Peavy, Padres hand reeling Dodgers eighth straight loss

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The San Diego Padres were thrilled about Jake Peavy's improved pitching and his run production. They were equally delighted at seeing Brad Penny and Kenny Lofton of the division-rival Los Angeles Dodgers bickering in the dugout.

Peavy helped himself on Wednesday with a homer, double and four RBI, winning his first game in almost two months as the NL West-leading Padres rolled to a 10-3 victory.

The Dodgers have lost eight straight, are 1-13 since the All-Star break and have been outscored 81-29 during this stretch. They are eight games under .500 (47-55) and a season-worst 7½ games out of first place in Grady Little's first season as manager.

"No doubt about it, they're struggling right now," Peavy said. "And then you see some team dissension with what happened in the dugout today, and you really want to take advantage when you can. Today was a good win for the boys, coming in here and sweeping this team. That puts them in a bad position -- 7½ out with two months to go.

"They've got a lot of injuries, and that's tough to see. Grady Little's a good manager, so I think these guys will bounce out of it. But it was good for us to take advantage of it while we could," Peavy said.

Penny, who has lost all three outings since starting the All-Star Game, lost his cool on another oppressively hot day at Dodger Stadium after giving up four runs in the third inning on six consecutive hits. He got into it with Lofton, barking at the 16-year outfielder and pointing his finger at him as coaches and teammates got in between them.

"I overreacted," Penny said. "I was really mad. I was frustrated. People who know me know that I wear my emotions on my sleeve when I'm out there. That's the only way I can pitch -- to be emotional. If I'm not, I'm not going to be the pitcher I am."

Penny eventually patched things up with Lofton, the same way he did with Little after throwing a cooler-bashing tantrum in the dugout on May 29 in Atlanta when Little pulled him with a lead just two outs from the required five innings needed for a win.

"It's just frustration," Lofton said. "It's over with. When you're going through a losing streak, tempers will flare."

Peavy (5-10) threw 129 pitches over seven innings, allowing two runs and five hits with eight strikeouts and three walks. The right-hander came in 0-5 with a 6.61 ERA in eight starts since beating St. Louis 10-8 on May 28. A simple adjustment like pitching from the third base side of the rubber helped him considerably.

"I'm not pressing because things haven't been going the way I wanted. I go out there every day and give it 100 percent," Peavy said. "Some days it's been good and other days it hasn't. But I know I'm capable of doing what I did today -- and that's giving them a quality chance to win."

Adrian Gonzalez extended his hitting streak to 17 games with his 19th home run for San Diego. Dave Roberts had two RBI doubles and Brian Giles also drove in two runs, helping the Padres win their fourth straight after four consecutive losses.

Penny (10-5) allowed six runs and nine hits in five innings before he was lifted for a pinch hitter. It might have been worse for the right-hander had it not been for three double-play grounders.

Penny threw 26 pitches in the Padres' four-run third before recording an out. He surrendered hits to his first six batters, including consecutive doubles by Josh Barfield, Peavy and Roberts. Peavy's drive into the left field corner drove in San Diego's first two runs. He scored on Roberts' hit, and Giles capped the rally with an RBI single.

The Padres made it 6-1 in the fourth when Geoff Blum doubled inside first base and Peavy drove his second career home run into the lower seats in the left-field corner.

Peavy has seven hits in 36 at-bats this season, including his first career home run on July 5 at Philadelphia. His eight RBI equal what he had in 200 at-bats before this season.

"It was a good day all around," Peavy said. "We work on our hitting and we take pride in going up there and helping yourself by putting the ball in play. Penny throws awfully hard -- so if you put the barrel of the bat on it, it'll go because he creates a lot of your power."

Gonzalez, who hit in 17 consecutive games from May 17 to June 9, is the first player with two streaks of 17 or more games for San Diego since 1997, when Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn had streaks of 19 and 20 games.

Game notes
Padres center fielder Mike Cameron bruised his knee trying to break up a double play in the seventh and was replaced by Termell Sledge. ... The Padres are 5-0 at Dodger Stadium this season, matching their best win total at Chavez Ravine since 2001 (7-2). They return for a three-game set beginning Sept. 15. ... Los Angeles finished last season 11 games out of first place and 19 games under .500. ... The Padres have swept four series of three or more games, one against Washington and the other two against the Chicago Cubs.