The 33-year-old is the left-handed version of Don Sutton, a blue-collar, tough and gritty pitcher who doesn't strike out 13 a game of take a no-hitter into the sixth inning but keeps his team in the battle long enough that they have a chance to win.
That's not to say he himself wins; due to lack of support he has 14 no-decisions and the outstanding Dodgers' bullpen have let eight wins slip away.
In a perfect world, he could be gunning for his 19th win in his next start with visions of a 20-win season not out of reach. The Dodgers have gone 19-11 in the games Wolf has started -- the best record by any starter.
But now he has to be content with taking the ball every five days and keeping the opponents close enough to give his offense a fighting chance to record a win. Wolf went 4-1 with a 2.76 ERA in August, and he has gone at least six innings since June 24.
He finished his work after striking out five and giving up no runs. He retired the final 13 Padres who face him after allowing a two-out RBI single by Adrian Gonzalez in the third inning.
Wolf is 5-0 with a 2.09 ERA over his last five outings and it was the 18th time he has allowed fewer than three earned runs, but he has only a 9-1 record in those games.
After five months of the season, the word "ace" is finally being used in conjunction with his name, and deservedly so. But he don't see it that way. "I absolutely hate that term because I think it's completely overused and it floats. There's no such thing as a floating ace. Guys like a Roy Halladay and Johan Santana -- those guys are aces."
“I just appreciate the fact that when we’ve had off days that Joe lets me go on my fifth day, because I want to be out there as much as possible,” Wolf said after the win.
And he shrugged off talk about the no-decisions. “You can’t worry about that kind of stuff. You’ve got to move on and keep on grinding,” said Wolf sitting in the clubhouse with a bottle of Champagne that was waiting for him at his locker following the milestone win.
“I don’t feel like I’m pitching that much differently than I was early in the year. The difference now is that we’re playing better on the days I’ve pitched.”
The one offensive constant this season has been Andre Ethier, and the left-handed hitter lined his 37th double and added his 28th homer. James Loney's bat has seemingly finally awakened and he added a pair of RBI singles.
Rafael Furcal off the first with a single, drew a walk in the second and doubled in the sixth.
Los Angeles took a 7-2 lead into the ninth but James Loney was torched for three singles before Torre could get Jonathan Broxton ready.
The Padres, last in the NL West and 21 games behind the Dodgers, tagged him for an RBI single and a second run scored when the ball got past Ethier in right field.
With runners at second and third, Broxton struck out the next two Padres and finished the game off with a ground ball to short. It was his 32nd save of the season.
The Dodgers got some help from San Diego as they built a 6-2 lead after four innings.
Wolf allowed a run in the first before Rafael Furcal singled and Juan Pierre, starting in left field for the slumping Manny Ramirez, drew a walk. Matt Kemp's ground ball and Loney's RBI single made it 2-1.
The Dodgers scored a pair of unearned runs in the second inning without a hit. Russ Martin walked and with two out, Pierre grounded to short.
Everth Cabrera, who had three hits, also made three errors. He allowed Pierre's ground ball to roll past him, then picked it up in short left field as Martin scored. Cabrera's throw to the plate bounced past the catcher and Furcal scored.
After Martin's booming home run to center field, Cabrera recorded his third error in the fourth inning on a ground ball by Matt Kemp. Kemp stole second, his 30th of the year, and scored the Dodgers’ sixth run on Loney’s second RBI single. Ethier knocked in the final run with a double in the sixth.
After Wolf left the game, Ramon Troncoso and George Sherrill stopped the Padres in the eighth and McDonald was given the ball in the ninth.
The Dodgers keep pace with the Giants and Rockies, who both won. TheY lead the Rockies by 4 1/2 games and the Giants by 5 1/2 in the National League West.
The seven runs were a welcome change for the Dodgers and they hope to build on that today when the send
RHP Hiroki Kuroda (5-5, 4.08 ERA) to the mound for the first time since he took a hard shot off the head. Kuroda said he's fully recovered from the concussion caused by a line drive but he will be pitching in the shadows during the Dodgers' five p.m. start.
San Diego will counter with RHP Tim Stauffer (3-6, 3.76 ERA) who worked past five innings for the first time in a month, allowing the Nationals one run in 6.2 innings.
Score by Innings
San Diego 101 000 002-4
Los Angeles 220 201 00x-7
Dodgers ab r h bi ave
Furcal ss 4 3 2 0 .255
Pierre lf 4 0 0 0 .319
Ethier rf 5 2 2 2 .284
Kemp cf 5 1 0 1 .308
Loney 1b 2 0 2 2 .276
Billiard 3b 4 0 1 0 .252
Martin c 3 1 1 0 .256
Hudson 2b 3 0 1 0 .291
Wolf p 3 0 0 0 .180
Thome ph 1 0 0 0 .251
Troncoso p 0 0 0 0 .000
Sherrill p 0 0 0 0 .000
McDonald p 0 0 0 0 .000
Broxton p 0 0 0 0 .000
Totals 37 7 9 5
San Diego 36 4 10 3
Error- Ethier (4). 2B- Belliard (8),
Furcal (22). HR- Ethier (28), RBI- Kemp
(88), Loney 2 (77), Ethier 2 (90).
LOB- Los Angeles 9, San Diego 6.
SB- Kemp (30), Martin (10). CS- Loney
Dodgers in h r-er bb so era
Wolf (10-6) 7.0 4 2-2 0 5 3.22
Troncoso 0.2 2 0-0 0 1 2.52
Sherrill 0.1 0 0-0 0 0 1.86
Mcdonald 0.0 3 2-1 0 0 4.22
Broxton (sv 32) 1.0 1 0-0 0 2 2.62
T- 3:10. Att- 53,368.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Despite their struggles, the Dodgers share the league's top record with the Cardinals, two games ahead of the Phillies (77-56). ...The last player to record his 100th win in a Dodgers uniform was Derek Lowe on Sept. 27, 2006. ...Russell Martin stole his 59th career base on Saturday to tie Johnny Roseboro for the most stolen bases by a catcher in Dodgers history. ... Dodgers pitchers did not walk a batter for the eighth time this season on Saturday against the Padres. The last time the Dodgers accomplished the feat was on Aug. 17 against the Cardinals. ...Jim Tome pinch-hit for Wolf and struck out for the 2,307th time in his career, breaking a tie with Sammy Sosa for second place on the career list. Reggie Jackson tops that list with 2,597. ...Twenty of Ethier’s 28 home runs have come with the bases empty. Since the start of last season, 34 of his 48 homers have been solo shots. ...Kemp reached 30 steals for the second straight season after getting 35 last year. ...Ramirez, who in a 2-for-14 slump and batting .239 over his last 20 games, and third baseman Casey Blake, who has a tight hamstrick, got the night off.