In the giddiness of the postgame clubhouse, some of the San Diego Padres put their surprising 13-game winning streak into perspective.
Sure, six of the wins have been against the richer Los Angeles Dodgers, who have become quite a doormat for the Padres. The latest was Thursday's 6-3 victory, the Padres' sixth against the Dodgers in 10 days.
Â"You have to look at that with some sense of pride,Â" said reliever Trevor Hoffman, who earned his 20th save overall and fourth against the Dodgers during the streak. Â"But what does that really tell you? It's taken us that kind of streak to get to .500. We need to be better than that. A 13-game winning streak, you'd think you'd be seven, eight games over .500.
The defending NL champions move on to Colorado for four games in three days, including a doubleheader Saturday.
San Diego's winning streak, which has taken it from last in the NL West to third, is the longest in the majors since the Kansas City Royals won 14 in 1994.
Â"I don't think we're too concerned about who we're playing,Â" said Wally Joyner, who with Ruben Rivera hit consecutive homers in the eighth that gave the Padres breathing room. Â"I think we're concerned about playing well enough to win ballgames. We're just glad that it happened against anybody.Â"
One sign that the team is enjoying the winning streak is that Joyner's bald dome is starting to get a big bruise where he head-butts teammates after victories.
The Padres are back to .500 (38-38) for the first time since April 18, when they also happened to beat the Dodgers. Although overwhelmed in payroll, $79.2 million to $48 million on opening day, the Padres have dominated this Southern California rivalry, winning eight of nine games this year, including seven straight.
The last thing the Padres wanted was to become a team that others could fatten up against.
Â"A lot of good things have happened over these last two weeks and I think it's going to carry us for long time,Â" Joyner said.
The Padres have swept four straight series for the first time in their 31 seasons, and two have been against the Dodgers. San Diego set the franchise record with its 12th straight win Wednesday night, an 11-2 whipping of 1998 Padres ace Kevin Brown.
The Dodgers have lost four straight dating to Sunday, when their 8-7 loss at San Francisco dropped them into last place in the NL West.
Â"We're still within striking range but we've gotta go on a winning streak ourselves,Â" Gary Sheffield said.
The Padres Â"have a lot of momentum going,Â" Sheffield said. Â"They've got a good pitching staff. They're better than I expected. They throw strikes and the work real fast.Â"
Rivera homered off reliever Alan Mills and Joyner off Pedro Borbon.
Rivera entered the game in the top of the sixth and made a nice catch of Devon White's fly ball against the top of the fence to end the seventh.
Rookie Matt Clement (5-7) dodged a few rough spots and held the Dodgers to three runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings, winning for the third time during the streak.
Relievers Will Cunnane, Carlos Reyes and Hoffman held the Dodgers hitless in the final 3 1-3 innings, extending the bullpen's streak to 11 2-3 scoreless innings this series.
San Diego rallied for three runs in the fourth inning off Darren Dreifort (6-7) to take a 3-2 lead, and Quilvio Veras homered leading off the fifth, his third overall and first since May 19.
Dreifort held the Padres to two hits through three scoreless innings before the Padres broke through in the fourth to take a 3-2 lead.
Dave Magadan hit an RBI fielder's choice and rookie Ben Davis tied it when his line drive deflected off third baseman Adrian Beltre's glove and skipped into left field for a double. Damian Jackson's groundout brought in Magadan with the go-ahead run.
Clement struggled early and fell behind 2-0 on RBI singles by Angel Pena in the second and Devon White in the third. The Dodgers added an unearned run in the sixth on Raul Mondesi's single.
Dreifort allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings.
Notes: San Diego's Eric Owens extended his hitting streak to 13, tying Tony Gwynn for the team's longest this year. ... Padres rookie SS Damian Jackson committed three errors. ... Mondesi batted leadoff for the first time since Sept. 29, 1993, in an attempt to jump start him as well as the lineup. He went 1-for-5 with a single. ... This marks just the second time the Padres have swept the Dodgers twice in a season. The other time was 1986.
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