SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Padres know this feeling well.
Fresh off an eight-game road trip during which they score at least six runs six times, the Padres faltered when they returned to Petco Park.
Yovani Gallardo struck out nine to win his third straight start and Mark Kotsay had three hits and two RBIs as the Milwaukee Brewers, the NL's worst road team, won 5-2 Wednesday night over the San Diego Padres.
Even with the win, the Brewers are only 8-16 on the road. The Padres dropped to 7-15 at Petco Park, the NL's worst home mark.
"This field plays different," Padres shortstop Jason Bartlett said. "You don't get any cheap hits here. You don't get any choppers. A lot of the fields we play on away, they have some hard fields and balls get through. We got some cheap ones. But here you have to earn your hits."
Once again, the Padres didn't get hits when they needed them.
"The timely hits are not where we need it to be. Simple as that," manager Bud Black said.
Kotsay, who was with the Padres from 2001-03, had an RBI single in the fourth and an RBI double in the sixth. Corey Hart also had three hits.
Although Ryan Ludwick hit a two-run homer in the fourth, the Padres settled back into their low-scoring ways at Petco Park. This was their first game back after scoring at least six runs six times while going 4-4 on a trip through Milwaukee, Colorado and Arizona.
Gallardo (5-2) held San Diego to two runs and five hits in six innings while walking three. John Axford pitched the ninth his 10th save in 12 chances. He allowed two singles with one out before striking out Chase Headley and Brad Hawpe to end it.
Ludwick's shot off Gallardo gave the Padres a 2-1 lead in the fourth. His eighth, it hit off the front of the lower balcony on the Western Metal Supply Co. brick warehouse in the left-field corner. Hawpe was aboard on a leadoff single.
The Brewers jumped ahead 3-2 in the sixth when five straight batters reached with one out. With runners on first and second, Kotsay hit a drive off the out-of-town scoreboard on the right field wall for an RBI double that tied the game. Yunisky Betancourt was intentionally walked to load the bases, and starter Dustin Moseley (1-6) made way for Ernesto Frieri. Frieri's first pitch grazed Jonathan Lucroy's jersey, bringing in the go-ahead run. Frieri struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
Milwaukee added two more in the seventh, on Ryan Braun's RBI double and Prince Fielder's RBI single. Kotsay got his third hit, a single, after reliever Luke Gregerson dropped a foul ball. It appeared that first baseman Hawpe's knee grazed Gregerson's head as he also went for the ball.
Moseley allowed three runs, two earned, on six hits in 5 1-3 innings. He struck out three and walked two.
The Brewers scored an unearned run in the fourth, on Kotsay's single.
NOTES: Former big league closer Trevor Hoffman, who's now working in San Diego's front office, and former Padres reliever Akinori Otsuka will sign autographs prior to Friday night's game between the Mariners and Padres to raise money for Japan disaster relief. According to the Padres, the tsunami stopped one mile from Otsuka's home. ... Ludwick has four homers and 13 RBIs in his last seven games. ... Bartlett failed to drive in a run for the first time in 10 games. He had tied the club record with an RBI in nine straight games.