Padres beat Dodgers to vault past Giants

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The San Diego Padres moved into first place in the National League West with a 3-1 victory over the struggling Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.

Tim Stauffer pitched six innings and allowed just one run to lead the Padres half a game in front of the San Francisco Giants, who lost 2-0 to the Chicago Cubs.

Stauffer, who began the year in the bullpen, struck out five batters and surrendered only three hits.

Heath Bell came on in the ninth and picked up his 43rd save of the season.

"It was a big win, a good team win," Stauffer told reporters. "I'm happy with how I'm throwing the ball. I feel comfortable mechanically out there."

Miguel Tejada put San Diego in front with a two-run home run in the third inning, the 300th of his career.

Tejada broke a 1-1 tie with his blast and was greeted in the dugout by his teammates who congratulated him on the milestone.

The win was San Diego's sixth straight over the Dodgers (73-79) as they try to reclaim a post-season berth.

The Padres (85-66) were on top of the NL West by 6.5 games on August 25, but have since slumped to fall into a heated race with the Giants (85-67).

Los Angeles were eliminated from playoff contention on Tuesday and have lost six of their last seven games.

Starter Ted Lilly tossed seven innings and struck out eight but received little help from his offense.

The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the second but have scored just once over their last two games.

"You have to give (San Diego) a lot of credit," said Los Angeles manager Joe Torre. "You can't discount what they've done all year with their pitchers. At the same time we have to get more from our offense."

(Editing by Ian Ransom)