Instead, a gutsy decision by the Padres has cost them that lead.
Los Angeles (48-41) entered the All-Star break losing 15 of 20, but the club still held a one-half game lead on San Francisco.
That's turned into a one-half game deficit for the Dodgers after blowing a two-run, eighth-inning lead in a 7-6 loss to the Padres (35-54) thanks to a strange and daring play.
Pinch-runner Everth Cabrera decided to steal home when Los Angeles closer Kenley Jansen turned his back walking on the mound. The closer hurriedly threw the ball over catcher A.J. Ellis and to the backstop, allowing Cabrera to score, and Will Venable followed from second on the error, giving the Padres the lead for good.
"We just got that big second strike on their guy and the crowd got fired up and really loud," Ellis said. "I had my head down and just made a mistake. I need to be more heads-up and pay more attention. You can never let your guard down. I've got to be more responsible there. So that was on me. We were one strike away from winning that game, and you've got to be ready for anything.
"It was a great heads-up play by Cabrera. I'm going to give him all the credit in the world."
Though the Dodgers had a 10-game home win streak against the Padres snapped, they have to be thrilled with what they've seen from Kemp and Ethier in this series.
Kemp has five hits in the first two games after missing 51 with a hamstring injury. He's hitting .444 with seven homers and 19 RBIs during a 14-game hitting streak against San Diego.
Ethier has a .484 average with five homers and 16 RBIs in his last nine home matchups with the Padres after getting three hits and four RBIs - two on a homer - Saturday. He went 0 for 2 and was hit by a pitch in a 2-1 victory to open this series Friday after returning from a strained left oblique that landed him on the disabled list earlier this month.
Capuano (9-4, 2.91 ERA) is coming off one of his worst outings in 2012, giving up season highs of five earned runs and nine hits in five innings of last Sunday's 7-1 loss to Arizona. He had allowed six runs over his previous 28 innings.
The left-hander has been brilliant at home, going 5-1 with a 1.83 ERA in nine starts. Capuano hasn't had nearly the same kind of success in two outings versus San Diego this year, going 0-1 with a 5.73 ERA and eight walks in 11 innings.
The Padres will counter with Jason Marquis (1-5, 3.71), who will try to win for the first time since June 13. The veteran right-hander is 0-4 with a 4.60 ERA in five starts since.
He took the loss again last Sunday, allowing three runs and two homers in five innings of a 4-2 defeat to Cincinnati.
He's lost his last three visits to Chavez Ravine behind a 5.79 ERA. However, he's held Kemp and Ethier to a combined 3 for 38.
|Tony Gwynn Jr.||14||.429||6||0||3||0||1||.400||.829||.429|
|San Diego Padres|
|July 04, 2012||Andrew Cashner||15-Day DL||Strained muscle in right side|
|June 21, 2012||Anthony Bass||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|June 10, 2012||Cameron Maybin||Day-to-Day||Left game - Sprained neck|
|June 04, 2012||Will Venable||Day-to-Day||Strained right oblique|
|June 04, 2012||Eric Stults||15-Day DL||Strained left latissimus dorsi muscle|
|May 31, 2012||Andy Parrino||15-Day DL||Sore right hand|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|July 05, 2012||Dee Gordon||15-Day DL||Right thumb UCL tear|
|July 04, 2012||Dee Gordon||Day-to-Day||Left game - Dislocated right thumb|
|July 03, 2012||Todd Coffey||15-Day DL||Right elbow soreness|
|June 28, 2012||Andre Ethier||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|June 28, 2012||Andre Ethier||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|June 03, 2012||Javy Guerra||15-Day DL||Right knee inflammation|
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Less than 24 hours after a game was literally stolen from them in the ninth inning, the Los Angeles Dodgers gave one away to the San Diego Padres with some costly errors that were converted into six unearned runs.
Cameron Maybin and Everth Cabrera scored the tying and go-ahead runs on third baseman Jerry Hairston Jr.'s second throwing error of the seventh inning, Chase Headley homered for the second straight game, and the Padres beat the Dodgers 7-2 on Sunday in the rubber game of the three-game series.
"We did take advantage of a few things, which was good to see, but we also had some good at-bats," manager Bud Black said. "A couple of big hits got us started, and then we capitalized on a couple of their mistakes and we kept adding on."
Jason Marquis (2-5) allowed two runs and six hits over six innings before he was lifted for a pinch-hitter during the Padres' pivotal three-run rally. The 33-year-old right-hander was making his eighth start since joining San Diego on May 29, the day after the Minnesota Twins granted him free agency.
"Marquis did a great job," Black said. "He was under the weather, battling stomach flu, and he didn't sleep well last night. But he really gutted it out on a day that he wasn't a hundred percent, physically. He stayed down in the tunnel between innings to cool off, but he hung in there."
Marquis was 0-4 with a 4.60 ERA in his previous five outings since June 13, when he threw 6 1-3 scoreless innings for the Padres in a 1-0 interleague victory at Seattle.
"I just tried to battle and conserve as much energy as possible so I'd have it when I needed it," Marquis said. "After sitting between innings, to get going again was the toughest part. I just tried to stick to the game plan, pound the bottom of the strike zone and get ahead."
Chris Capuano (9-5) was charged with four runs - all unearned - and five hits in 7 2-3 innings after the Dodgers' infield committed four errors behind him - all on poor throws. The left-hander, pitching on six days' rest because of the All-Star break, was bumped up a day in the rotation after Chad Billingsley was scratched with elbow soreness.
"I found out last night after the game. But if there was any time during the season that this was going to happen, this is the perfect time, because I was well-rested and ready to go," Capuano said.
"I wasn't perfect with my execution, but I felt like I made a pretty high percentage of my pitches."
Hairston's RBI single in the sixth gave Capuano a 2-1 lead, and he retired the first two batters in the seventh before Hairston gave the Padres life with his first error on a grounder by Maybin. Cabrera followed with a single, and a walk to John Baker loaded the bases.
Yasmani Grandal batted for Marquis, and Hairston backhanded his grounder down the line before his hurried throw sailed past first baseman James Loney as two runs scored.
"You hate to see that compound into costing your team the game. But it did," Hairston said. "Obviously I would have liked to get a better grip on the ball after popping back up on those plays. But playing third with those guys running down the line, sometimes you don't have that luxury. So you've just got to let it go and hope for the best.
"They don't call it the hot corner for nothing."
Josh Lindblom relieved Capuano after Hairston's second miscue, and Chris Denorfia singled home another run to give the Padres a 4-2 lead. Headley added his 10th homer leading off the eighth against Lindblom.
Andre Ethier gave Los Angeles a 1-0 lead against Marquis with a run-scoring single in the first. It increased his team-high RBI total to 60 in 78 games - just two fewer than he had in 135 games last season, when he missed the final 20 contests because of a knee injury that required surgery.
The Padres tied it in the fourth with another unearned run after Logan Forsythe and Headley opened the inning with singles. Carlos Quentin followed with a fielder's choice grounder to shortstop, but second baseman Mark Ellis threw wildly past first trying to complete a double play and Forsythe was able to score.
Reliever Jamey Wright committed the Dodgers' season-high fifth error of the game when he mishandled Alexi Amarista 's sacrifice bunt in the eighth. Mark Kotsay , who led off the inning with a double, scored on Quentin's sacrifice fly and Yonder Alonso followed with an RBI single. Both of those runs also were unearned.
NOTES: The Padres took two of three from the Dodgers after getting swept in each of their last three three-game series at Chavez Ravine. ... Dodgers CF Matt Kemp , who was 5 for 9 in his first two games off the disabled list, got the day off. ... With SS Dee Gordon on the disabled list, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly gave slumping 3B Juan Uribe his first start at short since May 4 of last season. ... Black inserted Denorfia and Forsythe at the top of his lineup card after Mattingly informed him of the change in starting pitchers. ... Ethier came in 1 for 21 against Marquis, but started his third straight game since coming off the DL and was 2 for 4 - including an infield single in the third.