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Williams, Hernandez spark Padres past Dodgers

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Woody Williams muscled one pitch after
another at the Los Angeles Dodgers. His location was off, causing
him to fall behind in the count.

Still, Williams threw key pitches when he needed them and held
the Dodgers hitless through five innings, helping the San Diego
Padres to a 3-1 victory Friday night.

Williams (8-11) allowed one run and two hits in 5 2-3 innings,
struck out six and walked five for his second straight win and only
his second in 11 starts.

"It was kind of a strange night," he said. "I threw a lot of
balls that weren't very close, but I threw some good ones, too. I
was fortunate that none of the walks really hurt me. Usually that's
a big problem for me."

Ramon Hernandez homered in a three-run fourth and the Padres won
their third straight to remain seven games ahead of San Francisco
in the NL West.

"We've been grinding and playing a little bit better as of
late," Williams said. "It's very important that we get consistent
right now."

The Dodgers dropped into fourth place behind Arizona by a
percentage point.

"We have two more days and we have to look at it as though
tomorrow and Sunday are games that we have to win," manager Jim
Tracy said.

Williams' no-hit bid was broken up in the sixth with Jeff Kent's
one-out single to left field on Williams' 99th pitch. After
retiring Olmedo Saenz, the right-hander gave up a run-scoring
single to Jose Cruz Jr., making it 3-1, and was replaced by Rudy
Seanez.

"I'd rather give up a hit than all those walks," Williams
said. "It does no one good. It puts the defense on their heels.
When you do need to make a play, it may hinder your chances of
getting out of an inning."

Jason Phillips singled off Seanez, putting runners at first and
third, but Seanez retired Dioner Navarro on a fly to right to end
the inning.

"We got a number of hits last year with two outs in some big
situations, and two-out base hits with runners in scoring position
can make a heck of a difference with any ballclub," Tracy said.
"We just haven't even, in my opinion, gotten our fair share of
those. We haven't been able to come up with big hits
consistently."

Seanez pitched one inning, Chris Hammond got the last out in the
seventh and Akinori Otsuka worked the eighth. Trevor Hoffman got
Jayson Werth to foul out with two men on to finish the five-hitter
and earn his 37th save, including 34th in a row.

"It's nice to start this trip like this," Padres manager Bruce
Bochy said. "We had some good at-bats to get the walks."

The Padres took a 3-0 lead in the fourth. Hernandez led off with
a homer off D.J. Houlton (5-9). Houlton retired the next two
batters before giving up three consecutive hits, including
run-scoring doubles to Ben Johnson and Mark Loretta.

"You can put all the blame on my shoulders," Houlton said. "I
was just throwing way too many pitches all night and I couldn't get
ahead of guys. I feel like I let everyone down. I had two outs when
two of those runs came in. It's real disappointing."

San Diego loaded the bases in the first and second, but Houlton
escaped the jams by getting grounders to end both innings.

"I felt like I was going after them enough, but I was just
missing my spots," he said.

Houlton gave up five runs and five hits in 3 2-3 innings, walked
five and struck out one in losing his second straight.

Game notes
RHP Clay Hensley will start for San Diego on Saturday. ...
The Padres have never had a no-hitter. ... Williams improved to 3-4
on the road. ... San Diego RF Brian Giles walked twice and has 103
-- tops in the majors. ... Friday was the 40th anniversary of the
only perfect game by a Dodger in franchise history. Hall of Famer
Sandy Koufax retired all 27 Chicago Cubs on Sept. 9, 1965, and Lou
Johnson had the only hit and run in a 1-0 victory at Dodger
Stadium.