Lowe threw 20 pitches in the first inning, and never came close to that output the rest of his eight-inning stint.
"I kind of struggled in the first inning, and I think it came down to location," Lowe said.
Manager Joe Torre attributed Lowe's uncertain beginning to simple physics.
"I think at this point in the season, it takes a little time to adjust from the bullpen mound [in the pregame warmup] to the mound," Torre said.
Behind Lowe's four-hit outing, which featured six strikeouts and no walks, Los Angeles solved Padres starter Chris Young (1-1). The Dodgers got to Young in the early going, torching him for seven runs (six earned) and hastening his exit with none out in the fourth.
"He got a lot of ground balls and a lot of pitches down in the zone," catcher Russell Martin said.
Torre reckoned, "I think Derek Lowe is the perfect guy to pitch one of these [high-scoring] games because he keeps the ball down so well."
Padres third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff could attest, going 0-for-3, all on groundouts to short.
"[Lowe] keeps the ball at the knees and works at his pace," Kouzmanoff said. "I think we should have stepped out [of the batter's box] and disrupted his momentum. After the first inning, he got in a groove. He was on with a lot of his pitches."
The Dodgers right-hander aided his cause with three RBIs. When reporters asked him to account for this career-best night at the plate, his response was monosyllabic: "Luck."
Lowe amended that: "Let's be honest. A couple of balls didn't make it out of the infield."
The Padres scored when Scott Hairston began the game with a triple and came home on Adrian Gonzalez's one-out double.
The Dodgers answered with two runs in the bottom of the first on a leadoff homer by Rafael Furcal, and with one out, a single by Andre Ethier, double by James Loney and single by Martin.
In the third, a two-run double by Blake DeWitt put Los Angeles ahead, 4-1. Young's error on Lowe's ground ball with two outs let in the Dodgers' fifth run.
They got four more in the fourth on a two-run homer by Ethier and a two-run single by Lowe off reliever Wilfredo Ledezma.
"I'm attacking the plate," Ethier said. "I'm kind of familiar with [Young's] style of pitching and what he's trying to do. It works both ways, though. They hit better against us too, over time."
Lowe singled home Andruw Jones in the sixth, and Matt Kemp homered off reliever Glendon Rusch in the seventh to end the romp.
"You knew we were too good to continue not to score runs," Torre said. "That opposite-field home run by Kemp was certainly nice to see."