Padres Dump Dodgers, Tighten NL West Race

The Dodgers sprint toward the NL West pennant in the final two weeks of the season got off to a stumbling start as Jeff Weaver joined the rest of the starting rotation in being unable to pitch beyond the fifth inning. Weaver allowed a trio of three-run homers that negated a pair of two run shots by Adrian Beltré (#46 & 47), who knocked in all four Dodger runs. The home runs ties him with Eddie Mathews and puts him one homer behind Mike Schmidt for the most HRs by a third baseman (48).

It was the Dodgers' sixth loss in the last nine games and cut their lead in the National League West to 1 1/2 games for the first time since July 17. With 13 to play, they've come back to the pack.

Weaver (12-12), winless since Aug. 26 with a 7.03 ERA over his last four starts, made this his shortest outing since his second start of the season and his fourth loss to San Diego in 2004. Dodger-killer Adam Eaton, meanwhile, improved to 4-1 against the guys in the white hats.

His effort reflects the entire rotation who since Aug. 22 have possted a 6.73 ERA. They have failed to last at least five innings six of the last 11 starts .

The Dodgers M*A*S*H 4077 triage unit announced that Wilson Alvarez had been scratched from his scheduled start Thursday with a sore left hamstring. Kazuhisa Ishii, who's been in and out the bullpen repeatedly, will reemerge in the starting rotation.

If Jose Lima's broken thumb makes him skip his Saturday start, rookie Edwin Jackson will replace him but Lima said he'll be ready. Odalis Perez says he's healthy, but the run-starved starter is winless since Aug. 13.

The Dodgers will learn tonight if Brad Penny can right the sinking ship. He's been out since Aug. 8 with arm problems after working eight scoreless innings in his first start.

"He's our horse if he's healthy," said Green. "Tomorrow's a big day. If he throws well and he's pain-free, it will be a big boost for us."

And so it goes for a club that led by as much as 7 1/2 games on Aug. 11, and as much as six games as recently as Sept. 11.

The Dodgers took a 2-0 lead on Beltré's 46th home run in the first inning, and he slugged No. 47 in the eighth, joining Mike Schmidt and Eddie Mathews as the only third basemen in Major League history with that many in a season.

Jayson Werth's banged a one-out triple and scored on Beltré's first homer of the game.

But the Padres responded in the third with three runs, added another in the fourth and four in the fifth to put the game out of reach.

Green to set out Giants game--The Los Angeles Times reports that first baseman Shawn Green plans to sit out the second game of a National League West showdown against the San Francisco Giants. Green, who is Jewish, will not play Saturday in observance of Yom Kippur -- the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. Although the games Friday and Saturday fall within the Jewish Day of Atonement, which starts at sundown Friday and ends at sundown Saturday, Green apparently figured he would be letting down his teammates if he skipped both games, said the official who asked not to be identified. Green and Manager Jim Tracy discussed the situation in a closed-door meeting Tuesday before a 9-4 loss to the San Diego Padres. The unnamed official said Green would announce his decision today.

Dodger Blue Notes--General manager Paul DePodesta said no announcement on the rehiring of Tracy and his staff would be made until the division race is settled. ... Jayson Werth found out that he suffered not one but two broken ribs in late July when he ran into the fence at Coors Field. Werth again experienced muscle spasms under the ribs after diving for a ball last week.

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