Which meant more bad news for George Sherrill and more for the Dodgers, the Padres pulling out a 3-2 victory Thursday when .230-hitting Oscar Salazar bounced a game-winning single up the middle in the ninth inning.
So a series that the Dodgers hoped would launch them back into the National League West race, instead pushed them just further back.
With the victory, the Padres took two in the three-game series and left the Dodgers seven games back in the National League West.
A Padres team with one of baseball’s least impressive lineups but its best bullpen raised its record to an N.L. best 60-40.
The bullpens had been matching zeros all afternoon when the beleaguered Sherrill came in to pitch the ninth.
Jerry Hairston Jr. immediately drilled a single off the arm of a diving Casey Blake at third. After a Tony Gwynn sacrifice bunt moved Hairston to second, the weak-hitting Salazar hit for the even weaker-hitting Everth Cabrera (.199).
Salazar, who’s bounced around the majors since 2002 but had only 60 career RBI, bounced his hit right up the middle to score Hairston with the winning run.
A Dodgers offense that is barely averaging two runs in its 14 games since the All-Star break had failed again. One day after managing only four hits, they came back Thursday with only three.
The Padres opened the scoring in the first inning off Vicente Padilla after putting runners on first and second on singles by Hairston and, despite that exaggerated defensive shift, Adrian Gonzalez.
Chase Headley’s one-out single scored Hairston.
James Loneyimmediately got the run back, however, when he led off the second against Matt Latos with his eighth home run of the year.
It remained a cozy 1-1 affair until Padilla walked Headley to lead off the fourth and Yorvit Torrealba doubled him home.
Padilla, who was 2-1 with a 0.98 ERA in four July starts, pitched out of further trouble but had extended himself.
He had already thrown 90 pitches after the four innings, so when the Dodgers put two on with walks and one out against Latos in the fifth, Garret Anderson pinch hit for him.
Which turned out to be a good thing, the struggling Anderson slicing a run-scoring double to left to tie the game at 2-2.
And that’s how the game was left when both Padilla and Latos left the game.
Padilla allowed his two runs on four hits and two walks, with five strikeouts. Latos gave up his two runs on two hits and three walks in five innings, with seven strikeouts.
And then it fell to the bullpens.
For the Dodgers, James McDonald threw two scoreless innings, Kenley Jansen one (though he did allow his first hit) and Hong-Chih Kuo one (though he allowed his first hit to a left-handed batter, Gonzalez, in 37 at-bats) before it fell to Sherrill.
The Padres got scoreless frames from Joe Thatcher, Ryan Webb, Luke Gregerson and Heath Bell.
-- Steve Dilbeck