Carl Crawford, A.J. Ellis power Dodgers to 4-3 win

US PRESSWIRE

Two home runs backed Chad Billingsley's return to the mound in a win in San Diego.

Carl Crawford and A.J. Ellis each homered, and Chad Billingsley was stingy in his 2013 debut, leading the Dodgers over the Padres 4-3 on Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego.

The Padres scored two runs and put the tying and winning runs on base in the ninth inning, including scoring a run with two outs on a strikeout and passed ball, but Brandon League recorded the final three outs for his third save of the season.

The Dodgers continued their struggles with runners in scoring position, with just one hit in eight at-bats on the night in those situations. On the season the club is hitting just .155 (11-for-71) with runners in scoring position, 15th out of 16 National League teams.

But with the power display on Wednesday, the Dodgers didn't necessarily need runners in scoring position to put up runs.

Crawford led off the game with an opposite-field home run to left field, his first home run as a Dodger and the eighth leadoff home run in his career. Before Wednesday, the last time Crawford led off the first inning with a home run was against Tomo Ohka of Toronto on Apr. 7, 2007. Crawford later tripled and scored in the fifth, and is hitting .464/.531/.714 on the season.

The last Dodger to homer and triple in the same game was Jerry Hairston Jr., who did so last May 4 against the Cubs, falling just a double short of the cycle.

The second-inning home run for Ellis was also his first, putting him in a six-way tie for the club lead in taters. It was a two-run shot, thanks to Luis Cruz snapping his 0-for-17 skid with a single to lead off the inning. Cruz had two hits on the night, as did fellow slumper Matt Kemp, who increased his batting average from .120 to .167 in one game.

Kemp narrowly missed a home run in the ninth inning as he hit a ball near the top of the Western Metal Supply Building down the left field line, easily the hardest hit ball by Kemp so far this season, but the ball was foul.

The run support backed Billingsley, who had a solid return to the mound. Billingsley, in his first major league outing since Aug. 24, allowed just one run on four hits in six innings, with three walks and three strikeouts. Dating back to last season, Billingsley has won seven straight decisions, and in his last eight starts - all Dodgers wins - he is 7-0 with a 1.76 ERA.

Notes

  • Justin Sellers went 2-for-3 with a walk, and since starting the season 0-15 he has four hits, including a home runs, and two walks in eight plate appearances.
  • Adrian Gonzalez hit a ground ball single in the ninth inning to extend his hitting streak against his former team to 11 games. Gonzalez, who has at least one hit in every game he has played against the Padres, is hitting .468 (22-for-47) against them.
  • Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso played the ninth inning at second base, after the Padres ran out of infielders after a few moves. It was the first time in the majors or minors that Alonso played second base. After missing a rather easy grounder (Gonzalez's single), Alonso was moved to third base, where he last played one full game in 2011 with the Reds. With the right-handed Cruz up, Alonso moved back to second base. That was fun.
  • Nick Hundley went 4-for-4 with a double for the Padres.
  • In case you missed it, here is Vin Scully on hashtags and DogTV.

Wednesday's particulars

Home runs: Carl Crawford (1), A.J. Ellis (1)

WP - Chad Billingsley (1-0): 6 IP, 5 hits, 1 run, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts

LP - Eric Stults (1-1): 5 IP, 8 hits, 4 runs, 4 strikeouts

Sv - Brandon League (3): 1 IP, 3 hits, 2 run, 1 strikeout

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