SAN DIEGO -- Somebody must have said something pretty good during a Padres team meeting before the series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Brian Giles scored the go-ahead run from first base on Adrian Gonzalez's double into the left-field corner in the eighth inning and the San Diego Padres won their fifth straight game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, 5-3 on Wednesday night.
By winning the first two of this three-game series, the defending NL West champion Padres pulled within one game of Los Angeles and Arizona, which are tied for the division lead. Overall, the Padres have won just four times in their last nine games.
"To come back and beat the team that's in first place, that's huge for us," Gonzalez said. "Tomorrow, if we win, we can get right back in the mix in that first-place area."
Gonzalez said the Padres had a team meeting before Tuesday night's game "to get that edge again. We've been having it yesterday and today, that killer instinct. We went out there with a lot of energy the last two days."
Gonzalez wouldn't divulge what was said, only that manager Bruce Bochy and reserve outfielder Eric Young fired up the team the most.
"Couple of inspirational words, and you have that thing where you're like, 'All right, let's go get them,"' Gonzalez said. "Nothing changes as far as how you play, but that mindset and that energy you take out there changes."
With the score tied at 3, Giles drew a four-pitch walk off reliever Hong-Chih Kuo (0-4) leading off the eighth. With one out, Gonzalez hit a 2-2 pitch the opposite way to bring in Giles. Shortstop Rafael Furcal's relay throw was up the first-base line for an error, allowing Gonzalez to take third. Pinch-hitter Josh Bard greeted reliever Danys Baez with a single to left that scored Gonzalez.
"Today was a bad day," said Kuo, whose first six pitches were balls. "I was just trying to throw strikes. Hopefully, I'll get better."
Said manager Grady Little: "I think that his whole outing was dictated by those first six balls he threw. He couldn't find it out of the bullpen."
Matt Kemp, pinch hitting for Dodgers reliever Jonathan Broxton, hit a towering homer to straightaway center field, estimated at 433 feet, to tie it at 3 leading off the eighth. Kemp's seventh homer came on the second pitch from reliever Scott Linebrink (3-2).
That got Brad Penny off the hook for what would have been his first loss since May 1, and kept Padres rookie Mike Thompson from getting his first win in four starts. Thompson threw seven strong innings.
"Boy, he's done a great job," Bochy said of Thompson. "Great game tonight. Gave us seven solid innings. He knows what he's doing out there. He did a nice job all night."
Thompson allowed two runs and three hits, with three strikeouts and two walks.
Los Angeles' Kenny Lofton reached second leading off the sixth when he beat out a bunt for an infield single and advanced on catcher Mike Piazza's throwing error. Thompson then retired the side.
"He's got a great makeup about him and keeps his composure out there," Bochy said. "We played well tonight, made some great defensive plays there, but it all starts with the job the kid did. He saved us tonight."
Trevor Hoffman pitched the ninth for his 15th save in 16 chances.
Mark Bellhorn hit a two-run homer for the Padres.
Willy Aybar hit a two-run homer off Thompson with one out in the second to put Los Angeles in front. It was Aybar's third drive of the season.
The Padres jumped ahead 3-2 in the bottom of the inning, when the first three batters reached and scored.
Gonzalez hit a leadoff double to left-center, followed by Bellhorn's homer into the seats in left-center, his fifth. Bellhorn was starting at third base for Vinny Castilla. Khalil Greene walked and, with two outs, stole second, then scored on Dave Roberts' single up the middle.
San Diego had runners on first and second with no outs in the sixth, and stranded both.
Penny allowed three runs and five hits in six innings, struck out five and walked one.
Kemp has seven homers in 45 at-bats. ... Dodgers RHP Chad Billingsley, 21, is scheduled to make his big league debut Thursday against the Padres in the series finale. The Dodgers purchased his contract Wednesday and optioned IF/OF Joel Guzman to Triple-A Las Vegas. ... Needing a single Tuesday night to become the first Padres player to hit for the cycle, Mike Cameron didn't swing at a 3-0 pitch from Odalis Perez in the seventh inning, and ended up walking. He said he was respecting baseball etiquette, figuring that had he swung, with the Padres up by eight runs, he might get hit in the ribs on Wednesday night. So what happened Wednesday night? Cameron got hit on the left shoulder by a pitch from Penny in the first inning. ... Cameron went from getting three hits Tuesday night to striking out three times. ... Padres SS Khalil Greene is hitless in his last 19 at-bats.