Late Los Angeles Rally Gains Split With Padres

The Dodgers came from behind to win two in a row after losing the first eight games of a 13-game, four-city road trip, stopping NL West leader San Diego 4-3 in 10 innings. They scored three in the eighth to win and pushed across another run in the 10 to split the four-game set in the first 'crucial' series of the 2005 season.

Jeff Kent banged a sacrifice fly with one out in the 10th to break a 3-3 deadlock. It was his second RBI of the game. Olmedo Saenz had the other two runs batted in.

Brian Lawrence was on the mound for San Diego and he pitched like Lawrence of Arabia, taking no prisoners and allowing only three hits an no runs over the first seven innings.

The Padres nicked Elmer Dessens for a run in the third on a Ryan Klesko homer and added two more in the fourth on a walk, a pair of singles, a ground ball and a long fly.

It looked like business as usual for he punchless Dodgers going into the eighth. Derek Thompson worked three scoreless innings in relief of Dessens, who left after four having thrown 93 pitches.

Oscar Robles doubled to lead off the eighth for L.A. and Jason Grabowski walked. That old devil The Bunt bit the Dodgers again when Cesar Izturis, attempting to sacrifice the runners over, popped weakly to the third baseman in four territory.

Maury Wills, the Dodger bunting instructor during spring training and beyond, but have a queasy stomach each time one of his students is given the bunt sign -- and for good reason.

Mike Edwards, hitting in the second spot in the lineup, scuffed a ball in front of the plate to advance Robes and Grabowski, but now there was two out.

Jayson Werth promptly walked to fill the bases, the third man of the inning to reach base after the team had just put five on over the first seven innings.

Kent made the Padres pay for the bases on balls by slamming a single past the diving San Diego shortstop to score Robles and put the Dodgers on the board.

Saenz, who had fanned twice and hit an easy fly to right field in his first three trips, rammed a single to center to score Grabowski and Izturis and suddenly the Dodgers had tied the game.

Giovanni Carrara worked a scoreless eighth, and after the Dodgers had gone down in order in the ninth, Duaner Sanchez (2-3), the eventual winner, got three outs the hard way. He walked the first hitter, threw out the next on a sac bunt, then picked the runner off second base. An easy fly to left by Dave Roberts ended the inning.

Dodger fans envisioned another five or six innings, given the Dodgers propensity for scoring in only a few innings of each game. But they were pleasantly surprised when Izturis banged a double off San Diego closer Trevor Hoffman.

Edwards, defying the hoodoo, dropped a perfect bunt and moved Izturis to third where, after a walk to Werth, Kent performed his usual trick of getting runners across the plate, this time with a fly deep enough to center to score Izturis.

Yhency Brazoban made things interesting in the last of the tenth, walking a pair of runners before getting the final two outs on a fly ball and a liner to Saenz at third. It was his 13th save in 16 chances.

With J.D. Drew out with a sore knee, manager Jim Tracy had another patchwork lineup ready for he game, putting Edwards in left, Jason Phillips at first and Saenz at third. San Diego also used their catcher, Robert Fick, at first base.

The win, remarkably cut the San Diego lead over Arizona to 3 1/2 games and to 4 1/2 games over the Dodgers. It was a two-game swing, since a loss would have put the Dodgers 6 1/2 back.

Dodger Blue Notes--If J.D. Drew plays at all in this weekend's series at Anaheim, it likely will be as DH and not in the field. Drew missed his second straight start with chondromalacia, a roughening of the cartilage behind the kneecap. ... Today, Eric Gagne will undergo his second Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery and backup catcher Paul Bako will receive a transplanted anterior cruciate ligament in a reconstruction of his knee. Gagne will be out until mid-2006 and Bako, a free agent after this season, will be out for the remainder of the year. …Nick Hardwick of the San Diego Chargers, wearing a brown Padres throwback jersey from the early 1980s, delivered the ceremonial first pitch like any center would, by turning around, bending over and hiking it to Mark Sweeney at the plate. …Jeff Weaver has had back-to-back quality starts without a win. He draws the start in tonight's Freeway Series opener against the Angels.