SAN DIEGO -- Minutes after beating the first-place San Diego Padres 4-1 to extend their winning streak to a season-high six games, the Los Angeles Dodgers found out that star hitter Andre Ethier has a broken bone at the end of his right pinkie.
"It stinks, honestly," said left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who came up big again for the streaking Dodgers by throwing seven strong innings.
"He's the best player in the game right now. The best hitter in the game, for sure. It's not something that we're excited about," Kershaw added. "He's going to be sorely missed in our lineup. That said, I don't even know the timetable for him to be out, but tonight we came up without him so we've got to keep going."
Ethier leads the majors with a .392 batting average and 38 RBIs and is tied for the NL lead with 11 homers.
The left-handed Ethier said he was taking swings in the indoor batting cage when he pinched his right pinkie against his bat. He took a few swings during BP on the field and finally told hitting coach Don Mattingly that it wasn't feeling right.
Ethier said his finger bothered him playing catch. He'll be examined Sunday by a hand specialist in Los Angeles.
"It could be a couple of days, it could be longer than that," Ethier said. "I'm a little disappointed in the fact it's something this small."
James Loney homered and Russell Martin pushed his hitting streak to 10 games with an RBI single in the fifth for Los Angeles, which has won 11 of 14 and is two games above .500 for the first time this year.
San Diego came into the series with a 3 1/2-game lead atop the NL West, but the two losses, coupled with two straight wins by San Francisco, have cut it to 1 1/2 games. The two-time defending division champion Dodgers are three games back.
Kershaw (3-2) held San Diego to three hits, struck out seven and walked two. The left-hander started the Dodgers' winning streak last Sunday by beating Colorado 2-0, holding the Rockies to two hits in eight innings while striking out nine.
After Yorvit Torrealba doubled leading off the second, Kershaw didn't allow another runner to get as far as second base, retiring 12 of his next 13 batters. He allowed only one more hit, a single by Hairston leading off the sixth, and got out of that inning by getting Adrian Gonzalez to ground into a double play.
"It wasn't a sensational game, he was just very businesslike out there," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.
"He keeps it together," Torre added. "He doesn't unravel. For a kid his age, it's pretty remarkable. It's a lot of fun to watch him grow into his ability right now. He's not going to give you the ball. You're going to have to take it away."
Kershaw said his command wasn't the best.
"I guess you could call it effectively wild," he said. "I didn't really hit a whole lot of spots tonight, just kind of had to battle through it, really."
Jonathan Broxton pitched the ninth for his sixth save in eight chances.
Padres right-hander Kevin Correia (4-3) started a week after his younger brother, Trevor, died after falling from a 60-foot cliff while hiking on Santa Cruz Island. Correia went 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs and five hits while striking out four and walking two.
"When I was out on the mound, I was just concentrating on the game," Correia said.
He had been scratched from his start last Sunday and flew from Houston to California to be with his family.
"It was a tragic thing," Correia said. "It was the toughest thing I've had to deal with."
Loney homered into the sandy play area beyond the fence in right-center field -- one of the deepest parts of Petco Park -- on Correia's first pitch of the second to tie the game at 1. It was his fourth.
The Dodgers took the lead in the fifth on Jamey Carroll's RBI single to right and Martin's RBI single to center. Los Angeles added a run in the sixth when Loney walked with one out and scored on Garret Anderson's triple over the head of right fielder Oscar Salazar, who slipped on the warning track going for the ball.
"The story of tonight's game was just too much Kershaw. He really threw the ball extremely well," Padres manager Bud Black said.
Correia was reinstated from the bereavement list. To make room, RHP Adam Russell was optioned to Triple-A Portland. ... Torre said there was no news on SS Rafael Furcal, who had been expected to come off the disabled list this weekend. Torre said Furcal won't be ready to play by Sunday and that he'll likely need to play at least one more game in the minors on a rehab assignment.