SAN DIEGO -- Trevor Hoffman simply doesn't pitch well in non-save situations.
The NL West-leading Padres dropped to .500 (58-58) but kept their three-game lead over Arizona, which lost 9-5 at Atlanta. The Padres have lost two straight to the Phillies and three of five overall.
The Phillies have won five of seven and are 1½ games behind Houston in the wild-card race.
Vicente Padilla, Ugueth Urbina, Aaron Fultz and Billy Wagner combined to six-hit the Padres. Wagner got the final two outs for his 27th save in 29 chances.
Hoffman allowed four runs on four hits while getting only two outs.
With the game tied at 1, Hoffman (1-5) started the ninth by allowing Bobby Abreu's single to center and Pat Burrell's one-hop single that bounced off the left-field fence, which moved Abreu to third. Howard then singled to right to bring in Abreu.
"He's one of the best closers in the game, and to be able to come up in that situation and come through with a hit is definitely big," Howard said.
Getting three straight hits off Hoffman is "just one of those things that happens," Howard said. "Everybody went up and tried to have good at-bats and tried to work him a little bit and tried to wait for a good pitch."
Hoffman's streak of 13 2/3 scoreless innings ended.
"Pretty simple equation: You fall behind good hitters and they are going to hurt you," Hoffman said. "It was a well-played ballgame. To come in and stink up the joint isn't what the team needed right there."
Hoffman has a history of not pitching well in non-save situations. When a save's on the line, things are different. He has 27 straight saves dating to April 30, and 30 overall this year, in 32 chances. His next one will tie John Franco for second on the career list with 424.
"He's the guy you want out there," manager Bruce Bochy said. "They beat our closer tonight. There is really no other time you're going to use him once you're in the ninth in a tie ballgame.
"Whether you get superstitious with that or whatever, it's not going to change," Bochy said. "He's been doing an unbelievable job all year for us. He's going to have his moments."
The Phillies added runs on Mike Lieberthal's sacrifice fly and pinch-hitter Jason Michaels' triple to chase Hoffman. Michaels scored on a wild pitch by Rudy Seanez.
Urbina (3-0) pitched the eighth for the victory.
San Diego's Miguel Olivo homered off Fultz on a 1-0 count leading off the ninth.
Khalil Greene tied it at 1-all with a two-out RBI double in the bottom of the eighth off Urbina to score pinch-runner Damian Jackson from second. Mark Loretta tried to score from first but was thrown out at the plate on shortstop Jimmy Rollins' relay throw to end the inning.
Offense was hard to come by even though both starters came in with losing records.
Philadelphia's Vicente Padilla allowed four hits in seven shutout innings, struck out five and walked five.
He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fifth by striking out Loretta. In the seventh, with runners on first and third and two outs, Padilla struck out Joe Randa on a 94 mph fastball. He allowed four hits, struck out five and walked five to end a three-game losing streak.
Pedro Astacio held the Phillies to two hits in six scoreless innings before they broke through in the seventh. After Astacio retired the first two batters, Burrell singled to left. Howard walked and Burrell scored on David Bell's single to left. Ryan Klesko's throw home was off line and hit Burrell on the leg as he came in to score.
The Padres had the bases loaded in the sixth and failed to score.
Dave Roberts laid down a perfect drag bunt for a leadoff single and Joe Randa reached when Bell, the Phillies' third baseman, booted his grounder. Both runners advanced on Lieberthal's passed ball before Klesko grounded weakly to second. Brian Giles was intentionally walked to load the bases, but Mark Sweeney popped up to Bell and Loretta struck out.
Astacio allowed one run and four hits in seven innings, struck out five and walked two.
After grounding out to first in the third inning, Roberts asked plate umpire Larry Vanover to check the ball, contending that it hit off his right cleat and should have been called a foul ball. Vanover checked the ball, but didn't change the call. ... Klesko had a cortisone shot for muscle spasms in his neck.