"It's not very pretty right now," said manager Joe Torre.
Padilla, after allowing four runs in five innings in his most recent start, was pounded for eight runs in 4 1/3 innings, including a three-run homer by Troy Glaus that ended his day. In two starts since a two-hit shutout over the Padres, Padilla's ERA has gone from 3.09 to 3.96.
The Dodgers' offense -- with Casey Blake, Jamey Carroll, Manny Ramirez, Rafael Furcal and Russell Martin disabled -- scored its only run off Jair Jurrjens on a seventh-inning double play by Brad Ausmus. The three runs the Dodgers have scored in the last two games have come on outs. They are 0-for-20 with runners in scoring position in the series that wraps up Monday night.
"Fall behind, 8-0, [after five innings], I'm not sure how many teams look good," said Torre. "Add to it one ball was lost in the sun [by Jay Gibbons], a couple bloop hits for runs in the eighth inning, and it just got uglier and uglier."
And there was a baserunning mishap, Ryan Theriot gunned down by the former pitching arm of center fielder Rick Ankiel, trying to go from first to third on Andre Ethier's sixth-inning single down by eight runs.
The first-place Braves had three four-run innings, each rally totaling more runs than the Dodgers have scored in the first three games of this series combined.
Torre said there's still fight in his club.
"Certainly, we're not playing like a club that's been to the postseason the last couple of years," he said. "It's up to us to change, not to prove to anybody else but to ourselves, to continue to go out and fight for what we need to get. I don't see anybody throwing their hands up and quitting. We got our butts whipped, but that's not indicative of how we go about it.
"We have to turn the page, come back [Monday] and try to get a split before we go home. We got to a point of a tough stretch and we've got to get our swagger back, come out expecting to win instead of hoping to. Our success is based on how well we pitch, and we didn't pitch well."
Now that Ted Lilly has become the Padilla of this year, what's become of the real Padilla in his last two starts?
"They were hitting it everywhere, that's the problem," said Padilla, the 12 earned runs he's allowed on this trip equaling the amount of his previous nine starts.
"I'm not making excuses, it was one of those days. You've got to give credit to the team in first place right now."
Padilla also said it was "bad luck" that a lot of balls hit by the Braves found holes.
Atlanta manager Bobby Cox didn't sound like he believed luck had anything to do with it.
"We did a good job of going the opposite way, which is always a good idea against Padilla," said Cox. "He's tricky, sneaky quick and he has the 55-mph curve. If you try to pull him, pull him and pull him, you're not going to win the battle."
The slow curve that Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully calls the "Soap Bubble," which has been so good to Padilla this year, got him into trouble in a four-run third inning. Brooks Conrad led off with a single to right field and Melky Cabrera followed by lacing a 55-mph backdoor curve to the left-center gap, scoring Conrad even though he stumbled rounding third base. Padilla didn't throw the pitch again.
Alex Gonzalez, who had four RBIs, had a two-run triple in the fourth. Glaus slugged a three-run homer in the fifth to chase Padilla, and Ronald Belisario was charged with four runs in the eighth after pitching a scoreless seventh inning.
The Dodgers couldn't convert on three decent chances to score off Jurrjens before they finally ruined the shutout in the seventh, after loading the bases on a single by Matt Kemp, a hit by pitch on Ronnie Belliard and a walk to Juan Castro. Ausmus bounced into a double play as Kemp scored.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.