The Dodgers put together a strong offensive showing for a second night in a row, and ended their road schedule on a winning note with an 8-4 win over the Padres on Thursday night at Petco Park.
The win moved the Dodgers to within three games of the idle Cardinals for the second wild card spot, with six games to play for both teams. The victory also put the Dodgers road record at 41-40, the first winning season for the Dodgers on the road since 2009.
Luis Cruz had three hits, including a two-run single to break open a close game in the fifth inning, turning a 2-0 Dodgers lead into a four-run advantage. He hit .389/.389/.500 on the nine-game road trip.
Matt Kemp had two doubles, giving him four extra-base hits in the last two nights, and scored two runs. Kemp hit .333/.381/.564 on the road trip. Kemp terrorized San Diego this season, hitting .406/.443/.813 with seven home runs, 20 RBI, and 16 runs scored in 15 games.
Adrian Gonzalez had two singles, drove in a run and scored twice. He has a nine-game hitting streak, during which he is hitting .378/.425/.568, and Gonzalez has four consecutive multi-hit games.
Nick Punto started his second straight game in place of the ill Mark Ellis, and went 2-for-5 with a walk from the leadoff spot. In his last 17 plate appearances Punto has reached base nine times and had two sacrifices, good for a .600 on-base percentage.
A.J. Ellis had a pair of RBI singles, showing signs of snapping out of his slump. Ellis suffered through an 0-for-30 slump that ended Sunday night in Cincinnati, but has now driven in at least one run in three straight games.
That all added up to 16 runs in two games for the Dodgers, the first time since their blockbuster trade with the Red Sox that they have scored more than four runs in back-to-back games.
Casey Kelly, a man once traded for Gonzalez, took the brunt of it for San Diego, allowing five runs in 4⅔ innings for the loss. He hit back-to-back batters in the fifth, his final two batters of the game, and both scored.
Chris Capuano walked four and struck out two, but managed to allow just one run in his 5⅔ innings, earning his 12th win of the season and his first victory since Aug. 12. The Dodgers went a full 20 games without a win from a starting pitcher, but have picked up two in the last two days.
The Dodgers return home for the final six games of the regular season, beginning with a weekend series against the Rockies at Dodger Stadium. Clayton Kershaw starts for the Dodgers on Friday night, facing Jeff Francis for Colorado.
Home Runs: none
WP - Chris Capuano (12-11): 5 1/3 IP, 5 hits, 1 run, 4 walks, 2 strikeouts
LP - Casey Kelly (2-3): 4 2/3 IP, 6 hits, 5 runs, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts