Ethier hit a 2-1 fastball from Padres reliever Luke Gregerson off the right-field fence to bring home Rafael Furcal, who had singled earlier in the inning before Orlando Hudson singled and Manny Ramirez was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Ethier, though, was just trying to lift the ball into the outfield for a game-winning sacrifice fly, but he just so happened to make solid contact with the inside fastball -- much to the delight of the 47,680 in attendance.
"You know the pressure is on them, so you can't force the situation," Ethier said. "A sacrifice fly can win the game, and you just don't want to hit on the ground. Fortunately, I got a pitch I could drive."
The win was well-earned for the Dodgers' pitching staff, as Randy Wolf, Ramon Troncoso, Cory Wade and Guillermo Mota combined to allow just three hits against the Padres over 10 innings.
Wolf was sharp, allowing just two hits and one earned run over 5 1/3 innings, but he suffered from some control problems while walking four and he made 103 pitches over those inning.
"He was good," Torre said. "But then he kind of got outside of himself and threw a lot of pitches. But again, he's a pro. I can trust and I think that's the highest praise I can pay him."
Wolf's lone blemish came in the first inning on a home run by Edgar Gonzalez that gave the Padres an early lead. But Wolf didn't allow another hit until the sixth inning, when Adrian Gonzalez hit an infield single that was corralled by Orlando Hudson, though it loaded the bases with one out.
Wolf was then taken out of the game in favor of Troncoso, which turned out to be a wise decision -- as Troncoso got Kevin Kouzmanoff to ground into an inning-ending double play to end the potential rally. Troncoso and Wade then combined for 3 2/3 perfect innings. Guillermo Mota, who allowed a single and an intentional walk, got the win by throwing a scoreless 10th inning.
"Our bullpen was magnificent," Torre said. "There wasn't any room for error, but we pitched great. Troncoso certainly kept the game where it was with that double play and his next inning. And Cory Wade, we didn't want to pitch him two innings, but he threw just four pitches in his first inning. It just fell right for us."
The Dodgers scored their first run in the third inning after Wolf doubled down the right-field line and scored on a single by Furcal. The Dodgers, though, wasted a chance in the sixth with runners on second and third and no outs, as Russell Martin grounded out to short and Matt Kemp lined into an inning-ending double play.
The Dodgers struggled against the Padres' Chris Young yet again, as the big right-hander allowed just one run and six hits over seven innings while striking out five and walking two. Young had already defeated the Dodgers once earlier this season, when he allowed just two hits over six innings April 7.
"We didn't a have a good plan against Young," Torre said. "We were better than last time against him than last time, but he still had an easy time with us."
With the win, the Dodgers tied the 1946 Brooklyn Dodgers for the best home start in franchise history.
Winning at home has been a theme for the Dodgers, and it's something Ethier thinks will be important for the rest of the season.
"It's key to winning this division -- playing well at home," Ethier said. "We've been playing well at home so far. If you can win at home, then you can better your chances of being in a better spot at the end of the season."