LOS ANGELES - The Dodgers celebrated the return of Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp to the lineup with a 2-1 victory over the San Diego Padres on Friday night.
Clayton Kershaw pitched in and out of trouble for six innings, and batterymate Mark Ellis hit his third homer of the season for Los Angeles.
Kemp was 2 for 4 with a double after missing 51 of the Dodgers' previous 53 games because of a left hamstring strain. Ethier, sidelined since June 28 because of an oblique strain on his left side, was 0 for 2 and got hit by a pitch following a two-game rehab stint with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga during the All-Star break.
Kershaw (7-5) allowed a run, six hits and three walks while striking out six. Last year's NL Cy Young winner, who threw 27 pitches during his one-inning scoreless stint in Tuesday's All-Star game, worked with runners on base in every inning and stranded eight before he was lifted for a pinch-hitter after 110 pitches with the Dodgers trailing 1-0.
Tony Gwynn Jr. led off the sixth with a bunt single while batting for Kershaw, triggering the pivotal rally. Padres pitcher Clayton Richard knocked down a vicious line drive by Jerry Hairston Jr. and threw to second for the force on Gwynn. Ellis then drove a 1-2 pitch just inside the left field pole.
Javy Guerra and Ronald Belisario both pitched a scoreless inning and Kenley Jansen worked a hitless ninth for his 16th save in 19 attempts, helping the NL West-leading Dodgers (48-40) to stay a half-game ahead of San Francisco (47-40). It was the Padres' fourth straight loss.
Richard (6-10) allowed two runs and five hits in 7 1/3 innings, striking out two and walking none for the third time in four starts. The left-hander has allowed at least one homer in each of his last five outings.
Richard didn't get to pitch after the All-Star break last year because of a shoulder strain that led to season-ending surgery on July 29. But this season, he and Edinson Volquez are the only Padres pitchers who haven't missed a turn in the rotation. Seven other starters are currently on the disabled list - Tim Stauffer, Micah Owings, Cory Luebke, Andrew Cashner, Anthony Bass, Joe Wieland, and Eric Stults.
The Padres scratched out a run in the second after Yasmani Grandal led off with a bloop double to left-center that Kemp inadvertently kicked toward the infield after attempting to short-hop the ball. Grandal scored on a groundout by Everth Cabrera.
Kemp raised his average to .360 with 12 home runs and 28 RBIs. The Dodgers were 24-27 in his absence.He participated in the Home Run Derby on Monday but he sat out the All-Star game after being voted as a starting outfielder.