Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda allowed a run over 5-2/3 innings and earned his sixth win of the season as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the San Diego Padres 4-2 Wednesday.
Maeda (6-5) struck out nine of the 21 batters he faced and gave up four hits and one walk at Petco Park. His ERA, which was 4.75 on May 11, has now dropped to 3.13 with the Dodgers having won six of his last nine starts.
"I guess I have to say I'm happy about getting the win," Maeda said. "My pitching got better as the game went along."
The 30-year-old surrendered a run on back-to-back hits in the first inning. Travis Jankowski led off with a single and came home on Carlos Asuaje's double to put the home team on the board.
After giving up a double with two outs in the second, Maeda retired eight straight hitters he faced. But he was replaced in the sixth after putting a runner in a scoring position.
"I am happy that I was able to stay calm after giving up a run," said Maeda. "I was able to use my changeup effectively."
He made a reference to going without the two-seam fastball he threw last season without results.
"I had this idea stuck in my head that you have to get a lot of (fastball) movement, but doing what works for me is the best," Maeda said.
The Dodgers tied it in the third with Matt Kemp's RBI single and Logan Forsythe drove in another run to put the visitors ahead in the three-run inning.
The Padres closed in with a Christian Villanueva home run, but the Dodgers bagged another run in the eighth to pull within a half-game of first-place Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West.
At Coors Field, Japanese right-hander Yoshihisa Hirano surrendered four runs over 1/3 innings in the Diamondbacks' 19-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies.
Hirano took the mound in the fourth after the Diamondbacks' second reliever sustained an injury. The 34-year-old allowed four straight hits after retiring the first batter he faced.
(Hirano hands the ball to manager Torey Lovullo)