Padres Pound Stake Deeper With 9-4 Win

Believers in signs sighed and shook their heads when Andre Ethier banged a ground ball with the bases loaded in the eighth inning and it deflected off first baseman Adrian Gonzalez's glove to second baseman Heath Bell and he threw to pitcher Heath Bell in time to end the inning and effectively end the game.

"Teams of Destiny" some call it, when the breaks go your way in the dying days of a long, hard season. It was the second time this month the Dodgers were so victimized.

Manager Grady Little's eclectic mix of veterans and rookies seemed to hit the daily double in this one, facing Jake Peavey and falling behind 6-0 before they came to bat in the third inning.

Peavey, with his 17th win, might well have clinched the Cy Young Award by limiting five hits and a pair of runs over his seven innings of work. And newly-arrived Esteban Loaiza was ripped for six quick runs and he left the game in the fourth having barely broken a sweat.

Peavey was hammered for a career high-tying eight earned runs in just four innings of San Diego's 9-6 loss to Arizona but the guy is a Dodger killer, recording a perfect 5-for-5 in starts against them this year. He is 8-1 with a 2.28 ERA in 17 career starts versus the Dodgers and in his last 11 outings against them, the right-hander is 6-0 with a 1.90 ERA. Peavy's only loss to the Dodgers was a 4-0 defeat Sept. 13, 2003.

The 9-4 San Diego victory stuffed Los Angeles 3 1/2 games behind the Padres in the wild card chase and extended their lead over the Phillies to 2 1/2 games after the pesky Rockies dumped Philadelphia 8-2.

The Padres stopped the Dodgers for the 10th time in 16 games and the win takes things out of their own hands since the two meet only twice more this season, tonight and tomorrow night. Now they need outside help.

Pitching on seven days' rest, Loaiza (1-1) gave up six runs and six hits in 3.1 innings, struck out five and walked four. The right-hander stumbled from the start, walking three of the first four batters he faced.

"It was a struggle out of the gate. He was making what we thought were good pitches that were called balls and it took him right out of his style of pitching," Little said. "He's a pitcher who, if he doesn't get the calls on the pitches he was making, he's got a big problem. That's what happened out there. When they put those runs up there, they put them up there quick."

Loaiza gave up back-to-back homers to in the third. Loaiza was booed when pitching coach Rick Honeycutt left him stay in the game after visiting the mound during the inning.

"I wanted to go out there and hit my corners and threw a lot of good pitches that were strikes, but the umpire was calling them balls," Loaiza said. "Me and the pitching coach were talking and I said I think I needed to throw everything down the middle to get a strike."

We all know how that works out. San Diego pounded Loaiza for three home runs and added another off Rudy Seanez in the seventh when the Padres added three more runs to their totals.

San Diego took a 2-0 lead in the first on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Greene and an RBI single, then turned on the power. A home run on a 3-0 pitch in the second made it 4-0 and back-to-back dingers in the third put Los Angeles down 6-0.

San Diego second baseman Geoff Blum reached the Loge Level in right field with his seventh inning home run off Seanez, the ball traveling an estimated 419 feet. The blast is just the 17th homer in Dodger Stadium history to reach the Loge Level. Matt Kemp boomed one into the Loge Level in left field on June 12 of this year against the Mets.  

The top four hitters in the dodger lineup collected 10 hits as they outhit the Padres 11-10. James Loney lined a shot into the right field seats in the third to break the ice and put them on the board.

It was his 10th homer in less than half the season and the doomsayers who claimed he would never hit with power are all singing his praises. He added an RBI single and a third single to boost his average to .316.

Jeff Kent singled three times and knocked in a run, while Rafael Furcal and Juan Pierre added two hits each, Pierre collecting his 21st double.
v After Peavey left, the Dodgers cracked out six hits in the final two innings but only scored twice, one coming on Chin-lung Hu's first major league hit, a pinch-hit home run in the ninth off former Dodger Brett Tomko.

Manager Grady Little said all the right things after the game, but it is apparent that the club is in a red alert and must produce -- now or start booking their flights to Maui or St. Thomas.

"We need to win tomorrow and go from there," Little told the writers covering the team. "We've still got 18 games to go and we've just got to continue to play hard and hope the ball starts falling in our favor."

Los Angeles will play six games against league-leading Arizona over those final 18 games, and if they can't beat the Padres, the Diamondbacks will have to be the focus of their attention.

Score by Innings San Diego 222 000 300-9 Los Angeles 001 001 011-4 Los Angeles ab r h bi ave Furcal ss 5 1 2 0 .271 Pierre cf 4 1 2 0 .291 Loney 1b 5 1 3 2 .316 Kent 2b 5 0 3 1 .297 Gonzalez lf 2 0 0 0 .278 Seanez ph 1 0 0 0 .186 Lieberthal c 0 0 0 0 .243 Martin c 3 0 0 0 .297 Moeller c 0 0 0 0 .167 Kemp p rf 1 0 0 0 .336 Ethier rf-lf 4 0 0 0 .286 Garciaparra 3b 3 0 0 0 .275 Loaiza p 1 0 0 0 .250 Houlton p 0 0 0 0 .000 Young ph 1 0 0 0 .467 Seanez p 0 0 0 0 .000 Hernandez p 0 0 0 0 .000 Abreu ph 1 0 0 0 .283 Hull p 0 0 0 0 .000 Hu ph 1 1 1 1 .500 Totals 37 4 11 4 San Diego 33 9 10 8 2B- Pierre (21). HR- Loney (10), Hu (1). RBI- Loney 2 (46), Kent (77), Hu (1). LOB- Los Angeles 9, San Diego 5. Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era Loaiza (2-1) 3.1 6 6-6 4 5 4.32 Houlton 1.2 0 0-0 0 0 4.42 Seanez 1.2 3 3-3 1 2 3.95 Hernandez 0.1 1 0-0 1 0 5.98 Hull 2.0 0 0-0 0 1 4.26 WP- Hernandez 2. T- 2:55. Att- 51,620.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Jeff Kent's multi-homer game Sunday gave him 60 home runs as a second baseman in Los Angeles, surpassing Charlie Neal for third on the franchise list. The only other Dodger second basemen with more homers than Kent are Davey Lopes (98) and Jackie Robinson (80). Kent, who is Major League Baseball's all-time home run leader at the position, has 364 homers in his career which ranks 65th, two behind Atlanta's Andruw Jones. On the all-time RBI list, Kent has 1,456 to leave him eight shy of Ed Delahanty for fifth place. ...Russell Martin caught his 130th game of the year on Sunday and is closing in on the L.A. Dodger Top 10 in that category. John Roseboro ranks 10th with 134 games caught. Mike Piazza holds the top three spots on the list, as he caught 146 games, 146 games and 139 games in 1993, 1996 and 1997, respectively. His 1997 total is tied for third with Tom Haller (1968) and Mike Scioscia (1987). ...Before the game, the Dodgers honored those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 with "Heroes Night" at Dodger Stadium. The team recognized civil servants from the Los Angeles Police Department, Fire Department, Sheriff's Department, California Highway Patrol and United States Marine Corps, among others. In addition, following the National Anthem and "America the Beautiful" a flyover was staged by LA City and County Fire's helicopters.  

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