Hu's tiebreaking RBI single in ninth lifts Dodgers, hands Hoffman second loss

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Trevor Hoffman's sluggish start this season is beginning to look a lot like the end of last year.

Hoffman was charged with his second loss in his last three games, allowing Chin-lung Hu's tiebreaking RBI single in the ninth inning of the Los Angeles Dodgers' 3-2 win over the San Diego Padres on Sunday.

Hoffman, baseball's career leader with 526 saves, also picked up the loss on Tuesday when he blew a save against Houston. He dropped to 0-2 with a 12.27 ERA in four games this season.

Hoffman had two blown saves in three games at the end of last season, including that epic 13-inning loss at Colorado on Oct. 1 in the wild-card tiebreaker game.

"I just have to start doing my job a little better and things will get even better," Hoffman said.

Hu's hit drove in Russell Martin, who led off the ninth with a walk and went to second on a groundout. Martin scored without a throw.

"I took the first pitch and he threw it down the middle," Hu said. "I was looking for [changeup] on the next pitch and I was ready for that."

Jonathan Broxton (1-0) pitched 1 1/3 innings for the win and Takashi Saito got three outs for his first save.

"He got inside of the pitch enough to keep it fair," Hoffman said. "It's a game of inches and I wasn't able to get the changeup down where he was going to swing over it."

The Dodgers took two of three from the Padres and continue their first road trip under new manager Joe Torre with three at Arizona starting Monday.

"It's great to come on the road and win a series, especially against a quality opponent," Torre said.

The Dodgers pushed across a run in the seventh to tie it at 2. Andre Ethier led off with a single, stole second and scored on Martin's double that fell between Scott Hairston and Jim Edmonds in left-center field.

Ethier made it 1-0 in the second inning with a leadoff home run against Chris Young. It was only the second homer this season for Los Angeles.

"The pitch to Ethier I didn't locate very well," Young said. "Then in the seventh, he had a tough at-bat and I thought I had him struck out. But he fouled off the ball. He was able to get a hit, you have to give him credit."

Young held the Dodgers to two runs and five hits in seven innings. He struck out eight, walked three and hit a batter with a pitch.

Derek Lowe pitched six innings for Los Angeles, allowing two runs and five hits. He finished with six strikeouts and one walk.

San Diego tied it in the third, but a base-running blunder by Brian Giles cost the Padres a run.

Giles hit a one-out double and went to third on Tadahito Iguchi's infield single that was knocked down by Hu at second base. But when Giles rounded too far around the base, Hu threw behind him and Giles was tagged out by Blake DeWitt. Adrian Gonzalez followed with an RBI double to right field.

"I was just trying to knock the ball down," Hu said. "I knew had I no chance at first base, but I saw that [Giles] went too far past third. If I made a good throw, I knew I had him."

Kevin Kouzmanoff drove in the Padres' other run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth.

Game notes
The home run Young gave up to Ethier equaled the total number of homers he allowed last season in 13 starts at spacious Petco Park covering 85 1/3 innings. ... Dodgers third-base coach Larry Bowa returned after serving a three-game suspension. Bowa was ejected Tuesday night after he ignored warnings from umpire crew chief Ed Montague not to leave the third base coaching box during a game against San Francisco. Bowa, who had to be restrained by Torre and bench coach Bob Schaefer, was suspended because he repeatedly bumped Torre into Montague as he argued. ... Umpire crew chief Tim Tschida missed the game with an inner ear infection.