SAN DIEGO -- Matt Kemp squared up and drove a fly ball to straightaway center field at spacious Petco Park.
Tony Gwynn Jr. timed his leap, got his glove over the wall and made a stab at the ball. He watched in frustration as it hit off the end of his glove for a two-run homer that carried Kemp's surging Los Angeles Dodgers to a 4-3 win over the NL West-leading San Diego Padres on Friday night.
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After he came back down, Gwynn smacked the padded wall with the palm of his right hand."Tony Gwynn Jr., he almost caught it," Kemp said. "I'm glad it slipped out of his glove or whatever it did and ended up being a home run. It was a big hit for us."Gwynn wasn't in the clubhouse when it was opened to reporters."It was a good effort," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He tracked it very well. Judging from his body language, he thought he had a play on it."Kemp saw Gwynn's reaction."I was just trying to make sure he didn't take it out of his glove or show me the ball," Kemp said. "I probably would have gone crazy. I would have flipped. You all would have seen a side of me you've never seen before."The Dodgers, who got five scoreless innings from their bullpen, won their fifth straight while the Padres had their three-game winning streak snapped.Kemp's drive off Luke Gregerson (0-1) came with Russell Martin aboard on a double. It was his eighth homer, ending Gregerson's scoreless streak at 16 1/3 innings.Gregerson said the slider "just jumped out of my hand before I finished the pitch. It had no rotation on it. The ball just spun over the middle of the plate and didn't really move."Andre Ethier had an RBI double among his two hits, to go with two walks, to raise his major league-leading average to .392.Jeff Weaver (2-1) pitched one inning for the win and Jonathan Broxton worked the ninth for his fifth save in seven chances.Gregerson inherited a 3-2 lead from Jon Garland, who escaped two bases-loaded jams with minimal damage. Garland, who pitched for the Dodgers for the final month of 2009, was trying for his fifth straight win.The Dodgers loaded the bases with one out in the second before Garland fielded Ramon Ortiz's bunt to start a 1-2-3 double play.James Loney opened the inning with a fly ball down the left-field line that was quickly ruled fair by third base umpire Mike Reilly as it bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double. Replays showed the ball landed just foul, and Black and left fielder Matt Stairs argued unsuccessfully with Reilly.Garland allowed four straight singles to open the third, including Manny Ramirez's RBI hit, before getting Loney to pop up and Casey Blake to hit into a double play.Garland allowed two runs and six hits in six innings, struck out two and walked four.San Diego's Adrian Gonzalez homered off Ortiz with two outs in the first, his seventh. It came one pitch after Gwynn was thrown out trying to steal second.After Ramirez's single tied it in the third, the Padres went ahead in the bottom half when Will Venable singled home David Eckstein, whose double ended up in the Dodgers' bullpen down the right-field line.Los Angeles tied it again in the fifth when Kemp walked and scored on Ethier's double. San Diego took a 3-2 lead on Chase Headley's RBI fielder's choice in the fifth.Ortiz allowed three runs and six hits in four innings.
Actor Ray Liotta, who made an appearance at a news conference Friday on behalf of Stand Up To Cancer, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. He was barefoot, apparently in a nod to his role as Shoeless Joe Jackson in "Field of Dreams." ... Padres RHP Kevin Correia is scheduled to start Saturday against the Dodgers, a week after his younger brother, Trevor, died after falling from a 60-foot cliff while hiking on an island off the Santa Barbara coastline. Correia has been on the bereavement list since Tuesday. ... Dodgers SS Rafael Furcal (left hamstring) wasn't activated from the disabled list as expected. Manager Joe Torre said Furcal tried running from first to third before the game but couldn't turn it loose.