The Padres scratched across a run against Ronald Belisario in the seventh inning on Tuesday, the first run scored against the Dodgers bullpen in 2013. That gave the Padres the lead, then the flood gates burst open in the eighth inning to give the Dodgers an 9-3 loss in their first road game of the season.
Cameron Maybin greeted Belisario with a slow chopper behind the mound that got past shortstop Justin Sellers for an infield hit. After Maybin was sacrificed to second by Nick Hundley, pinch hitter Mark Kotsay doubled to right field to break the 3-3 tie. Kotsay is hitting .600 this season, with six hits in 10 at-bats.
The eighth inning provided even less relief for the Dodgers, after Paco Rodriguez and Matt Guerrier allowed an insurance run with a combined three walks and a single. Will Venable followed with a bases-loaded triple that ended the competitive phase of play. Venable, who also homered, matched his career high with four runs batted in for San Diego.
The bottom of the eighth inning for San Diego featured five walks, two singles, a triple, and five runs.
The game, which the Dodgers never led, featured a series of oddities and notable plays.
In the third inning, Carlos Quentin was called out for batters interference on a foul pop up just behind the plate. Quentin bumped into A.J. Ellis slightly, but appeared to have stepped out of the batters box while doing so.
Juan Uribe hit a ball over the now-closer wall in right field for his first home run of the season. Not only was it Uribe's first hit of the season and first home run since July 21, 2012, but it improved his career numbers against Clayton Richard to .393 (11-for-28) with three home runs. It also prompted this awesome celebration in the dugout between Uribe and Hanley Ramirez (hat tip to Mike Petriello at Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness):
In the fifth inning, Padres manager Bud Black sent Wednesday's starting pitcher, Eric Stults, in to pinch hit for Tuesday's starting pitcher Richard. Amazingly, Stults had four prior pinch hitting appearances in his career. But after his fly out to center, Stults is 0-for-5 with three strikeouts as a pinch hitter. Later in the game, Friday's scheduled Padres starer Tyson Ross was also used, as a pinch runner.
Matt Kemp had a double in five at-bats, and has three doubles in 24 at-bats on the season. Unfortunately for Kemp those are his only hits to date, as he doesn't yet have a single and is hitting just .120.
Andre Ethier was 2-for-4 for the game, including 2-for-3 against the southpaw Richard. On the season it has been bizarro world for Ethier, who is hitting .455 (5-for-11) against lefties and .182 (2-for-11) against righties.
Josh Beckett allowed two home runs for his second straight start (fourth, dating back to spring training) and was pulled for a pinch hitter in the sixth inning. It ended the Dodgers' streak of six straight quality starts to begin the year, the longest season-opening streak by the team since the 1972 squad started with 11 straight.
Beckett's early exit paved the way for starter-turned-reliever Chris Capuano to finally see some game action, his first of the year. He pitched a perfect sixth inning, something foretold by manager Don Mattingly before the game.
"This might be a good series for him. He's got good numbers against alot of those guys and there are spots in the lineup we can use him," Mattingly said. "The game tells me what to do. If our starters get us to the back end, and we have Kenley, Beli and Leaguer I'm going to use them. But I'm not afraid of using Cappy, it just has to be the right situation."
One thing that wasn't abnormal about Tuesday's game was Adrian Gonzalez continuing to torment his old team. He was 2-for-3 with a walk and drove in the tying run in the seventh inning with an opposite-field single to left field. Gonzalez has six consecutive two-hit games against the Padres and in 10 career games against his old club has eight multi-hit games, at least one hit in all 10 contests, and a .500 batting average (21-for-42). However on Tuesday Gonzalez was only 1-for-2 against Richard, lowering his career mark against the southpaw from .875 to .800.
Carl Crawford continued his stellar start to the season with two singles and a walk in five plate appearances. In the early going, Crawford is hitting .458 (11-for-24) with a .519 on-base percentage.
Chad Billingsley makes his 2013 debut on Wednesday in the same park he made his major league debut seven seasons ago. Old friend Eric Stults, the only Padres starting pitcher with a win this season, is scheduled to be on the hill for San Diego, still without a run charged to his ledger this season.
Home runs: Juan Uribe (1); Will Venable (1), Nick Hundley (1)
WP - Luke Gregerson (1-0): 1 up, 1 down
LP - Ronald Belisario (0-1): ⅔ IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk