LOS ANGELES (AP) – Derek Lowe took a shutout into the eighth inning, Willy Aybar had two hits in his first major league start, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat San Diego 3-1 Saturday to move within seven games of the NL West-leading Padres with 21 remaining.

Lowe (10-13) allowed seven hits and one run in 7 2-3 innings. He was working on a four-hitter before Dave Roberts, Mark Loretta and Robert Fick singled with two outs in the eighth.

Duaner Sanchez relieved with runners at first and third, then loaded the bases with a walk to Brian Giles. He retired Joe Randa on a flyout, then worked a perfect ninth for his sixth save in 10 chances.

The win was just Lowe’s second since Aug. 5, but the 32-year-old right-hander has been outstanding in his last four starts, giving up three earned runs and 19 hits in 31 2-3 innings. He hadn’t allowed an earned run in 23 straight innings before Fick’s hit drove in Roberts.

Lowe, who threw 122 pitches, is 2-1 with a no-decision in four appearances against the Padres this season, giving up three earned runs in 30 2-3 innings.

Aybar, a 22-year-old switch hitter, singled in the third and doubled in the fifth for his first big-league hits. He also walked and scored in the first.

Clay Hensley (0-1), a 26-year-old right-hander making his first big league start after 16 relief appearances, fell behind 2-0 before recording an out. Aybar walked, took second on a single by Hee-Seop Choi and scored on a double by Oscar Robles. Choi also scored on the play when second baseman Loretta mishandled the relay from right fielder Giles.

The Dodgers made it 3-0 with two outs in the opening inning when Robles scored on a passed ball by Miguel Olivo.

Hensley was lifted for a pinch hitter after allowing four hits and three runs, two earned, in five innings. He retired 15 of his last 18 batters.

San Diego got leadoff singles in the second, third and fourth innings, but Lowe worked out of trouble each time thanks in part to double-play grounders in the second and fourth. The Padres threatened in the seventh, putting runners at first and third with two outs before Khalil Greene grounded into a forceout.

Notes: Padres RHP Chan Ho Park will pitch against RHP Brad Penny in Sunday’s series finale. Park, who played for the Dodgers from 1994-2001, will be facing his former team for the first time. … It appears more unlikely every day that Dodgers OF J.D. Drew will play again this season. “It just goes downhill when I swing the bat a few days in a row,” he said of his left wrist, broken July 3 when hit by a pitch from Arizona’s Brad Halsey. Drew signed a $55 million, five-year contract with the Dodgers last winter. … Padres OF Ryan Klesko missed his fourth start due to shoulder and neck problems. … Aybar, who played third base, was one of four Los Angeles rookies to start the game, joining Robles, catcher Dioner Navarro and outfielder Jason Repko.

AP-ES-09-10-05 1838EDT


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