Padres blank Dodgers, end Billingsley's scoreless innings streak at 25

LOS ANGELES -- Kevin Correia and four relievers turned the tables on the Los Angeles Dodgers after two suffocating performances by starters Ted Lilly and Vicente Padilla against the San Diego Padres.

Correia allowed four hits over 5 2/3 innings in a 5-0 victory Thursday night and did not strike out a batter in his 100th major league start.

"I didn't really have a good strikeout pitch -- an off-speed pitch. But I was locating well enough and my slider was better than it's been," Correia said. "I moved the ball around enough and changed speeds just enough just to keep them from hitting it on the barrel too often. I got a good mix of ground balls when I needed them and a couple of fly balls that just missed."

Correia, a notorious fly-ball pitcher who surrendered 10 home runs over his previous eight starts, was pitching in the right ballpark this time, as James Loney, Matt Kemp and Casey Blake all flied out to the warning track. Loney's bid for a tying three-run homer in the fourth was caught by right fielder Ryan Ludwick.

"He kept the ball down and he was persistent," Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier said. "He might give up a hit or a walk, but he's still going to pound the zone down and does a good job of that. He wasn't going to get out of his game plan, and he made some of our guys get out of their game plan. I had a tough time getting the ball up in the air."

Ryan Theriot singled his first two times up, the Dodgers' only hits off Correia until Scott Podsednik's broken-bat single with one out in the sixth. Ethier chased Correia one out later with a single, but Joe Thatcher retired Loney on a fly ball.

"When you know the guys coming in behind you are as good as they are, it definitely helps," Correia said. "You don't like coming out of the game early. But when your bullpen's that good, you have a lot of confidence that you'll get that win, rather than coming out early and thinking: 'I hope these guys are going to get it done.' You know they're going to get it done."

Thatcher has allowed only one of 25 inherited runners to score this season.

"You look at his overall year, he's been very solid and he's pitching with a lot of confidence," manager Bud Black said. "We've thrown Joe in a lot of those situations, so I think he's as comfortable as anyone because that's what he does. More often than not, I would give the ball to Joe in that spot."

Ernesto Frieri pitched the seventh, extending his streak of scoreless innings from the start of his career to 10 1/3 spanning 11 appearances. Luke Gregerson gave up two two-out singles in the eighth before Heath Bell got the final four outs to get his 31st save in 34 attempts. It was third save of more than an inning, but he gave most of the credit to the guys who preceded him.

"One of our goals coming out of spring training was to be the best bullpen out there," Bell said. "I think our whole bullpen's been pretty solid. You could pretty much hand the ball over to anybody on any given night and they'll get the job done."

The Padres lowered their major league-leading ERA to 3.28. Their bullpen leads the majors with a 2.79 mark.

The Padres salvaged a split of the four-game series and restored their two-game lead over the San Francisco Giants, who lost in Atlanta on Thursday. They lead the Dodgers by the same eight-game margin they held over the two-time defending division champions when they arrived in Los Angeles.

Correia lost consecutive outings in May against the Dodgers.

"I feel like I've thrown pretty well against these guys for the most part this year, so it was nice to finally get a win out of it," Correia said. "It's a big game in a four-game series when you've lost two of them. But they didn't gain any ground with the split, so that's good for us."

Los Angeles starter Chad Billingsley (9-6) gave up three runs and seven hits over six innings. He extended his scoreless innings streak to 25 before San Diego grabbed a 3-0 lead in the fourth. Chase Headley and Adrian Gonzalez hit consecutive RBI singles and Tony Gwynn Jr. added a sacrifice fly.

The runs snapped a 20-inning drought by the Padres stretching back to Miguel Tejada's solo homer in the first inning of their 2-1 loss on Tuesday night. They also went 20 consecutive innings without a run against the Dodgers earlier this season.

San Diego's final two runs came in the ninth against reliever Octavio Dotel, when Chris Denorfia was credited with an inside-the-park two-run homer after a walk to Gwynn. Denorfia hit a line drive down the left field line and into foul territory, where the ball skipped past Podsednik.

Game notes
Ethier's single off Gregerson ended a string of 21 consecutive left-handed batters retired by the right-hander. Ethier took over at 1B in the ninth after a double switch -- his first big league appearance at that position. ... RHP Ronald Belisario, who has been on the restricted list since July 7 because of personal reasons that remain secret, threw 25 pitches in a simulated game at Dodger Stadium. He is scheduled to make a minor league rehab appearance Saturday and might be back in the bullpen within the next two weeks.