BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Pedro Rodriguez filled in for Barcelona's missing star forwards by netting a hat trick in 10 minutes before setting up Cesc Fabregas twice as the visitors erased a two-goal deficit in a wild 5-2 win at Getafe on Sunday.
Barcelona's entertaining victory ensured the defending Spanish champions retained their share of the league lead with Atletico Madrid two rounds ahead of their meeting in the capital.
Real Madrid needed a late goal by substitute Jese Rodriguez to earn a 3-2 victory at Valencia to stay in third place and five points behind its title rivals.
With Barcelona's strike-duo Lionel Messi and Neymar unavailable, Getafe surged forward from the start and stunned the visitors' shaky defense with two goals in 15 minutes.
But Pedro led the comeback by scoring in the 34th, 41st and 43rd minutes to swing the match in Barcelona's favor before halftime.
Pedro crossed for Fabregas to score his first goal in the 68th before Pedro provoked a penalty in the 72nd that Fabregas converted to secure the result.
In his fifth season with Barcelona's first team, the 26-year-old Pedro has settled for a role of reserve player with the occasional start. Despite his limited playing time, Pedro's second treble of the season made him Barcelona's leading scorer in the league with 10 goals, tied for fourth best overall.
"I'm happy, confident and taking advantage of the opportunities my coach gives me," Pedro said. "The game was difficult. We didn't play well in the first few minutes, but we switched it on and pulled out the win."
Also, Athletic Bilbao beat Rayo Vallecano 2-1 at San Mames to strengthen its hold on fourth place.
Espanyol routed Valladolid 4-2 for its first win at home in four rounds, and Celta Vigo salvaged a 1-1 draw at home with Osasuna after Manuel "Lolo" Ortiz scored an own goal to cancel out teammate Emiliano Armenteros' opener.
Barcelona was without the injured Messi, Xavi Hernandez, and Victor Valdes, while Neymar was suspended.
But it was the first-choice defensive line that struggled early on, despite having Dani Alves back from a monthlong injury.
The Brazilian back looked rusty, Javier Mascherano was often out of position, and Gerard Pique conceded two unnecessary corner kicks— the second of which led to Getafe's second goal.
After Pique had missed a chance for Barcelona, left back Sergio Escudero worked a one-two with Angel Lafita to speed by Dani Alves and give Getafe the 10th-minute opener.