Ethier was trying to hit the ball into the outfield for a game-winning sacrifice fly, but he made solid contact on a fastball in on his hands to send the crowd of 47,680 home with a smile on their faces.
"You know the pressure is on them, so you can't force the situation," Ethier said. "You just don't want to hit on the ground. Fortunately, I got a pitch I could drive."
The Dodgers are now 9-0 at home, tying the franchise record set in 1946 in Brooklyn.
"I want to make it 10-0," manager Joe Torre said. "You get greedy when you play well and get results. Most clubs would like to believe they're comfortable at home, and it's someplace you should win. A big part of it is the crowd, and the fact that you hit last in close games. We're feeling pretty good about ourselves right now."
Just as he did the night before, Rafael Furcal led off the 10th with a single and Orlando Hudson added a single of his own, sending Furcal to third. Manny Ramirez was given the expected intentional walk before Ethier set off another celebration at home plate.
Starter Randy Wolf was again strong but needed 103 pitches before leaving with one out in the sixth. He gave up a first inning home run to Padres first baseman Edgar Gonzalez, then surrendered only one more hit, an infield single in the sixth, but uncharacteristically walked four after giving up eight bases on balls in his previous 31.3 innings. He had a stretch of 46 consecutive batters without issuing a walk.
Then the bullpen turned in another spectacular performances.
Wolf left with the bases loaded but Ramon Troncoso got Kevin Kouzmanoff to ground to Furcal who started an inning-ending double play to kill the potential rally. Troncoso and Cory Wade then combined for 3 2/3 perfect innings. Guillermo Mota (2-), allowed a single and an intentional walk, and earned the win with a scoreless 10th inning.
"Our bullpen was magnificent," Torre said. "There wasn't any room for error, but we pitched great. Troncoso certainly kept the game where it was with that double play and his next inning. And Cory Wade, we didn't want to pitch him two innings, but he threw just four pitches in his first inning. It just fell right for us."
While the Dodgers were moving up to a 17-8 record, in the next elevator next over the Padres were going down. After a 9-3 start they have now lost six in a row and 10 of their last 12.
It wasn't the fault of San Diego starter Chris Young, who gave up just single run on six hits over seven innings and struck out five.
The Dodgers tied the score 1-1 in the third when Wolf doubled inside first base and scored on Furcal's single. It was Wolf's second hit in 13 at bats.
Torre said he plans to rest regulars Rafael Furcal, Casey Blake and Russell Martin because it's a day game after a night game.
This afternoon Chad Billingsley will attempt to put the Dodgers in uncharted territory with a 10th straight home win. Billingsley (4-0, 2.14 ERA), allowed two runs in his last time out and finished with a no-decision.
The Dodgers will face RHP Chad Gaudin (0-0, 0.00 ERA) who held the Rockies scoreless for five innings in his first start. Using a big breaking slider he held the Rockies to three hits.
Score by Innings San Diego 100 000 000 0-1 LA Dodgers 001 000 000 1-2 Dodgers ab r h bi ave Furcal ss 5 1 2 1 .258 Hudson 2b 5 0 1 0 .327 Ramirez lf 3 0 0 0 .349 Ethier rf 5 0 2 1 .308 Loney 1b 4 0 1 0 .295 Martin c 4 0 3 0 .224 Kemp cf 3 0 0 0 .302 Blake 3b 3 0 0 0 .225 Wolf p 2 1 1 0 .154 Troncoso p 0 0 0 0 .000 Peirre ph 1 0 0 0 .375 Wade ph 0 0 0 0 .000 Loretta ph 1 0 0 0 .450 Moto p 0 0 0 0 .000 ----------------------------- Totals 35 2 10 2 San Diego 32 1 3 1 Error- Blake (2). 2B- Wolf (1), Loney (7). RBI- Furcal (6), Ethier (23). LON- Dodgers 11, San Diego 6. SB- Martin (1). DP- Furcal, Hudson and Loney. Dodgers in h r-er bb so era Wolf 5.1 2 1-1 4 4 3.93 Troncoso 1.2 0 0-0 0 0 1.23 Wade 2.0 0 0-0 0 1 2.70 Moto (2-0) 1.0 1 0-0 1 0 6.75 WP- Wolf. T- 3:18. Att- 47,680.
Rookie right-hander James McDonald's has been moved into the bullpen and veteran Jeff Weaver will take his place in the starting rotation manager Joe Torre announced. In addition, a struggling Hong-Chih Kuo was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left elbow strain and left-hander Brent Leach was recalled from Double-A Chattanooga after allowing just one run over 13 innings while striking out 17 and walking eight in nine appearances.
"J-Mac just looked so uncomfortable last time," Torre said. "No offense to the young man, but we had him earmarked to be in the bullpen from the start, but he was kind of forced into starting." McDonald has struggled with his control this season. As a starter, he has walked 14 batters in just 14 1/3 innings to accompany an 8.16 ERA this season.
Weaver opened the season with Triple-A Albuquerque to build up strength in case he needed to start for the Dodgers and the move has paid off. Fellow veteran Eric Milton is currently doing the same thing at Triple-A, and Torre said Weaver's move to the rotation is hardly set in stone.
"It's just for this time around," Torre said. "We're just doing this on the go right now. We don't have any long-range plans right now. We're just trying to piece it together until we find the right guy."
After struggling while trying to warm up in the bullpen Friday, including throwing two pitches over the bullpen fence and onto the field, Hong-Chih Kuo was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Thursday, with a left elbow strain Saturday.
His replacement is left-hander Brent Leach, who was recalled from Double-A Chattanooga after allowing just one run over 13 innings while striking out 17 and walking eight. Brent Leach
"Leach has been doing all right," Torre said. "He has a real good move to first and a real good changeup. He got in a lot of work with us during Spring Training, so really we just wanted to replace a lefty reliever with a lefty reliever."
Leach, who was a sixth-round pick in 2005, pitched in five Spring Training games for the Dodgers, allowing four runs over 4.1 innings in five games. The changeup is his out-pitch, and it's worked well for him in the Minors. He has 303 strikeouts over 274 innings, but he's allowed 149 career walks as well.
This season He has struck out 17 and walked eight in his 13.0 innings and has limited left-handed hitters to a .188 average (3-for-16).
Torre said Kuo will likely take a week off from throwing before rebuilding strength in his elbow, which has twice undergone Tommy John ligament reconstruction surgery.
Dodger Blue Notes --The Dodgers' pitching staff has posted a 2.68 ERA (23 ER/77.1 IP) in eight games at Dodger Stadium. That's the second-best home ERA in the Majors, trailing only San Francisco's 2.39 ERA (29 ER/109.0 IP) in 12 games at AT&T Park. The Dodgers led the Majors in 2008 with a 3.01 home ERA. ...The Dodgers have committed only nine errors in 868 total chances in 24 games. ...While Rafael Furcal is batting just .250 with a .330 on-base percentage, the Dodgers leadoff hitter has reached base safely in each of his 22 games played (21 starts). According to ELIAS's John Labombarda, Furcal is one of only six players in the Majors who has reached base safely in every game they've played (minimum 20 games). He joins Carlos Beltran (22 games), Adrian Gonzalez (23), Brandon Inge (22), Nick Markakis (23), and Albert Pujols (24). ...Furcal in 2008 reached base safely in 30 straight games to start the season, becoming the first Dodger to accomplish that feat since Duke Snider reached base safely in his first 34 games of the 1955 season. ...Russell Martin broke out of a 2-for-23 rut with three hits and became the third catcher to steal at least 50 bases for the Dodgers, joining Johnny Roseboro (59) and Lew Ritter (55). ...Right-hander Hiroki Kuroda still hasn't started playing long-toss as he was previously scheduled to do this weekend as he recovers from his strained left oblique muscle. There's still no timetable for his return because he's still weeks away from a recovery. ...After giving up a run in the first inning, left-hander Randy Wolf has allowed at least one run in the first inning in four of his six starts this season. But he's allowed just seven runs in the 31.1 innings he's pitched after the first inning this season for a 1.99 ERA. ..The Dodgers and the Dodgers Dream Foundation announced Saturday that the Los Angeles Boys & Girls Club will be the site of the ninth Dodgers Dreamfield.