LOS ANGELES -- Greg Maddux wasn't certain he would have kept pitching even if his no-hitter hadn't just been broken up.
The 40-year-old Maddux (13-13) finished the seventh inning, figured he had had enough and came out of the game.
Would he have continued if Brian Giles hadn't gotten that single?
"Probably, maybe, I don't know," Maddux said with a smile. "My arm was OK. I was mentally tired."
J.D. Drew had an RBI double off David Wells in the fourth inning, and Julio Lugo singled home Drew to stake Maddux to a 2-0 lead in the opener of a crucial four-game series against the second-place Padres -- their last meetings of the season.
"They're all big now," Maddux said.
He pitched seven shutout innings, gave up just the one hit, walked three and struck out one in earning his 331st victory.
"Nothing this guy does surprises me," Los Angeles manager Grady Little said. "There's a reason he's done what he's done in his career.
"A lot of us, and a lot of people in the stands would have loved to have seen him take a one-hitter into the ninth. But we have to look at the big picture."
The "big picture" is keeping the 40-year-old Maddux at his best down the stretch. He threw just 68 pitches as he ran his record to 4-2, with a 3.07 ERA in nine starts since the Dodgers acquired him from the Chicago Cubs on July 31. He's 2-0 with a 1.25 ERA at Dodger Stadium.
"It was vintage Maddux tonight," San Diego manager Bruce Bochy said.
Takashi Saito pitched a perfect ninth for his 19th save in 21 chances.
The win was the Dodgers' fourth in 15 games against the Padres this year, and their first in six contests at Dodger Stadium.
With the loss, San Diego's NL wild-card lead was cut to 1½ games over Philadelphia, which beat Houston 4-3.
The Padres' only run came in the eighth on a throwing error by second baseman Lugo, who was trying to complete a double play against Josh Barfield.
The 43-year-old Wells (0-1) gave up two runs and six hits in five innings.
He said he could appreciate Maddux's performance despite being on the losing end.
"I really do. I think any pitcher would. It's awesome," the Padres' left-hander said. "You'd like to match zeros with him in those type of games, but somebody's not going to win.
"It would have been great if we both got no-decisions. But in a game like that, you just try your darnedest to match him, and if you don't, you tip your cap because the guy pitched a heck of a game for them."
Bochy appreciated Wells' effort, saying he was hampered by a sore ankle.
"He's pitched with some pain and it was bothering him, especially when he was throwing breaking balls," Bochy said. "He kept us in the game, but we couldn't do anything with Maddux."
The Maddux-Wells matchup was their first in the regular season. In the 1995 NLCS, Maddux earned the win for Atlanta by holding Cincinnati to one run over eight innings in a 5-2 victory, with Wells taking the loss after giving up three runs in six innings.
Maddux, a four-time Cy Young Award winner, came to Los Angeles in a deal that sent shortstop Cesar Izturis to Chicago.
The Padres acquired Wells from Boston on Aug. 31 for minor league catcher George Kottaras.
Los Angeles first baseman Nomar Garciaparra left the game after he strained his left quad running to first base in the sixth inning.
"He's day-to-day and he doesn't think it's serious, but we'll know more tomorrow," Little said
Padres reliever Doug Brocail, who was charged with the Dodgers' third run, left the game with a strained right hamstring after running to cover first in the seventh. Bochy said he will miss some playing time.
- The game was the first in a 10-game homestand for the Dodgers.
- The Padres sent minor league RHP Dale Thayer to Tampa Bay to complete the Aug. 24 trade for INF/OF Russell Branyan.
- Little was San Diego's bullpen coach when the Padres won the NL West in 1996.