Jack Cassel grew up a Dodgers fan and made his first career start against them -- for the Padres.
While neither factored in the decision, both had their moments as the Padres beat the Dodgers 6-4 Friday night for their eighth win in 10 games.
Not long after Trevor Hoffman closed the door on the Dodgers, the Padres vaulted back into the NL West lead by one percentage point over the Arizona Diamondbacks, who lost 7-3 in 10 innings to the Colorado Rockies. The Padres are trying to win their third straight division title.
Josh Bard singled in the go-ahead run in the sixth and the Padres had to get past five strong innings by Wells.
The 44-year-old Wells pitched better than he did in his last four starts with the Padres, when he struggled so badly that they designated him for assignment on Aug. 9. Wells left after five innings with the score tied at 3. He allowed six hits while striking out three and walking one.
"I wasn't disappointed, I'll tell you that," said Wells, who agreed to a deal with the Dodgers on Aug. 23 and won his first start with them Sunday night at the New York Mets. "I made the pitches I needed to make. A couple of misfortunate happenings."
Wells said coming back to Petco Park in a Dodgers uniform "was a trip."
"You're over there all year. Good bonding, good guys. It's just tough to leave that type of situation. That's just how the game goes. There are no certainties," he said.
The Dodgers dropped four games back in the wild-card standings.
Cassel, making his first big league start and second appearance, allowed three runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings. Promoted earlier in the day from Triple-A Portland, he struck out five and walked one.
"I was actually thrilled when I found out that I was starting and that it would be Friday, and seeing it would be the Dodgers," said Cassel, who grew up in the Los Angeles area. "I had a lot of buddies back home in Los Angeles, they're saying, 'We're rooting for Jack Cassel but not necessarily the team.' So it was great to get this victory."
Rafael Furcal bunted for a single on Cassel's first pitch, and the right-hander fell behind 1-0 in the first, but settled down.
"Jack did a nice job today," manager Bud Black said. "He hung in there. He had a couple situations where he could have melted but he didn't. He made pitches. I like that he didn't back off at all. Threw strikes. I thought he had composure, I thought he had poise. I thought he did a nice job."
Adrian Gonzalez was hit by a pitch from Rudy Seanez (6-3) leading off the sixth, advanced on Kevin Kouzmanoff's single and scored the go-ahead run on Bard's single to center. Milton Bradley, who played for the Dodgers in 2004-05, hit an RBI double in the seventh and scored on Gonzalez's single.
Gonzalez hit an RBI single with two outs to tie it at 1. Pierre then lost Greene's fly ball, which landed some 20 feet behind him for a double, allowing Gonzalez to score from first. Kevin Kouzmanoff followed with a single to center to bring in Greene.
"I just didn't see the ball," Pierre said. "There were a lot of different colors and shades. I just lost it, plain and simple."
Wells then retired 13 of his last 15 batters, allowing only two more singles.
Russell Martin hit RBI singles in the fourth and sixth innings to bring the Dodgers back. His fourth-inning hit scored Matt Kemp, whose double on a high chopper bounced under second baseman Geoff Blum's glove and rolled into short center field.
In the sixth, Martin reached down for a slider and hit it over shortstop Greene's head to bring in Jeff Kent with the tying run. Kent was aboard on a leadoff single.
Kent drove in a run in the first before being thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple.
- Wells was limping after stepping on first base a little awkwardly while putting out Cassel in the second.
- Kent's double was his 535th, moving him past Lou Gehrig and into sole possession of 27th on the career list.
- Dodgers LHP Randy Wolf will have diagnostic arthroscopic surgery on his sore left shoulder on Wednesday. Wolf, on the disabled list since July 4, felt pain in his shoulder while throwing last weekend.
- In order to promote Cassel, the Padres designated C Pete Laforest for assignment.
- Cassel is the older brother of Matt Cassel, backup quarterback for the New England Patriots.
- San Diego's other catcher, Michael Barrett, is due to be activated from the 15-day DL on Saturday.