Pinch-hitter Andre Ethier delivered a clutch two-run single with two outs in the seventh off Jon Garland to give the Los Angeles Dodgers a 2-0 win over the NL West-leading San Diego Padres on Tuesday night.
Ethier didn't start in right field due to a stomach bug but manager Joe Torre had him bat for Chad Billingsley with the bases loaded and the rivals locked in a scoreless tie. Ethier singled up the middle to bring in Blake DeWitt and Garret Anderson.
The opener of the three-game series was the first of seven games between the Dodgers and Padres in 10 days. The Dodgers came into the game in third place, six games behind the Padres. LA has won five of six against the Padres this year and four straight at Petco Park. The Dodgers improved to 25-8 against the West, the best intra-division record in baseball.
It was Los Angeles' 11th shutout. The Padres have been blanked five times. Each team had just five hits.
Garland (9-7) retired James Loney and Casey Blake in the seventh before allowing consecutive singles to DeWitt and Anderson. Russell Martin was intentionally walked with Billingsley coming up. Torre had Ethier pinch-hit, and he drove a 1-1 pitch up the middle to give the Dodgers the lead.
Billingsley (9-5) held the Padres to three singles in six scoreless innings, struck out four and walked two. Jonathan Broxton pitched a perfect ninth for his 20th save in 23 chances.
He got into a bases-loaded jam by allowing three straight singles to open the fourth, then got out of it just as quickly. Adrian Gonzalez was forced at home on Will Venable's grounder to second, Tony Gwynn Jr. popped up to shortstop and Everth Cabrera took a called third strike. Billingsley improved to 10-4 lifetime against San Diego, his most wins against any team.
The Dodgers had runners on first and second with no outs in the sixth before Garland retired the top of the order. He got Rafael Furcal to fly out before striking out Xavier Paul, subbing for Ethier in right, and Matt Kemp.
Garland allowed two runs and five hits in 6 2-3 innings, struck out five and walked two.
NOTES: Former big leaguer Dave Roberts, a special assistant for the Padres, says he's encouraged after finishing chemotherapy for Hodgkin's lymphoma. He said a PET scan was clean. Roberts has three weeks of radiation treatment scheduled for August. "Mentally I see a light at the end of the tunnel. Chemo was taxing but the support I've received is very humbling and it has been great to have. I see the end is near and that's encouraging," Roberts said. ... San Diego's Yorvit Torrealba singled in the fourth to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. ... Boxer Shane Mosley threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Padres setup man Mike Adams, on the disabled list with a strained left oblique, threw a bullpen session.