LOS ANGELES – Kevin Correia and four relievers combined on San Diego's 5-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday night, and the NL West-leading Padres salvaged a split of the four-game series.
The Padres, who struggled the last two games against Los Angeles starters Ted Lilly and Vicente Padilla, restored their two-game lead over the San Francisco Giants, who lost in Atlanta on Thursday. They lead the Dodgers by the same eight-game margin they held over the two-time defending division champions when they arrived in Los Angeles.
Correia (8-7) allowed four hits over 5 2-3 innings and did not strike out a batter in his 100th major league start.
Ryan Theriot singled his first two times up, the Dodgers' only hits off Correia until Scott Podsednik's broken-bat single with one out in the sixth.
Andre Ethier chased Correia one out later with a single, but Joe Thatcher retired James Loney on a fly ball. Thatcher has allowed only one of 25 inherited runners to score this season.
Ernesto Frieri pitched the seventh, extending his streak of scoreless innings from the start of his career to 10 1-3 spanning 11 appearances. Luke Gregerson gave up two two-out singles in the eighth before Heath Bell got the final four outs to get his 31st save in 34 attempts. It was third save of more than an inning.
The Padres lowered their major league-leading ERA to 3.28. Their bullpen leads the majors with a 2.79 mark.
San Diego's final two runs came in the ninth against reliever Octavio Dotel, when Chris Denorfia was credited with an inside-the-park two-run homer after a walk to Tony Gwynn Jr. Denorfia hit a line drive down the left field line and into foul territory, where the ball skipped past Podsednik.
Correia, a notorious flyball pitcher who surrendered 10 home runs over in his previous eight starts, was pitching in the right ballpark this time as Loney, Matt Kemp and Casey Blake all flied out to the warning track. Loney's bid for a tying three-run homer in the fourth was caught by right fielder Ryan Ludwick.
Los Angeles starter Chad Billingsley (9-6) gave up three runs and seven hits over six innings.
In his previous start last Saturday at San Francisco, Billingsley pitched on three days' rest because of Clayton Kershaw's suspension and held the Giants to two hits in 6 2-3 scoreless innings, leaving with a 1-0 lead. But closer Jonathan Broxton gave up a go-ahead two-run homer to Pat Burrell in the eighth while attempting a four-out save.
Billingsley extended his scoreless innings streak to 25 before San Diego grabbed a 3-0 lead in the fourth. Chase Headley and Adrian Gonzalez hit consecutive RBI singles and Gwynn added a sacrifice fly.
The runs snapped a 20-inning drought by the Padres stretching back to Miguel Tejada's solo homer in the first inning of their 2-1 loss on Tuesday night. They also went 20 consecutive innings without a run against the Dodgers earlier this season.
NOTES: Ethier's single off Gregerson ended a string of 21 consecutive left-handed batters retired by the right-hander. Ethier took over at 1B in the ninth after a double switch — his first big-league appearance at that position. ... RHP Ronald Belisario, who has been on the restricted list since July 7 because of personal reasons that remain secret, threw 25 pitches in a simulated game at Dodger Stadium. He is scheduled to make a minor-league rehab appearance Saturday, and may be back in the bullpen within the next two weeks. ... The only time the Padres have lost three straight games this season was when the Dodgers swept them in May at Los Angeles.