SAN DIEGO (AP) -- All it took was one start this season for San Diego's Randy Wolf to know he was back.
Wolf, who signed with the Padres as a free agent, has rebounded nicely from offseason shoulder surgery and has become a stabilizing force for the Padres.Wolf combined with two relievers on a five-hitter, and rookie Edgar Gonzalez and Khalil Greene hit solo homers to lead San Diego to a 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night.Wolf (5-4) had his fifth straight outstanding start where he allowed two runs or fewer, giving up four hits in seven innings."(The worries) all went away after the first (start) of the season after I pitched pretty well against Houston," said Wolf, who made 18 starts for the Dodgers last season. "After that, it was no worry at all. Once I was out there, it alleviated any question marks I had in my head."The left-hander has helped stabilize San Diego's beleaguered rotation that has seen its top two pitchers -- reigning Cy Young winner Jake Peavy and 2007 All-Star Chris Young -- land on the disabled list. Add No. 5 starter Shawn Estes to the injured list, and much of the responsibility has fallen onto the shoulders of Wolf and 42-year-old Greg Maddux."He and Mad Dog have been anchors since we started the season," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Very solid in character, personality and attitude since Day 1."Gonzalez, the older brother of Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, homered in the first inning off Chad Billingsley for the first as a major leaguer. A career minor leaguer who made his major league debut on May 12, Gonzalez turns 30 on Saturday."It was a bad pitch on my part," Billingsley said about the 2-1 fastball.Greene connected on a 1-1 pitch with two outs in the second to put San Diego ahead 2-0.The win gave the Padres their fifth win in six games."I finally got a smile from Adrian," said Edgar, whose home run ball was retrieved by Padres relievers when it bounced off the signs on the left-field upper deck into the bullpen in left-center. "He gave me a fist and he had a big smile, so I knew he was excited."Gonzalez has taken over at second base for Tadahito Iguchi, who separated his right shoulder on May 5 against New York. In his brief time in the majors, Gonzalez is hitting .296 and playing a solid second base."I feel like the more I play, the more comfortable I get and the more the game starts to slow down," he said."Edgar has had some very solid at-bats in the big leagues," Black said. "I'm happy to see it. It's a long time for him to get here. It's great to see him doing very well."Heath Bell pitched a perfect eighth and Trevor Hoffman threw the ninth for his 15th save in 18 chances and career save No. 539.Bell came back one game after he allowed Russell Martin's bases-loaded single in the eighth inning that put the Dodgers ahead to stay en route to a 7-2 win.Wolf won his third straight decision in his last five starts. During that span, he has a 1.90 ERA and the Padres have won four of five starts -- the only loss coming 4-3 in 10 innings on Sunday at San Francisco, when Wolf allowed one run and four hits in six innings."You hate to say that he's a typical left-hander since he throws 90-plus," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "But the fact that he can locate and throw 90 but he's also not afraid to throw the change up."Billingsley (4-7) gave up four runs and eight hits over seven innings.Los Angeles reached Wolf for its only run on Andy LaRoche's homer, his first, in the fourth that cut the lead to 3-1. LaRoche was playing his first game since being recalled by the Dodgers on Tuesday from Triple-A Las Vegas.Wolf escaped one of the few jams he faced in the sixth after Delwyn Young lead off with a double and went to third on a ground out. Wolf then got Martin on a hard grounder to third, which froze Young, and struck Matt Kemp."Today was a pretty clean game," Black said. "If that was his challenge, he held them off."Wolf tied his season high with nine strikeouts and walked one.Wolf helped his own cause in the third with a leadoff single. After Edgar Gonzalez singled him to second with one out, Adrian Gonzalez drove him in with a single to right for a 3-0 lead.Jody Gerut added an RBI single in the seventh.
RHP Jake Peavy is scheduled to come off the DL Thursday and start against the Dodgers. Manager Bud Black said he will be limited to around 90 pitches. ... The switch-hitting LaRoche started at first base in place of left-handed James Loney, who has a nine-game hitting streak.