LOS ANGELES (AP) - The San Diego Padres had Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton on the ropes in the ninth inning - a run in and runners at first and third with two outs.
Up stepped Nick Hundley, who hit a line drive to left field that was hooking away from old pal Tony Gwynn Jr. But he fully extended himself with a dive to his backhand, and the ball stuck in his glove. Los Angeles escaped with a 3-2 victory, and Gwynn's former teammates ended up with their seventh loss in eight games.
``I knew he was in left after the double-switch,' Hundley said. ``He's a great outfielder. I've seen him do it for 2 1/2 years now, so it's definitely not surprising, but disappointing nonetheless.'
Gwynn, who didn't make an error in 117 games last year, spent two seasons with the Padres after being acquired from Milwaukee. The Dodgers signed him as a free agent in December.
``Right before that happened, I said, `Nothing drops,' and he made a great diving catch,' Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp said. ``When Tony gets in the game, he makes things happen. He can steal a base, he can get some hits and he can play great defense. So we're going to need him just as much as anybody else on this team. We're counting on a lot of guys to step up and do big things.'
Padres starter Clayton Richard (1-2) allowed two runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings. He came in 4-0 with a 2.48 ERA in six previous starts against the Dodgers, including his only big league shutout on Sept. 21 at Los Angeles.
Juan Uribe gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead in the fourth with his third homer, driving a 2-0 pitch to left-center. He started at third base in place of Casey Blake, put on the 15-day disabled list Friday because of a mysterious staph infection in his left elbow.
``I fell behind 2-0 and gave him the freedom to be aggressive,' Richard said. ``I mean, he's always aggressive, but he was even more aggressive with a 2-0 count. That was more of a hindrance than the pitch he hit. It was OK, location-wise.'
Andre Ethier extended his major league record for the longest April hitting streak to 25 games. He doubled with two outs in the fifth against Richard, a left-hander he had only one hit against in 15 career at_bats to that point.
``The first two at_bats he was pounding me in hard, and I was still looking for something out over the plate to hit,' Ethier said. ``He threw me a sinking fastball down and in, and I just happened to pull my hands in enough, put a good swing on it and put it out there with a little topspin over (first baseman Jorge) Cantu's head and luckily got a hit out of it.'
Kemp also homered for the Dodgers in their first home game since Commissioner Bud Selig hired former Texas Rangers president Tom Schieffer on Monday to monitor the day-to-day operations of the team. The move capped a tumultuous week that began with Major League Baseball taking control of the 122-year-old franchise from embattled owner Frank McCourt.
Ted Lilly (2-2) allowed a run and five hits over six innings before he was lifted for a pinch-hitter with a 2-1 lead and runners at second and third. The left-hander, whose run support since the start of last season is the lowest in the majors, struck out four and walked one while improving to 7-3 against the Padres.
Russell Mitchell batted for Lilly and drew a walk that loaded the bases. That was all for Richard, who was relieved by Ernesto Frieri. The right-hander escaped the jam by retiring Jamey Carroll on a grounder, but Kemp led off the seventh with his sixth homer to give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead.
Carroll led off the first inning with a double and scored on a grounder by Ethier. Hundley, who came in 0 for 13 against Lilly, tied it with an RBI single in the third after Chase Headley led off with a double and advanced on a balk. Hundley's hit snapped an 0-for-15 drought by the Padres with runners in scoring position.
NOTES: McCourt was spotted in the outfield pavilion seats mingling with fans during the game. ... Padres LHP Joe Thatcher, who hasn't pitched this season because of an injured left shoulder, is scheduled to undergo exploratory surgery Monday at Scripps Clinic in San Diego. ... Ethier is batting .396 during his hitting streak with 16 RBIs and three homers, including a game-deciding solo shot in the 10th inning on Wednesday at Florida. ... Plate umpire Brian Knight was shaken up briefly in the sixth when Uribe lost control of his bat while popping out to second base. The bat struck Knight in the head, but he stayed in the game.
The Associated Press News Service
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