Padres beat Dodgers, pull within one game of division lead

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Somebody must have said something pretty good
during a Padres team meeting before the series opener against the
Los Angeles Dodgers.

Brian Giles scored the go-ahead run from first base on Adrian
Gonzalez's double into the left-field corner in the eighth inning
and the San Diego Padres won their fifth straight game against the
Los Angeles Dodgers, 5-3 on Wednesday night.

By winning the first two of this three-game series, the
defending NL West champion Padres pulled within one game of Los
Angeles and Arizona, which are tied for the division lead. Overall,
the Padres have won just four times in their last nine games.

"To come back and beat the team that's in first place, that's
huge for us," Gonzalez said. "Tomorrow, if we win, we can get
right back in the mix in that first-place area."

Gonzalez said the Padres had a team meeting before Tuesday
night's game "to get that edge again. We've been having it
yesterday and today, that killer instinct. We went out there with a
lot of energy the last two days."

Gonzalez wouldn't divulge what was said, only that manager Bruce
Bochy and reserve outfielder Eric Young fired up the team the most.

"Couple of inspirational words, and you have that thing where
you're like, 'All right, let's go get them," Gonzalez said.
"Nothing changes as far as how you play, but that mindset and that
energy you take out there changes."

With the score tied at 3, Giles drew a four-pitch walk off
reliever Hong-Chih Kuo (0-4) leading off the eighth. With one out,
Gonzalez hit a 2-2 pitch the opposite way to bring in Giles.
Shortstop Rafael Furcal's relay throw was up the first-base line
for an error, allowing Gonzalez to take third. Pinch-hitter Josh
Bard greeted reliever Danys Baez with a single to left that scored

"Today was a bad day," said Kuo, whose first six pitches were
balls. "I was just trying to throw strikes. Hopefully, I'll get

Said manager Grady Little: "I think that his whole outing was
dictated by those first six balls he threw. He couldn't find it out
of the bullpen."

Matt Kemp, pinch-hitting for Dodgers reliever Jonathan Broxton,
hit a towering homer to straightaway center field, estimated at 433
feet, to tie it at 3 leading off the eighth. Kemp's seventh homer
came on the second pitch from reliever Scott Linebrink (3-2).

That got Brad Penny off the hook for what would have been his
first loss since May 1, and kept Padres rookie Mike Thompson from
getting his first win in four starts. Thompson threw seven strong

"Boy, he's done a great job," Bochy said of Thompson. "Great
game tonight. Gave us seven solid innings. He knows what he's doing
out there. He did a nice job all night."

Thompson allowed two runs and three hits, with three strikeouts
and two walks.

Los Angeles' Kenny Lofton reached second leading off the sixth
when he beat out a bunt for an infield single and advanced on
catcher Mike Piazza's throwing error. Thompson then retired the

"He's got a great makeup about him and keeps his composure out
there," Bochy said. "We played well tonight, made some great
defensive plays there, but it all starts with the job the kid did.
He saved us tonight."

Trevor Hoffman pitched the ninth for his 15th save in 16

Mark Bellhorn hit a two-run homer for the Padres.

Willy Aybar hit a two-run homer off Thompson with one out in the
second to put Los Angeles in front. It was Aybar's third drive of
the season.

The Padres jumped ahead 3-2 in the bottom of the inning, when
the first three batters reached and scored.

Gonzalez hit a leadoff double to left-center, followed by
Bellhorn's homer into the seats in left-center, his fifth. Bellhorn
was starting at third base for Vinny Castilla. Khalil Greene walked
and, with two outs, stole second, then scored on Dave Roberts'
single up the middle.

San Diego had runners on first and second with no outs in the
sixth, and stranded both.

Penny allowed three runs and five hits in six innings, struck
out five and walked one.

Game notes
Kemp has seven homers in 45 at-bats. ... Dodgers RHP Chad
Billingsley, 21, is scheduled to make his big league debut Thursday
against the Padres in the series finale. The Dodgers purchased his
contract Wednesday and optioned IF/OF Joel Guzman to Triple-A Las
Vegas. ... Needing a single Tuesday night to become the first
Padres player to hit for the cycle, Mike Cameron didn't swing at a
3-0 pitch from Odalis Perez in the seventh inning, and ended up
walking. He said he was respecting baseball etiquette, figuring
that had he swung, with the Padres up by eight runs, he might get
hit in the ribs on Wednesday night. So what happened Wednesday
night? Cameron got hit on the left shoulder by a pitch from Penny
in the first inning. ... Cameron went from getting three hits
Tuesday night to striking out three times. ... Padres SS Khalil
Greene is hitless in his last 19 at-bats.