Kemp's homer snaps Padres' skid in LA

Kemp's homer snaps Padres' skid in LA

LOS ANGELES -- Former Dodger Matt Kemp launched a towering three-run homer on an 0-2 pitch from Chris Hatcher with one out in the eighth inning to help the Padres snap a five-game losing streak on Friday night with a 5-1 win over the Dodgers, whose tailspin reached five straight losses.

"I had a chance to bury him, and I hung a splitter," said Hatcher. "It's very disappointing. I let 24 players down. Terrible execution."

Said Kemp: "I think anybody would [get extra satisfaction] playing against their old team, somewhere where they'd been so long. Honestly, I just felt like we needed that win as a team. That's the most important thing."

Kemp steals the show in Hollywood

San Diego grabbed a 1-0 lead when Kemp doubled off Dodgers lefty Alex Wood and was singled home by Melvin Upton Jr. in the fourth. That was the only run allowed by Wood, who struck out nine in seven innings.

Cesar Vargas, making his second Major League start for San Diego, turned in 5 1/3 scoreless innings, but the Dodgers finally got on the scoreboard when Padres manager Andy Green brought in lefty Brad Hand in the sixth to turn around switch-hitter Yasmani Grandal. Grandal homered right-handed to tie the game, 1-1.

Ryan Buchter, a former Dodgers Minor Leaguer, was credited with the win.

"Less than a week ago, we were feeling OK, but once we came home, the Marlins pitchers threw some good games," manager Dave Roberts said of the Dodgers scoring nine runs in their five straight losses. "I think the at-bat quality needs to get better."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bad choice: With the Dodgers trailing, 1-0, Grandal led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a line drive off the right-field fence, but Kemp cut down Grandal trying for second. One out later, Joc Pederson bunted for a single and Wood walked, but Chase Utley struck out. Grandal and Kemp swapped clubs in a trade during the 2014 Winter Meetings.

Kemp nabs Grandal

On the board: Kemp came half a foot from putting San Diego on top with a rocket double off the center-field wall in the fourth. No matter, Upton plated him one batter later with a single up the middle, and the Padres had a 1-0 lead and their first run against Los Angeles in 32 innings. For the Dodgers, it was their sixth-longest stretch of scoreless frames against a single opponent.

"They shut us out; we had a bad series," Kemp said of the Padres' sweep at the hands of the Giants. "It was good to come in here and get the first game, and hopefully we can feed off that and do the same thing tomorrow."

Upton Jr.'s RBI single

Wood doesn't give in: Wood's ability to stop the damage in the fourth inning kept the Dodgers in the game. After Upton's RBI single, Wood struck out Derek Norris, allowed another single up the middle to Alexei Ramirez, then got Adam Rosales on a flyout to right.

"Obviously, Kemp's a great player and he got a hold of one left over the middle," said Wood. "I thought I made a pretty good pitch to [Upton], but he got on it and got it up the middle, but for sure [limiting the damage] was important." More >

Wood fans nine over seven frames

That's all for Cesar: Green opted to go to his 'pen with one out in the sixth, after 5 1/3 scoreless frames and 90 pitches from Vargas. The young right-hander hadn't started a game since 2013 in the Minors before making his big league debut with an 88-pitch start on Saturday. Green's decision instantly backfired when Grandal took Hand deep to tie the score, 1-1.

"We thought he did his job," Green said. "I think last time we let him go through five at about the same number of pitches. He gave up a home run and then he walked [the Cardinals' Matt] Holliday that day. He hasn't started a lot, so the thought of pushing him up over 100 pitches right now is probably not in his best interest." More >

Vargas' scoreless start

QUOTABLE
"The main thing with him: It's a low heartbeat. He's relaxed on the mound, just like he's pitching back home in Mexico." -- Green, on Vargas

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
On more than half a dozen occasions this season, Green has tried to get a run home from third base with fewer than two outs by employing a safety squeeze. But Friday night marked the first time he's used a suicide squeeze, and it worked to perfection with Travis Jankowski plating Adam Rosales -- and actually reaching first on an infield single as well.

Only the Cubs, with three, have more RBIs on bunts than the Padres this season.

"It's difficult to score on Kenley Jansen," Green said. "I don't think anybody has done that so far this year. So you've got to take whatever opportunity you can to try to capitalize. Travis laid a bunt down nicely. Rosey broke at the right time."

Jankowski's RBI bunt single

AFTER FURTHER REVIEW
Green challenged the second out of an inning-ending double-play in the top of the first. Replays showed that Kemp's foot did indeed beat Utley's throw from second and the call was overturned, but Wood fanned the ensuing hitter, Upton, to end the frame.

Padres challenge call in the 1st

In the ninth, Green didn't have quite the same luck. He challenged when Jemile Weeks was ruled out at first on a sacrifice bunt. Replays showed that Weeks did not beat the throw and the call was allowed to stand.

Play stands in 9th

WHAT'S NEXT
Padres: Colin Rea takes the hill vs. the Dodgers at 6:10 p.m. PT on Saturday at Dodger Stadium. He'll be looking for a bit more efficiency with his pitch count. In three of his past four starts, the right-hander has needed at least 90 pitches to get through five innings or fewer.

Dodgers: Ross Stripling gets the start for the Dodgers, still looking for his first win as the club's fifth starter. Stripling is coming off a loss in Atlanta on Monday, when he allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings.

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AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.