LOS ANGELES -- Adrian Beltre didn't make the All-Star team despite the best first half of his career. The way he and the Los Angeles Dodgers are playing, a postseason berth would be a nice consolation prize.
Beltre, a seven-year veteran third baseman, had five RBI to raise his total to 71 -- just 14 fewer than his career high. He has hit a career-high 27 home runs despite playing all season with bone spurs in his ankle.
"It's very apparent when he swings through something -- it bites him and he falls down, so that's a pretty good indication that it's bothering him," Dodgers outfielder Jayson Werth said. "So to play every day and do the things that he's been doing on top of that, I mean, that's nothing short of amazing to me."
Beltre, who hit a game-ending homer in the ninth inning Friday, capped a six-run fourth against Ismael Valdez (9-6) with a towering drive deep into the left-field pavilion, giving the Dodgers an 8-1 lead after RBI singles by Alex Cora and Cesar Izturis.
"He's having a tremendous year," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "We got behind him with the bases loaded and he got a good pitch to handle. We had to go after him, but Izzy didn't quite get the pitch where he wanted it."
Juan Encarnacion followed Green's seventh-inning homer with a solo shot and also robbed Ryan Klesko of a three-run homer in the first to help maintain the Dodgers' 3½ game lead in the NL West over San Francisco and dropped the Padres 4½ out. Los Angeles is a season-high 18 games over .500.
"They jumped on us early and kept scoring," Klesko said. "Last night was tougher to swallow because we had the lead. Do they have a good team? Yes. Otherwise they wouldn't be in first place. But I'm not going to sit and analyze them. Our job is to beat them."
Wilson Alvarez (4-4) allowed a run and five hits over seven innings with five strikeouts and one walk. The left-hander has allowed no more than one earned run in 13 of his 21 starts for the Dodgers since signing as a free agent in January 2003.
Sean Burroughs and Mark Loretta opened the game with singles and Klesko drove a 2-0 pitch to right field with two outs. The 6-foor-3 Encarnacion drifted back on the ball and timed his leap perfectly against the eight-foot wall, depriving Klesko of a home run.
"It doesn't matter whether I thought it was gone. He made a good play," Klesko said. "I should have hit it father, I guess. If I had gotten all of it, it would have gone out of the stadium."
In the fourth, Encarnacion came in on the dead run to make an inning-ending diving grab of Jay Payton's fourth-inning blooper.
"Encarnacion was a hero tonight," Alvarez said. "He saved me in the first inning. When Klesko hit it, I thought it was just a flyball, but it kept going. I saw Juan jump and bring it back in, and that was a big relief. That catch was the difference in the game."
Jay Witasick, working his third inning of relief, gave up Green's 14th homer and Encarnacion's 13th. The Dodgers have hit 112 this season -- just 12 shy of last year's total, when they tied the New York Mets for the fewest in the majors. It was the fifth time this season the Dodgers have hit back-to-back homers.
"Everyone's on top of the world right now, though we're obviously, not going to win the rest of our games this year. But this is the best stretch of any team I've ever been on," Green said.
Valdez allowed eight runs and a season-worst 11 hits over four innings after winning his previous three starts. He is 4-4 with a 6.99 ERA in nine starts since beating Milwaukee 4-0 on June 5.
The right-hander, who got his first 52 big league victories with the Dodgers, started against them for only the second time in his career. He pitched four-hit ball over 6 2/3 innings on June 8, 2001, in a 1-0 win for the Angels.
Valdez gave up singles to three of his first four batters, and two of them scored. Beltre singled home Izturis and Milton Bradley delivered Paul Lo Duca with a sacrifice fly.
San Diego's runs came on Brian Giles' sacrifice fly in the third and Xavier Nagy's RBI single in the eighth.
- Loretta's three hits raised his season total to 131, the most in the NL. He also has the most multihit games in the league with 42.
- Padres SS Khalil Greene was back in the lineup after missing two games because of a bruised left shin.
- Valdez pitching for his sixth team in a span of five seasons, also made two relief appearances against Los Angeles this season.
The Associated Press News Service
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