Dodgers 9, Padres 6

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SAN DIEGO (AP)—The Los Angeles Dodgers scored enough runs early that they survived their nightly pitching misadventure and headed to San Francisco with a 1 1/2 -game lead in the NL West race.

Cesar Izturis homered and Adrian Beltre had three hits and two runs for the Dodgers, who survived a shaky start by Kazuhisa Ishii and beat San Diego 9-6 on Thursday night.

San Francisco lost 7-3 to Houston. The Dodgers and Giants open a three-game series Friday night in San Francisco.

“Tonight’s game was huge, obviously, because of what happened in San Francisco,” said manager Jim Tracy, whose Dodgers play San Francisco six times in their last 10 games.

“I think they have a complete realization of the fact that everything’s in front of them,” Tracy said. “They don’t have to look to the side, they don’t have to look behind them. If they want to win the National League Western Division championship, it’s staring them right in the face.”

The Dodgers, whose rotation has struggled, won for just the fourth time in 11 games since Sept. 11, when they had a six-game lead.

“It was a big game for us,” Izturis said. “We have to go up there and do our job, try to win games and win the series. I know they’re going to be tough, especially in San Francisco.”

The Padres’ playoffs hopes grew bleaker; they fell 5 1/2 games behind the Dodgers and 4 1/2 games behind the Chicago Cubs in the wild-card race.

The Dodgers knocked out Brian Lawrence—starting on three days’ rest because David Wells was sick—after four innings and went up 7-0 in the fifth.

The Padres then rallied for four runs with two outs in the fifth off Ishii, who has been demoted twice in the last two months and was pitching for the first time in 13 days.

Ishii dodged several jams until he got to the fifth, when he walked the bases full before allowing Rich Aurilia’s three-run double to center, which eluded a diving Steve Finley. Ishii walked Ryan Klesko and was relieved by Elmer Dessens, who allowed Ramon Hernandez’s RBI single. Klesko was thrown out trying to score from second on Ramon Vazquez’s single to left.

Ishii hadn’t pitched since Sept. 10, when he allowed four runs on four hits in 2 1-3 innings against St. Louis. Against the Padres, he allowed four runs and four hits in 4 2-3 innings, while walking six and striking out five.

Rookie Yhency Brazoban (3-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the win. Eric Gagne pitched a perfect eighth before allowing three singles and two sacrifice flies in the ninth. He held on for his 43rd save in 45 chances, the fourth two-inning save of his career.

Lawrence (15-13) pitched on three days’ rest for the second straight start. He allowed five runs, four earned, and six hits in four innings. He struck out two and walked one.

Izturis homered to right leading off the third, his fourth, and Finley had an RBI double. The Dodgers made it 5-0 in the fourth when Izturis and Brent Mayne each had a sacrifice fly and another run scored on a fielding error by second baseman Mark Loretta.

“We never should have been at that point,” Padres slugger Phil Nevin said.

The Padres had plenty of chances early against Ishii, but went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position over the first three innings, stranding five.

“To me, that was the game,” Nevin said. “We had a pitcher on the mound, I think it’s safe to say, he was pretty low in confidence, taken in and out of the rotation.”


Gagne is 15-for-15 in career save chances against San Diego, and had not allowed a run to the Padres until Thursday. … Los Angeles slugger Shawn Green will sit out Saturday afternoon’s game at San Francisco in observance of Yom Kippur. He’ll play Friday night, even though the holiest day on the Jewish calendar starts at sunset Friday. … Loretta singled to center in the first inning for his 200th hit. He and Tony Gwynn are the only Padres players to get that many hits in a season. Gwynn did it five times, including a club-record 220 hits in 1997.

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