LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers invited a well-traveled pitcher to spring training last season and struck gold with Jose Lima.
Now they hope Scott Erickson follows the same script.
Erickson pitched six sharp innings for his first NL victory in the Dodgers' 8-3 victory over the San Diego Padres on Saturday night. He allowed two runs, four hits and three walks in six innings after getting staked to a 5-0 lead.
Erickson was limited to only six starts last season with the Rangers and Mets after recovering from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder. That injury cost him the entire 2003 season.
"I felt very solid about my chances of making the team," Erickson said. "This year I wasn't concerned about health because I pitched all season last year -- unfortunately, it was in the minor leagues."
The Padres' Khalil Greene won't be playing shortstop for a few weeks after another finger injury. Greene, who had his impressive rookie season cut short by a broken finger, fractured the ring finger on his right hand while trying to field a poor throw in the first inning.
Erickson (1-0) compiled a 141-131 record in the AL, including a career-high 20 wins for the 1991 World Series champion Minnesota Twins. He was 0-1 in two starts for the Mets last season before getting traded to Texas on July 31.
The 16-year veteran right-hander, who earned the fifth spot in the Dodgers' rotation as a non-roster invitee, gave up six runs over 4 1/3 innings a week earlier at Arizona in his Dodgers debut.
"That obviously wasn't what I wanted to do in my first appearance with the Dodgers, so the worst thing I could have done tonight was make it seem like I didn't know what I was doing," Erickson said.
"Hopefully, we're back on track now. They know I'm healthy and they know I can throw the ball. I know that spring training wasn't a fluke, and hopefully this proved to them that they made a good decision."
Ricky Ledee homered and Jason Phillips had a pair of RBI singles for the Dodgers, who have won four straight. Their 8-2 start is the franchise's best since 1981, when they won the World Series.
The Padres, who already have center fielder Dave Roberts and backup second baseman Eric Young on the disabled list, lost Greene when catcher Ramon Hernandez made a poor throw trying to catch Cesar Izturis stealing second. Greene tried to make a backhand stop to the left of second base and injured his finger.
"I don't think about getting hurt, but it's something you have to come to terms with -- especially in an athletic profession where injuries are a part of the game," said Greene, who is expected to be sidelined three to four weeks.
"Not only could you be injured for a couple of weeks at any point in time, but a career-ending injury could be around any corner," Greene said. "So you just have to accept that fact and deal with it."
The Padres will wait before putting Green on the DL, just in case they need him as a pinch-runner on Sunday. They probably won't make a roster move until Monday, when Roberts is expected to be activated. But for now, Geoff Blum and Jesse Garcia will take over at shortstop.
Greene broke his right index finger last year trying to field a hard-hit grounder by Antonio Perez last Sept. 13 at Dodger Stadium.
"It's extremely coincidental, especially being a hand injury," Greene said. "I've always felt good playing here, but I just haven't seemed to have the best luck in terms of performance or health-wise. But what are you going to do?"
Phil Nevin's leadoff single in the second was San Diego's only hit off the 37-year-old Erickson through the first 5 1/3 innings. But Mark Loretta and Brian Giles singled with one out in the sixth, Ryan Klesko doubled home Loretta, and Giles scored on Nevin's groundout, narrowing the gap to 5-2.
The Dodgers built their 5-0 lead in the first three innings against Adam Eaton (1-1), who had allowed just one run in the 22 innings he pitched at Dodger Stadium last season. Two of the runs were unearned, the result of throwing errors by Hernandez and Giles in right field.
J.D. Drew delivered the Dodgers' first run with a sacrifice fly to the warning track in left. Before that, he had gone 43 plate appearances without an RBI. The eight-year veteran, who signed a five-year, $55 million contract in December, drove in 93 runs last season for Atlanta.
Milton Bradley and Phillips added RBI singles in the fifth against Eaton, who entered with a 4-0 career record at Chavez Ravine. He allowed five runs -- three earned -- and eight hits in six innings.
Jeff Kent was thrown out at the plate by Giles while trying to score behind Drew on Bradley's third-inning single. But Kent did score on Phillips' RBI single in the eighth, extending his streak to nine consecutive games with a run scored. The L.A. Dodger record is 11 straight, set by Davey Lopes in May 1979 and tied by Shawn Green in 2002. ... Erickson's only previous start against the Padres was on June 10, 2002, at Baltimore, when he allowed four runs over 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision. The Orioles won that interleague game 8-6.