SAN DIEGO - Claudio Vargas combined with three relievers on a five-hitter and helped himself with a two-run double to lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 5-3 win over the San Diego Padres on Saturday.
The Diamondbacks popped back above .500 and regained sole possession of second place in the moribund NL West. The Diamondbacks and Padres entered the day tied for second in the division and a game behind Cincinnati in the NL wild-card race.
The defending division champion Padres lost for the ninth time in 12 games.
The inconsistent Padres, who beat the Diamondbacks 8-2 on Friday night, managed only three hits and one run off Vargas (10-8) in seven innings. The right-hander struck out five and walked two in his third straight strong start.
Brandon Lyon allowed one hit in the eighth and Jorge Julio walked the bases loaded with two outs in the ninth before making way for rookie Tony Pena. Pena gave up an RBI single to Geoff Blum and walked pinch-hitter Mike Piazza before striking out Mark Bellhorn for his first career save.
Vargas came in with only three hits this year, but two were doubles. He hit another one with two outs in the fifth to give the Diamondbacks a 2-0 lead.
Padres rookie Mike Thompson (3-4), making an emergency start for Clay Hensley, had faced just one batter over the minimum until center fielder Mike Cameron misplayed Orlando Hudson's fly ball into a double with one out in the fifth. After Stephen Drew struck out, catcher Chris Snyder was intentionally walked to get to Vargas. The pitcher promptly doubled into the gap in left-center.
The Diamondbacks scored two more runs in the sixth, although it could have been more. Conor Jackson walked and Shawn Green singled with one out. Green was called out at second on Orlando Hudson grounder to shortstop Blum even though rookie second baseman Josh Barfield dropped the throw, giving the Diamondbacks runners on first and third.
After manager Bob Melvin unsuccessfully argued with second base umpire Mike Everitt, Drew singled to right to score Jackson and chase Thompson. Hudson scored on a wild pitch by Doug Brocail.
Drew doubled in the ninth and eventually scored on Eric Byrnes' sacrifice fly.
Hensley felt pain in his left buttocks in recent days, so Thompson was summoned Friday night from Las Vegas. He was preparing to fly to Portland, Ore., where he had been scheduled to start Saturday night for the Triple-A Beavers. It was the fourth time Thompson was brought up this year.
He allowed four runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings, walked three and struck out two.
San Diego got its run in the fifth when Todd Walker tripled to right-center with one out and scored on Geoff Blum's sacrifice fly.
Notes:@ Including Saturday, Vargas has a 1.86 ERA in his last three starts, having allowed four earned runs and 15 hits in 19 1-3 innings. ... Padres SS Khalil Greene was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left middle finger.