But the Padres have been lights-out against Los Angeles this season, and a hard single by Mike Piazza supplied all the offense Peavy needed in a 1-0 win on Tuesday night that pulled San Diego within two games of the NL West-leading Dodgers.
"We came in here today and showed the first-place team that we're not scared and that we can play with anybody," said Peavy, who held Los Angeles to three hits in seven dominating innings.
"An offensive explosion wasn't there tonight, but we found a way to win," Peavy added. "We understand what we have to do as a team to win. It's winning close ballgames like this and pitching just enough. That's how we got there last year and it's how we're going to do what we need to do this year."
The defending division champion Padres have won 10 of their last 11 against their biggest rival. By winning the first two of the three-game series, the Padres ended the Dodgers' string of seven straight series victories. That Dodgers' run began after they were swept by the Padres at Dodger Stadium July 24-26.
"The matchup of these two clubs has not been good," Dodgers manager Grady Little said. "We have a few games to see if we can get it turned around."
Los Angeles has lost four of six games following a 17-1 stretch.
Trevor Hoffman pitched the ninth for his NL-best 33rd save in 37 chances. He moved to 469 for his career, 10 short of breaking Lee Smith's record. It was San Diego's ninth shutout, second-best in the NL behind Houston's 10.
Piazza snapped the longest hitless streak of his career, 0-for-26, when his hard single with two outs in the sixth inning bounced off shortstop Rafael Furcal's glove and rolled onto the outfield grass, allowing rookie Josh Barfield to score. Barfield hit a leadoff double that landed on the left-field line, and he advanced on Mike Cameron's fly ball.
It was Piazza's first hit since he homered twice off Pedro Martinez in a 4-3 loss at the New York Mets on Aug. 9.
"It happens, man," Piazza said of his slump. "This is a hard game sometimes. I was just happy I hit the ball hard."
Piazza knows that Peavy's record could be better than 7-12.
"Lord knows, aside from this offensive explosion tonight, he's not had a lot of run support," Piazza said.
Dodgers starter Mark Hendrickson said he left the pitch to Piazza over the middle of the plate "and he got a good swing on it."
The Padres have scored two or fewer runs in 12 of Peavy's 25 starts.
Peavy struck out seven and walking one.
"He was locked in tonight and he made quality pitches," Julio Lugo said. "He was challenging me all night."
The Dodgers' best chance to score came in the fifth, when Lugo bounced a leadoff double over the fence in left-center. He stole third with two outs, but Peavy got Furcal to fly out to center.
After Jeff Kent drew a leadoff walk in the seventh, San Diego got a room-service play when second baseman Barfield booted Andre Ethier's grounder right to shortstop Manny Alexander, who fell down corralling the ball but got his right foot on the bag for the force.
Hendrickson (1-6) gave up one run and five hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked one.
- San Diego remained two games behind Cincinnati in the NL wild-card race
- Padres RHP Chan Ho Park received two more units of blood as doctors worked to narrow down the cause of intestinal bleeding that put him back on the 15-day DL for the second time in less than a month. Park was hospitalized overnight after a recurrence of the bleeding on Monday.
- To take his roster spot, rookie Mike Thompson was promoted from Triple-A Portland for the fifth time this season.