SAN DIEGO -- The lights came on as afternoon faded to evening, and the longest game in the majors this season turned on an error by a third-string catcher who was playing first base.
The Dodgers took two of three from San Diego, and have beaten the two-time defending NL West champion Padres four times in six games this year.
Looking at it another way, it was one inning short of being the equivalent of a four-game series.
"It was just one of those games," said Clark, who played at the University of San Diego. "It's huge to get that win right there. You play a game that long, if you don't win it, you'd have some miserable people."
Less than 24 hours earlier, the teams blew threw a two-hour, four-minute game won by Greg Maddux and the Padres, 3-2.
Both bullpens were absolutely lights-out, and the game might have gone longer if not for Pete Laforest's fielding error in the 17th.
Valdez reached on a one-out bunt when Laforest reached for a high throw from catcher Rob Bowen and had it hit off the top of his glove. Laforest replaced Adrian Gonzalez during a double-switch three innings earlier.
"I just tried to reach a little bit more," Laforest said. "The ball just rose on me and I couldn't reach any more."
With two outs, Clark doubled into the left-field corner off rookie Justin Hampson to bring in Valdez. Clark was fooled by a curveball, then got enough of another curve.
"My thought was just get a good pitch to hit," Clark said. "It wasn't exactly a great pitch to hit, but it worked. Sometimes it happens."
The previous longest game in the majors was Wednesday, when Pittsburgh beat Houston 4-3 in 16 innings, a game that lasted four hours and 48 minutes. The Dodgers-Padres game took 4:55.
The previous longest game at Petco Park in innings was a 16-inning, 5-4 win over Arizona on April 29, 2005. The longest by time was a loss to Oakland last June 29 that took 4:42 and 14 innings.
Clark had been 0-for-5 with two walks before becoming the last Dodgers' starter to get a hit.
San Diego, meanwhile, had just one hit and four baserunners in the final 10 innings, a two-out single by Gonzalez in the 13th.
By the end, maybe a quarter of the sellout crowd of 44,028 was left.
"You get a game going along like that one was, it says a lot for both teams' bullpens," Dodgers manager Grady Little said. "Those runs are hard to come by out there when you get those guys throwing like they were throwing."
The Dodgers stranded 15 runners. They left the bases loaded in the 13th, and had runners on first and second with two outs in the 12th. In the 10th, they had runners on first and second and none out before Cla Meredith, a sidearmer who hasn't allowed a run in 13 innings this season, retired the side.
"I know a lot of guys in here are frustrated with a game like that," Clark said. "We had some opportunities that we squandered. But the thing is, both sides are tired and you've got to keep pushing, keep pushing."
Chad Billingsley (2-0) pitched two innings for the win. Hampson (0-1) worked the final four innings.
"I kind of got that feeling," the lefty said. "There was no help coming from the pen."
Giles and Jose Cruz Jr., the first two batters in San Diego's order, each had three hits and an RBI. Giles scored two runs and Cruz scored once. Giles left in the ninth with a bruised rib cage, sustained while breaking up a double play in the seventh.
Derek Lowe got his 1,000th career strikeout but ended up with a no-decision after he couldn't hold a 4-1 lead. He allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 /3 innings, with three strikeouts and two walks.
Wells lasted only five innings, allowing four runs and nine hits. He struck out three and walked none.
The Dodgers went ahead 4-1 with one out in the third when Kent homered to center on a 1-0 pitch followed by Gonzalez's shot into the seats in right on a 1-1 pitch. It was Kent's second and Gonzalez's fourth.
The Padres pulled to 4-3 when Lowe allowed three straight hits to open the third. Marcus Giles hit a leadoff single and scored on Cruz's triple. Brian Giles then doubled in Cruz.
- Andre Ethier's comebacker in the 11th knocked off Meredith's glove, but the pitcher grabbed the ball and threw to first to end the inning.
- Padres RHP Jake Peavy faces Washington at home Monday night in his first start since tying his club record with 16 strikeouts Wednesday night at Arizona. Peavy left with a 2-0 lead but the Diamondbacks rallied against San Diego's bullpen, winning 3-2 on Stephen Drew's two-run homer off Hoffman.
- With three sellouts, the Padres set a three-game series attendance record of 130,448.