LOS ANGELES(AP) The
San Diego Padres
know deep down that they are more than just a bunch of supporting players built around
And they are determined to prove it to the pennant-contending teams they will face down the stretch.
Gonzalez hit his 35th home run of the season Sunday night after
drove in San Diego's first three runs, and the Padres got a huge effort from their bullpen to beat the
Los Angeles Dodgers
''It's always good when you've got a team full of basically nobodies going against
and beat a team like that,'' reliever
said. ''We've struggled a lot this year, and I think that has a lot to do with so many new guys and young guys coming in.
''It's just a matter of throwing them in the fire and saying, 'Hey, we need you guys to produce.' And now that we have a lot
of games under our belts, this team's really started to come together from every aspect.'' San Diego's starting pitchers in
this series -
- all began this season in the minor leagues. But the last-place Padres still managed to win two games from the NL West-leading
Dodgers, whose margin over Colorado remained at 4 1/2 games with San Francisco lurking a game behind the Rockies.
''We talked about the schedule and what it meant for us,'' manager
said. ''It's a good litmus test for our guys to play against teams that are competing for either a division title or a wild
card spot. I want the opposition to know that when we take the field against them, they're in for a good ball game. The guys
have taken that challenge to play to a certain level to see if we measure up, and they're responding.''
Stauffer (4-6) won his third straight start, allowing three runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings after departing with a 4-1
lead. Two of the runs against the right-hander were unearned, the result of rookie shortstop
's fielding error on a routine grounder by pinch-hitter
with one out in the Dodgers' two-run seventh.
relieved Stauffer with runners at first and second. Ethier lined the left-hander's first pitch down the left field line for
a two-run double. Gregerson retired pinch-hitter
on a fly ball for the final out in the seventh and then struck out the side in the eighth, and
worked a hitless ninth for his 35th save in 38 attempts.
The Dodgers, who set a modern major league record with their 13-0 home start, have won only one of their last seven series
at Chavez Ravine.
The loss spoiled the return of
(5-6) from the disabled list in his first start since getting hit in the head with a line drive on Aug. 15 at Phoenix. The
34-year-old right-hander gave up four runs - three earned - and four hits over five innings with three walks and three strikeouts.
''I was very satisfied with the way he came through it tonight,'' manager
said. ''I thought he competed very well. I thought his stuff was good, but he might have just been a little bit rusty as far
The Padres took the lead with an unearned run in the first after
reached on a one-out fielding error by three-time Gold Glove second baseman
. Eckstein scored on Kouzmanoff's grounder to short, barely eluding
's attempted sweep tag as
's hurried throw went slightly offline.
Kouzmanoff made it 3-0 in the third with a bases-loaded two-run single up the middle. It gave the Padres third baseman 83
RBIs, one shy of his career-best from last year. His other three-RBI game this season was Aug. 26 in Stauffer's 12-5 win at
Martin got the Dodgers on the board with an RBI single in the fourth. But Gonzalez got the run back for the Padres in the
fifth, driving a 3-2 pitch into the bullpen in left field. It left the two-time All-Star one homer shy of the career-high
total he established last year, and increased his major league-leading road home run total to 24.
as the only players in the Padres' 41-year history with two seasons of 35 or more home runs. Colbert hit 38 in 1970 and duplicated
that total in 1972.
''He's just putting up his numbers,'' Bell said. ''Adrian's one of the best hitters around, and I just think he gets overshadowed
or overlooked because he's in San Diego. But he can crush the ball. I don't really think he's having an outstanding year.
He's just having an average year for him.''
Gonzalez also doubled and drew his major league-leading 103rd walk, 29 more than he had in 162 games and 700 plate appearances
NOTES: Cabrera, who tied a Padres franchise record with three errors in Saturday's 7-4 loss, has 13 errors at SS - while 3B
Kouzmanoff and 2B Eckstein lead the majors in fielding percentage at their respective positions. ... Ethier needs eight RBIs
in the Dodgers' final 24 games to reach 100, and Kemp needs 12. The last time two Dodgers drove in 100 or more runs in the
same season was 2001, when
had 125 and
got his 100th on the final day of the season with a run-scoring triple. ... Tony Gwynn Jr. has no RBIs in 30 at-bats against
the Dodgers this season, and just two in 45 at-bats overall. His father had 90 RBIs against the Dodgers in 822 at-bats - all
with the Padres. ... Ramirez is 6 for 35 against the Padres this season with two homers and five RBIs in 12 games. He played
in nine games against them last season after joining the Dodgers at the non-waiver trading deadline, going 8-for-29 with five
homers and 14 RBIs.