Padres within two games of wild-card

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- It's debatable who has more passion for
winning -- Phil Nevin or David Wells.

Nevin homered twice and drove in four runs, Wells won his fifth
straight decision despite giving up a season-high three homers and
the San Diego Padres defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-7 on Monday

The first-place Dodgers saw their lead drop to 4 games over
idle San Francisco in the NL West with their second straight loss,
while the Padres moved within two games of the Giants in the
wild-card race.

Can the Padres catch the Dodgers?

"Definitely, if we don't mess around," Wells said. "We've got
to be a lot better than what we are. Our bullpen has got to be
better. We need our relievers to get ahead in the count. The
offense is solid right now, and I can't be happier because they're
scoring some runs."

Wells (11-7) gave up five runs on six hits, struck out a
season-high nine and walked none in beating the Dodgers for the
first time in three meetings this season. Two of the runs came on
solo homers by Shawn Green, raising his season total to 25.

"It was home run derby with me," Wells said.

Trevor Hoffman pitched the ninth for his 36th save in 40

"They're a tough team, they've been playing well and they're
going to be in it all the way to the end," Green said.

A feisty Wells argued balls and strikes with plate umpire Lance
Barksdale at the end of the fourth and was led away by a teammate.

"It's disheartening when you're throwing strikes and the guy is
squeezing you," Wells said. "The last three games I've been
fighting with the umpires. I've been making their job easier by
throwing strikes. When I feel I'm right, I'm going to express my

Manager Bruce Bochy came out to discuss things with Barksdale.

"Boomer was a little frustrated on what he thought were some
good pitches," Bochy said.

In the dugout, Nevin urged an animated Wells not to get thrown
out of the game, saying, "Boomer, we need you."

Wells settled down and laughed about it later. "I don't want to
hurt the team," he said.

Green went after a curveball that Wells mixed in with his
two-seam fastball and cutter.

"He's a smart pitcher and he's not just going to give you a
cookie down the middle to hit," Green said. "He's going to work
the plate, so you've just got to be ready to hit your pitch when
you get it because guys like that normally don't give you two good
pitches in the same at-bat."

Jayson Werth hit a two-run homer and an RBI single for the

Nevin's first homer, which landed in the seats near the
left-field foul pole, broke a scoreless tie and triggered a
five-run fourth against Odalis Perez (6-5).

"He's just got a lot of fire. He's always playing all-out,"
Bochy said of Nevin. "He was fired up and carried us."

Nevin's second homer -- and 25th this season -- was a three-run
shot off Scott Stewart in the seventh that extended the Padres'
lead to 9-4.

"It's a lot more fun to come to the park when there's something
at stake," Nevin said. "It does make this a lot more meaningful.
These are games we need."

Stewart allowed the first four batters he faced to reach base,
and pinch-runner Kerry Robinson stole two bases off him before
Stewart finished the inning.

In all three innings in which the Padres scored, the Dodgers
responded with runs in the bottom half. Cesar Izturis, Werth and
Adrian Beltre had RBI singles to pull the Dodgers to 9-7 in the

After Nevin's first homer, Ramon Hernandez had an RBI double to
make it 2-0. Khalil Greene scored on a wild pitch by Perez, who
allowed seven consecutive batters to reach base in the inning. Sean
Burroughs' bases-loaded RBI single and Mark Loretta's sacrifice fly
made it 5-0.

"I really don't know what happened in the fourth inning. I felt
100 percent," Perez said. "It didn't work out, but I haven't lost
my confidence. When I don't perform the way I want, I go home and
think about it, and it doesn't feel good."

After Werth's homer cut San Diego's lead to 5-3, Hernandez got
one of the runs back in the sixth with his 15th homer, a leadoff
shot to center.

Game notes
Dodger players have 17 multihomer games this season,
third-most in franchise history. The 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers and the
2000 team each had 18 multihomer games. ... Green and Beltre have
combined to hit 70 homers, the fourth duo in franchise history with
that many. Green and Gary Sheffield combined for 85 homers in 2001;
Sheffield and Eric Karros combined for 74 in 2000; and Mike Piazza,
Karros and Todd Zeile hit a combined 71 homers in 1997. ... Greene
had two errors, giving him 20. He left in the sixth inning because
of numbness in his right index finger after fielding a grounder.
X-rays were negative. ... It was Green's fourth multihomer game of
the season. ... Players from Conejo Valley of Thousand Oaks were
honored before the game for their runner-up showing in the Little
League World Series championship game last month.