. He threw 121 pitches, 71 for strikes, while striking out seven and walking two. His single helped the Padres score the tying run in the fourth.
“I threw a lot of pitches. I appreciate the opportunity,” Peavy said. “My arm feels good and I’ll be ready to bounce back whenever my turn comes up.”
Arizona took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on a two-out, two-run single by Chris Snyder.
Conor Jackson started the inning with a single and stole second as Peavy struck out Adam Dunn. Peavy fanned Chad Tracy for the second out before Mark Reynolds reached on an infield single to shortstop, beating Rodriguez’s throw as Jackson went to third.
With Snyder at the plate, Reynolds stole second. Snyder fouled off a few pitches on a 2-2 count before lining his single up the middle to score Jackson and Reynolds.
The Padres grabbed a 1-0 lead in the third on an RBI triple by Rodriguez. Brian Giles, who had three hits, drew a walk leading off the inning.
Giles had an RBI single in the fourth, driving in Josh Bard to tie the score 2-all. Bard singled with one out and moved to third when Peavy sliced a single down the right-field line.
Rodriguez also had three hits—a single, double and triple.
Rodriguez became the sixth San Diego player this season to fall one hit short of the cycle. The Padres have never had a player hit for the cycle. … Peavy’s 1.54 home ERA is the best in the majors. … San Diego manager Bud Black said rookie RHP Dirk Hayhurst will start Friday night against Colorado. … Padres RHP Chris Young will throw a simulated game Tuesday at Petco Park and could rejoin the rotation next week.