He came up in the seventh needing the single and was walked on five pitches by Dodgers reliever Odalis Perez.
"It would have been nice to be able to do it," said Cameron, who was swinging to an accompanying ovation from the 30,371 spectators on hand at Petco Park.
"Everybody was getting on me not swinging on 3-and-0. But that would not have been a good idea and take one in the ribs tomorrow. You can't swing 3-and-0 when ahead by eight runs. I hope that's no one's style."
Cameron reached first on an error by Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal in the first. He doubled in the second, tripled in the fourth and homered in the fifth.
His double just missed clearing the wall in left.
"If I get that 10 feet to the left, people wouldn't be talking about the cycle," said Cameron, who also was a single shy of joining an elite circle of players who have a four-homer game and have hit for the cycle in a game.
That short list numbers only three players -- Chuck Klein, Lou Gehrig and Gil Hodges.
"I know it would have been special," Cameron said. "Hopefully, the chance comes around again."
Cameron's three extra-base hits Tuesday night give him six over the last four games. Cameron had only eight extra-base hits in his first 42 games.
"I wasn't in sync with my swing," he said. "It's starting to come around."
REPLAY: The Padres opened a three-game series with the Dodgers Tuesday night three games behind NL West-leading Los Angeles. Now they are two back with two games to go in the series following a 9-1 victory.
Besides Mike Cameron falling a single shy of the cycle, Vinny Castilla also had three RBIs with a bases-clearing double in the first inning, and right-hander Chan Ho Park held his former club to one run on three hits over six innings.