Kenley Jansen and the Dodgers were one strike away from escaping a ninth-inning jam against the San Diego Padres.
Then Everth Cabrera caught them napping for just a second.
The Padres' pinch-runner stole home to tie the game with two out in the ninth inning and Will Venable followed him to the plate with the winning run when Jansen threw the ball past catcher A.J. Ellis, leading the Padres to a 7-6 victory and ending the Dodgers' 10-game home winning streak against San Diego.
"It was a great heads-up play by Cabrera. I'm going to give him all the credit in the world," Ellis said. "He just found the right opportunity and made a play for his team. It all happened real fast. He's a high-energy player who's always active on the basepaths."
Yonder Alonso and Venable sparked the winning rally with consecutive singles, putting runners on the corners with none out. Jansen then struck out Cameron Maybin at the end of a grueling 11-pitch at-bat and retired pinch-hitter Mark Kotsay on a popup after Venable stole second.
"It was a great at-bat by Maybin, and it looked as though Jansen was going to wiggle out of it after getting Kotsay," Padres manager Bud Black said.
Alexi Amarista worked the count to 2-2, and Cabrera saw an opening while Jansen kicked the dirt in front of the rubber a couple of times with his back turned away from third. He dashed for home and a stunned Jansen threw the ball all the way to the screen, allowing the go-ahead run to score.
"I'd rather have it happen now than in September or October. It's all a learning experience for me," Jansen said. "Dirt got stuck in my shoe and I can't pitch like that. I didn't think to call a timeout."
Plate umpire Greg Gibson immediately called Cabrera out, but changed the call once he noticed Ellis didn't have the ball.
It was the second heads-up play that decided a Padres-Dodgers game at Chavez Ravine this season. On April 15, Ellis started an around-the-horn triple play against the Padres in the ninth inning after Jesus Guzman backed away from a high and tight pitch and the ball hit his bat and landed in front of the plate.
The baserunners stayed put, thinking it was a foul ball — as did Guzman. But plate umpire Dale Scott did not make any gesture that the ball was foul, and Ellis seized the moment. The Dodgers ended up winning that game 5-4 on Dee Gordon's single in the bottom half.
But on this occasion, Ellis took full responsibility for what happened to the Dodgers and refused to put the blame on Jansen.
"We just got that big second strike on their guy and the crowd got fired up and really loud," Ellis said. "I had my head down and just made a mistake. I need to be more heads-up and pay more attention. You can never let your guard down. I've got to be more responsible there. So that was on me. We were one strike away from winning that game, and you've got to be ready for anything."
Alex Hinshaw (1-1) recorded two outs to get the victory, ending the Padres' 10-game losing streak at Dodger Stadium. All-Star Huston Street worked a perfect ninth for his 14th save in 14 attempts.
Jansen (4-3) ended up with his fourth blown save opportunity in 20 chances and wasting four RBIs by Andre Ethier in the right fielder's second game off the disabled list — including a tiebreaking two-run homer and a pair of RBI singles.
Aaron Harang allowed four runs, three earned, and four hits over seven innings against his former team, including a two-run homer by Chase Headley and a solo shot by Carlos Quentin — the first time this season that the Padres' 3-4 hitters, homered in the same game.
After Headley's homer tied the score 4-all in the sixth, the NL West leaders responded in the bottom half against rookie reliever Brad Brach. Matt Kemp reached on a two-out infield single for his fifth hit in eight at-bats since coming off the DL, and Ethier sent his 11th homer to right-center.
Ronald Belisario relieved Harang and yielded a two-out RBI single to Carlos Quentin in the eighth.
Padres starter Edinson Volquez threw 111 pitches over five innings, giving up four runs, eight hits and four walks while striking out six. The right-hander has walked three or more batters in each of his last 11 starts — one short of the Padres' club record in one season, set by Dave Freisleben in 1974.
Quentin hit a leadoff homer to center field in the fourth, his eighth this season, but the Dodgers got that run back in the fifth on Adam Kennedy's RBI double.
Kennedy started at third base in place of Juan Uribe, who is mired in a 1-for-33 slump and has only five home runs in 401 at-bats with the Dodgers — after hitting a career-high 24 in 2010 with San Francisco.
NOTES: Dodgers RHP Javy Guerra was placed on the bereavement list and returned to his native Mexico, where his father had a heart attack Friday night. RHP Josh Wall, who has yet to appear in a big league game, was promoted from Triple-A Albuquerque to fill the roster spot. ... Volquez came in with the worst run support in the majors when he is in the game (2.52). This was the eighth time in his 19 starts that the Padres scored more than two runs, but his record in those games is 3-3 with two no-decisions.