LOS ANGELES ― The Dodgers’ offense still isn’t firing on all cylinders.
Two was all they needed Saturday night.
Mookie Betts’ three-run home run against Craig Stammen in the fifth inning powered the Dodgers to a 5-4 win over the San Diego Padres before an announced crowd of 46,969 at Dodger Stadium.
Betts and Gavin Lux went 4 for 5. The rest of the Dodgers went 0 for 20. But they provided enough run support for starter Walker Buehler, who allowed only a home run to Fernando Tatís Jr. before the Dodgers’ bullpen locked down the team’s 90th victory of the season.
The Dodgers (90-53) remain 2 ½ games behind the San Francisco Giants for first place in the National League West. They can complete a three-game sweep of the Padres (74-67) with a win in Sunday’s series finale.
Betts’ 20th home run of the season broke a 2-2 tie and came on the heels of a single by Lux and a walk by Buehler. That marked the end of the road for Padres starter Chris Paddack (7-7). Enter Stammen, who left a fastball down the middle of the plate on his first pitch to Betts, only to see it leave the park a moment later.
San Diego rallied for two runs in the eighth inning against Blake Treinen, who faced four batters but only recorded one out.
With a runner on third base and one out, right-hander Joe Kelly relieved Treinen and struck out Wil Myers and Tommy Pham to end the inning.
Pitching for the third consecutive day, Kenley Jansen pitched a scoreless ninth inning to record his 32nd save of the season.
The Dodgers used the bottom of their lineup to score a couple runs in the third inning, a missing component in their offensive attack for much of the last month.
Cody Bellinger, mired in a season-long slump, drew a walk. The next batter was Gavin Lux, who was making his second consecutive start in left field. With the Padres shifted Lux lined a fastball over a vacant left side of the infield. Tommy Pham overran the ball in left field, allowing Bellinger to score all the way from first base.
Lux went to second on Pham’s miscue, took third on a sacrifice bunt by Buehler, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Betts. The Dodgers had a 2-0 lead.
Buehler pitched seven innings and allowed two runs, getting some help from his defense along the way.
After a single by Tatís, second baseman Trea Turner kicked off a 4-6-3 double play in the second inning. Turner nearly initiated another twin killing in the fifth after Chris Paddack walked.
In the sixth inning, Cody Bellinger nearly threw out Manny Machado trying to stretch a single into a double; the initial “out” call was overturned when the Padres challenged the call. On Buehler’s 96th and final pitch of the game, Betts snared a sinking line drive near the right-field line to end the seventh inning and strand a runner on second base.
Buehler allowed six hits and walked two batters. With one exception, he made pitches when he needed to.
In the third inning, Buehler threw Machado a first-pitch slider over the plate; the former Dodger lined the ball through the left side of the infield for a single. Buehler started the next batter, Tatís, with a slider over the plate too. That ball came to rest an estimated 400 feet from home plate over the center field fence. Tatís’ National League-leading 38th home run of the season tied the game at 2.
Tatís got the start at shortstop for the first time since July 30, when he suffered a partial dislocation of his left shoulder. He had been playing exclusively in the outfield since returning from the injured list.