Denorfia hits Padres' third inside-the-parker

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.