Padres 9, Dodgers 4

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SAN DIEGO (AP)—The Padres are keeping things interesting.

Ramon Vazquez and Ramon Hernandez each hit a three-run homer for San Diego, and Adam Eaton beat Los Angeles for the fourth time this season in a 9-4 victory Tuesday night that cut the Dodgers’ NL West lead to 1 1/2 games over San Francisco.

Adrian Beltre hit a pair of two-run homers for the Dodgers, who have their smallest lead since July 17, when they also led the Giants by 1 1/2 games. San Francisco beat Houston 9-2 Tuesday night.

The Padres pulled within 5 1/2 games of the Dodgers, but remained four games behind the Giants in the tight wild-card race.

“We know we’re in a situation where we’ve got to win games, there’s no getting around it,” Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. “Where we’re at in the standings, we’re desperate. The guys played like it tonight.”

Eaton, who won at home for the first time in 10 starts, agreed.

“I saw a sign tonight that said: ’12-0 and we’re there.’ I think that’s pretty fair. There’s no give-up in this team,” said Eaton, who will come back on three days’ rest for the first time in his career and start Saturday night against Arizona.

He improved to 4-1 against Los Angeles in six starts this season, and 8-2 lifetime against the Southern California rival.

Eaton (11-13) settled down after allowing Beltre’s two-run homer with two outs in the first. He threw an 0-2 pitch down the middle and Beltre drove it an estimated 404 feet to left-center. Beltre, who leads the majors with 47 homers, connected off Blaine Neal with two outs in the eighth.

Eaton won at home for the first time in 10 starts, holding the Dodgers to two runs and four hits in five innings. He struck out five and walked two.

Mark Loretta also homered for San Diego, a solo shot in the ninth, his 16th.

The first two Padres homers came off Jeff Weaver (12-12), who was pulled after Hernandez’s shot gave them a 7-2 lead with one out in the fifth.

Once again, starting pitching hurt the Dodgers, who led the division by six games on Sept. 11.

“We need more effective innings from our starting pitchers,” manager Jim Tracy said. “We’ve been piecemealing it over the last 14 games. Sooner or later, you need a step-up performance from one of your starters.”

Vazquez started the Padres’ comeback when he homered off the top of the scoreboard on the right-field wall to give San Diego a 3-2 lead with one out in the third. It was the first of the season for Vazquez, who’s playing shortstop in place of rookie Khalil Greene, who broke his right index finger against the Dodgers on Sept. 13.

Rich Aurilia and Jay Payton singled to open the third.

Aurilia hit an RBI double in the fourth and the Padres scored four in the fifth. Brian Giles hit a leadoff double and Ryan Klesko drew a one-out walk ahead of Hernandez’s 16th homer, off the lower balcony of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building just beyond the left-field fence.

“I was trying to overthrow a little bit rather than pitching within myself,” Weaver said. “I didn’t do a good job of damage control.”

The Padres got nine hits and seven runs off Weaver, who walked three and struck out one.


Dodgers LHP Wilson Alvarez felt discomfort in his hip during a bullpen session and won’t start Thursday, Tracy said. Kazuhisa Ishii will start in his place. … Beltre is the third 3B in big league history to hit at least 47 homers. Mike Schmidt hit 48 in 1980, and Eddie Mathews had 47 in 1953. … Eaton is 3-7 in 15 home starts. … Dodgers 1B Shawn Green is expected to announce in the next few days whether he will play in two key games against the Giants on Yom Kippur, the holiest holiday on the Jewish calendar. Yom Kippur starts at sunset Friday, and the three-game series at San Francisco begins that night. Tracy said he and Green have discussed the situation.

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