LOS ANGELES -- The state of cleanliness of Jake Peavy's hands proved inconsequential on Friday, though the same certainly couldn't be said for the way he cautiously navigated his way through the Dodgers' lineup without his best stuff.
"I didn't have anything, really," Peavy said.
But as it turns out, that didn't preclude the reigning Cy Young Award winner of still being successful, as evidenced by the six difficult innings he threw that went a long way to the Padres' 7-5 victory over the Dodgers before 52,052 at Dodger Stadium.
"These aren't fun nights," said Peavy, who allowed three runs on nine hits with two walks.
Nor was it a particularly fun week for Peavy, who had to answer questions about the dark substance seen on his right hand in images taken after he handcuffed Los Angeles on two hits in a complete-game victory six days earlier.
But Peavy -- who said the substance was likely a mixture of dirt and rosin and laughed at the inferred insinuation that he might be doctoring the baseball -- said that the issue was as dead Friday as it was last week.
"I didn't do anything different [Friday]," Peavy said. "I didn't think too much about it."
Really, there was no time to if he wanted to, as Peavy (3-0) found himself in trouble early against the Dodgers, as he allowed seven hits and two runs in the first four innings.
"I had about everything going for me five days ago," Peavy said. "But today I was flat. I knew early it would be one of those days where you have to battle. I didn't locate as well as I liked."
Luckily for Peavy, who credited the Padres' hitters after the game, his counterpart, Brad Penny, was having similar troubles.
The Padres' offense, which had scored two runs over its previous 21 innings, finally got to Penny (1-2) for four runs in the fourth inning, an inning that resembled the nightmarish frame Penny worked at PETCO Park last Saturday right down to the runs and hits.
"I felt like the conditions in San Francisco, the cold and the way the pitches he threw to us, we were going to have some uncomfortable at-bats," said Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. "Tonight, the weather was nicer and we had some quality at-bats. We were a lot more selective and when you do that as a team, you're going to have success."
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Josh Bard, Brian Giles, Tadahito Iguchi and Gonzalez took turns rolling or lining RBI singles into the Dodger Stadium outfield that inning as San Diego came back to take a 4-2 lead.
But unlike the game in San Diego, Penny couldn't recover. He was gone from the game by the start of the seventh inning, leaving the game that the Dodgers once led 2-0 in the hands of a bullpen that couldn't keep the game close.
Joe Beimel, the first reliever to follow Penny, allowed a single to Kevin Kouzmanoff in the seventh inning, the second of three hits for the Padres third baseman. Jim Edmonds then lined a ball into the right-field corner that moved Kouzmanoff to third.
Beimel then worked the count to 1-2 on Khalil Greene, who drove a fastball to left field for a sacrifice fly that gave the Padres a 5-3 advantage, a fly ball that would prove to be important when the Dodgers scored once in the bottom of the seventh inning.
"That was a big at-bat," manager Bud Black said. "He's hit the ball on the nose with guys on [base]. He's had good at-bats with guys on base."
The Dodgers went to rookie reliever Ramon Troncosco to start the eighth inning and he allowed a single to pinch-hitter Tony Clark. Callix Crabbe ran for Clark and stole second base one out later. The speedy Crabbe, kept on the roster for his versatility and his speed, scored from second when Iguchi rolled a single between first and second base for a 6-4 advantage.
The ninth inning was, as it has been early in the season, a wild ride as Trevor Hoffman, who has already blown two saves, allowed a run on two hits with two walks. He earned his third save, though his ERA now stands at 11.57.
"Like I've said, it looks like his overall stuff is there," Black said. "For whatever reason the location is off 3-4-5-6 inches. He's hitting the glove. He just must be off a little."
Peavy knows that feeling, or at least he did Friday. He realizes that not all of his starts are going to end well, that the road to a Cy Young isn't always paved with blissful start after blissful start.
Sometimes, you have to make good with what you've got.
"I'm happier with this win than I am the first two," Peavy said. "This is what it's about -- finding ways to win."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.