San Diego Padres starter Clayton Richard pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2009, in San Diego. Richard pitched seven innings and allowed no runs and only one hit. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
SAN DIEGO (AP) - Clayton Richard stopped the Los Angeles Dodgers from clinching the NL West title, throwing seven sharp innings to lead the San Diego Padres to a 5-0 victory on Wednesday night.
The Dodgers equaled their season high with their fourth consecutive loss, failing once again to secure its second consecutive division title for the first time since 1977-78. They beat Pittsburgh 8-4 on Saturday night to wrap up a playoff berth.
Los Angeles' lead was trimmed to 2½ games by Colorado, which beat Milwaukee 10-6 and now controls its destiny. The Rockies host the Brewers on Thursday before finishing the season with three games against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
The Dodgers had a six-game lead with seven games remaining after Saturday's win. Los Angeles has dropped six of eight overall, all on the road to sub-.500 teams.
Richard (5-2) surrendered Los Angeles' only hit, a first-inning single by Matt Kemp. The rookie left-hander, acquired from the Chicago White Sox in the Jake Peavy trade, walked three, struck out two and allowed just one runner to reach second.
Mike Adams and rookie Luke Gregerson each got three outs to finish up.
Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a three-run homer for San Diego, which has gone 10-4 in September against NL West playoff contenders Los Angeles, Colorado and San Francisco.
The Dodgers (93-66), who are in the playoffs for the third time in four seasons, have scored one run or less four times in their last six games. Los Angeles' lead for the home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs was cut to a half-game over Philadelphia (92-66), which beat Houston 10-3 to clinch the East title.
Kouzmanoff hit his 18th homer off Jon Garland (11-13) in the third inning to put the Padres ahead 4-0.
Rookie Everth Cabrera scored a run on a bizarre play in the fourth. Third baseman Mark Loretta collided with Cabrera in a rundown. As Loretta fell to the turf, he grabbed Cabrera's leg while the rookie was attempting to get back to third. Loretta was charged with an error and Cabrera was awarded home on the obstruction call.
Garland allowed five runs - four earned - on seven hits in 3 1-3 innings.
NOTES: San Diego has thrown three combined one-hitters this season and has 23 one-hitters in its history. The Padres are one of four clubs who have never had a pitcher throw a no-hitter. ... Dodgers manager Joe Torre said LHP Clayton Kershaw will start Saturday against Colorado. ... Dodgers RHP Hiroki Kuroda reported a stiff neck after running on Tuesday. ... Los Angeles 3B Casey Blake (strained left hamstring) missed his eighth straight game and Ronnie Belliard (groin) sat out his second consecutive game.