They could have simply coasted off another strong performance from their rapidly improving ace, Clayton Kershaw, but instead they got in their own way and needed to score two in the eighth to pull it out.
How it happened: Kershaw is on another June roll, with Friday's outing his fourth strong start in a row. In the first inning, Justin Upton hit a line drive that, according to Statcast, left the bat at 107 mph. It hit Kershaw on the left hip. He got up and tried to cover first base to no avail but stood for a while after that, seemingly waiting for the pain to subside. He was able to stay in the game and -- after walking Matt Kemp -- showed few ill effects the rest of the evening. Kershaw struck out 11 batters over 6 2/3 innings, with his three-pitch mix back to devastating effect. Kershaw got strikeouts with all three pitches, including a 95-mph fastball to get Kemp and a 74-mph curveball to get Melvin Upton Jr. The Padres didn't score until Clint Barmes hit a home run to left with one out in the seventh.
All of Kershaw's work came unraveled in the seventh inning and he had to watch it from the dugout. The Dodgers dropped an infield pop-up that cost Kershaw a win. Wil Myers hit it and catcher A.J. Ellis appeared to lose sight of it. Justin Turner, playing first base since Adrian Gonzalez had been ejected, called for it at the last second but bumped into pitcher Yimi Garcia and dove, but the ball dropped five feet beyond his reach. Derek Norris pummeled Garcia's next pitch off the brick wall beyond left field for a two-run home run.
The Dodgers quickly rallied off a good San Diego bullpen, though they might have had more if not for poor base running. Howie Kendrick led off the eighth by slicing a drive into the right-field corner. Kemp made a good throw to second and might have had Kendrick, but the ball ricocheted off him as he was diving into the bag and trickled into left field. Kendrick scrambled to his feet and took third. He scored on Turner's single to center. Andre Ethier singled. Then, after Jimmy Rollins pulled back on a bunt attempt, Norris picked Turner off second. After a walk, pinch hitter Alex Guerrero drove in Ethier on a bloop single to center, but Ellis was thrown out at third to end the inning.
Kenley Jansen struck out the side in the ninth.
What it means: It was a fairly embarrassing late-inning performance, but the Dodgers still have San Diego's number. They improved to 7-3 this year against the Padres.
Notable: Rollins is in another slump and you have to wonder how much longer the Dodgers will tolerate his lack of production with top prospect Corey Seager just a call away at Triple-A Oklahoma City. Rollins went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and is in a 3-for-31 slump, his batting average now right at .200. ... Gonzalez was ejected by plate umpire Doug Eddings after grounding into an inning-ending double play in the seventh. ... Turner returned from a few days off because of a bruised left knee and singled and scored a run, running hard from second base on Ellis' single to left, in the fourth inning. ... Ellis has had a rough season at the plate, but he picked up a couple of hits and just his third RBI of the season. ... Joc Pederson stole 30 bases in Triple-A last season, but he has yet to perfect the art in the major leagues. Norris threw Pederson out trying to steal in the first inning. The Dodgers' rookie center fielder has two steals and has been caught five times.
Up next: Since he picked up his last win on May 5, Zack Greinke (5-1, 1.92 ERA) has pitched to a 2.29 ERA and held opponents to a .243 batting average. He will be looking for a little bit more good fortune as the Dodgers continue the series Saturday night at 7:10 p.m. PT. They'll be facing a familiar opponent: San Diego right-hander Ian Kennedy (3-5, 6.48 ERA).