LOS ANGELES -- Padres outfielder Will Venable saw two "soap bubble" pitches from Dodgers pitcher Vicente Padilla on Wednesday.

"It's a funny little pitch," Venable said.

The pitch, which is a curveball thrown at speeds that seldom exceed 60 mph, was one Padilla used on occasion on his way to a shutout of the Padres, 9-0. Padilla took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before Ryan Ludwick singled with one out.

Venable had a simple approach to the pitch, one that comes in with a high arc and, if thrown correctly, breaks sharply as it passes through the strike zone.

"It might be different for other guys ... but I told myself I wasn't going to swing at it," Venable said. "I didn't know how consistently he threw it for strikes, so I wasn't going to swing at it.

"As soon as it came out of his hand, I was in auto-take mode."

San Diego manager Bud Black was more impressed with the 94 mph fastballs Padilla threw, though he admitted the "soap bubble," as Dodgers announcer Vin Scully calls it, can be effective.

"It's the way he pitches," Black said. "He's got that rare ability to flip that curve up there with good arm speed. That's hard to do."

Denorfia hits Padres' third inside-the-parker

LOS ANGELES -- With a runner on first base and no outs Thursday, Chris Denorfia was given specific marching orders on what to do during his ninth-inning at-bat against the Dodgers.

Get a bunt down, move the runner over.

But when Denorfia couldn't move Tony Gwynn along to second base, he swung the bat and ended up with a distinctive twist on one of baseball's most exciting plays -- the inside-the-park home run.

With the Padres leading, 3-0, in the top of the ninth inning, Denorfia chopped a ball over the head of Dodgers third baseman Casey Blake and down the-left field line.

His first thought? Double.

His last thought? Being able to circle the bases.

"I kept my eye on it long enough to see it go over Blake's head. I was thinking double," Denorfia said.

But Dodgers left fielder Scott Podsednik, who was acquired from Kansas City on Saturday, had trouble corralling the ball in foul territory as he hesitated to try to sidestep the tarp located down the left-field line.

"It hugged up under the tarp and got by me. I didn't know what it was going to do. Now I know," Podsednik said.

In a split-second, ball was rolling by him, as Gwynn scored easily and Denorfia, who has good speed, circled the bases and scored.

"I put my head down and started running," Gwynn said. "When I got to third, I started to slow down. But Hoffy [third base coach Glenn Hoffman] kept waving me. I still don't know what happened."

That made it 5-0, as the Padres finished off the Dodgers in the bottom of the inning to gain a split of a four-game series.

That was the third inside-the-park home run for the Padres this season. Gwynn has the other two.

Gwynn returns after battling neck soreness

LOS ANGELES -- Padres outfielder Tony Gwynn, who wasn't available in Wednesday's game against the Dodgers, said he has learned an important lesson after sleeping on a bad pillow left him with a sore neck.

"I'm definitely going to take one on the road now," Gwynn said. "With all the places that we go on the road, you can't think like it's going to be like home."

Gwynn, who was back in the starting lineup on Thursday, said that he awoke Wednesday at the team hotel with a sore neck. It was, he said, the result of sleeping awkwardly on a down pillow.

"I had a crick in my neck and I knew it was going to be rough," Gwynn said. " ... By the time the game came around, I had been going through spasms."

Gwynn even had trouble taking batting practice for the simple fact that he could not turn his head without pain.

"By the end of yesterday, I barely wanted to move," he said.

Adams throws scoreless inning in rehab

LOS ANGELES -- Padres reliever Mike Adams tossed a scoreless inning in his Minor League rehabilitation assignment with Double-A San Antonio on Thursday.

Adams, who has been on the disabled list since July 12 with a left oblique strain, will likely join the team in Arizona on Friday, when the Padres begin a three-game series against the D-backs.

Manager Bud Black didn't say when or if Adams would be reinstated from the disabled list, though.

Adams, the Padres' eighth-inning specialist, suffered the injury in the last game before the All-Star break in Colorado. He's 2-1 with a 2.18 ERA in 42 games this season.

Like many, Garland on A-Rod's homer list

LOS ANGELES -- Padres starting pitcher Jon Garland took notice of Alex Rodriguez's 600th home run Wednesday because he, like a lot of other pitchers, had a part in helping Rodriguez get there.

In fact, it was Garland who allowed Rodriguez's 200th home run while pitching for the White Sox on May 12, 2001.

"That's not the only list I'm on," Garland said. "I gave up homers to [Rafael] Palmeiro and [Sammy] Sosa deep in their counts. I guess the longer you're around, the odds go up. I knew I had given up his 200th because they put the list up a couple of weeks ago."

Garland allowed Palmeiro's 430th career home run on Aug. 16, 2001. He also allowed Sosa's 475th home run on June 14, 2002.