SAN DIEGO — Once again, Matt Kemp was too much for the San Diego Padres.
Kemp had four hits, falling a triple shy of the cycle, and four RBIs and the Los Angeles Dodgers used a rare offensive outburst to beat the San Diego Padres 8-2 Wednesday to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
Los Angeles, which has struggled for the better part of a month, entered the game tied with Milwaukee, 4½ games behind St. Louis for the second NL wild card berth.
Kemp singled and scored in the first inning, hit a two-run double in the fourth and drove a two run homer well over the fence in center in the sixth, his 20th. His four hits and four RBIs tied his season highs.
In 17 games against San Diego this year, he's hitting .407 with seven homers and 19 RBIs.
"If you find that reason, I'll make the adjustment," San Diego starter Clayton Richard said when asked why Kemp has hit so well against the Padres. "He's a great hitter and he takes advantage of mistakes as well as anybody. You can't make mistakes against him."
The Dodgers won for just the 13th time in 33 games since Aug. 19, the last time they were in first place in the NL West. They then went into a dive and were overhauled by the San Francisco Giants, who clinched the division title Friday night with an 8-4 win against the Padres.
Juan Rivera hit a solo homer, Nick Punto hit three singles and scored four runs, and Adrian Gonzalez hit two RBI singles.
Aaron Harang (10-10), San Diego's opening day starter in 2011, held San Diego to four singles in 5 1-3 innings, walked four and struck out three. He didn't allow a hit until Everth Cabrera beat out a single to deep shortstop with two outs in the fifth. Harang loaded the bases on three straight singles with one out in the sixth before giving way to Shawn Tolleson, who got the final two outs.
The Dodgers lost each of Harang's previous five starts. They'd also lost three straight games overall to the Padres, and five of six after winning eight of the first 10 games this season.
Harang hit a standup double in the sixth but was thrown out trying to take third on Punto's grounder to shortstop. Kemp followed with his homer, off Anthony Bass, for an 8-0 lead.
"He was good enough," San Diego manager Bud Black said of Harang. "We couldn't get to him. His mix of pitches was solid. We just didn't see him tonight."
The Dodgers jumped on Richard (14-13), who had been 5-0 in his last six starts, all won by the Padres. Richard allowed six runs, four earned, on 10 hits in 3 2-3 innings, with two strikeouts and no walks.
Punto singled in the first, third and fourth innings, and scored each time.
Richard allowed four straight singles with one out in the first, with Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez each driving in a run. Gonzalez had another RBI single in the third.
Rivera, starting in right because Andre Ethier had a .143 career average against Richard, led off the fourth with a homer to left, his eighth. Matt Treanor reached on an error by left fielder Jesus Guzman. Punto singled with two outs and Kemp drove them both in with a double off the wall in center for a 6-0 lead.
San Diego's Chase Headley hit an RBI double in the seventh and Yasmani Grandal followed with an RBI single.
NOTES: Punto started at second because Mark Ellis was sick. ... The Padres had won 14 of 17 at Petco Park since Aug. 19. ... In his previous four starts at Petco Park, Richard had been 4-0 with a 0.87 ERA. ... The series concludes Thursday night when Dodgers lefty Chris Capuano (11-11, 3.74) is scheduled to start against rookie righty Casey Kelly (2-2, 5.55).