That a bench-clearing pseudo incident was the highlight of Tuesday's game at Petco Park tells the current state of the Dodgers offense, as Los Angeles dropped its series opener to the Padres 2-1 in San Diego.
In the battle for the second wild card spot in the National League, the Dodgers now find themselves 4½ games behind the St. Louis Cardinals, who beat the Houston Astros 4-0 on Tuesday. The Dodgers now have an elimination number of just four.
With 15 scenarios remaining (eight Dodgers games, seven Cardinals games), the Dodgers need 12 to go their way just to force a tie with St. Louis.
Down two runs in the ninth, the Dodgers started off the inning with a single by Luis Cruz, his third hit of the night, and an RBI double by A.J. Ellis. Pinch runner Dee Gordon advanced to third on a sacrifice by pinch bunter Nick Punto, but after a walk to Mark Ellis, Huston Street struck out Andre Ethier and got Matt Kemp to fly out to end the game.
The "incident" came in the seventh inning, when Padres second baseman Logan Forsythe hit into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. While sliding into second base, Everth Cabrera put his hands up and into the groin area of Mark Ellis as he turned the double play.
Watching the replay, it appeared that Cabrera offered something of an apology to Ellis, but left fielder Shane Victorino came running in and yelling at Cabrera to escalate the situation. At this point, both benches cleared but it was really a pair of halfhearted attempts at rage. Matt Kemp played the role of peacemaking ground traffic controller, motioning for both teams to go back to their dugouts.
The Dodgers put runners on in every inning but the fourth and the seventh, but couldn't score until the ninth inning.
Adrian Gonzalez did go 2-for-4 in his return to San Diego, and continues to bat .500 (15-for-30) in his career against the Padres.
The Dodgers have alternated losses and wins for their last seven games, and look to continue the trend on Wednesday afternoon in a weird San Diego 3:35 p.m. start. Aaron Harang gets his sixth try at his 10th win of the season for the Dodgers, while Clayton Richard is the scheduled starter for San Diego.
Home Runs: none
WP - Edinson Volquez (11-11): 7 IP, 6 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
LP - Josh Beckett (6-14): 5 2/3 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), 2 walks, 7 strikeouts
Sv - Huston Street (23): 1 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 1 strikeout