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Dodgers Avoid Sweep, Drop Padres to Second Place

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Hiroki Kuroda provided a masterful starting pitching performance for eight innings on only 98 pitches and the Dodgers supplied just enough offense to make it hold up for a win, as Los Angeles defeated the San Diego Padres 3-1.

Andre Ethier drove in Rafael Furcal with hits in his first two plate appearances and Rod Barajas completed the scoring by drawing a bases-loaded walk off reliever Ernesto Frieri in the sixth inning.  Losing starter Mat Latos began the sixth by yielding a walk to Ethier and a double to Jay Gibbons before being pulled by manager Bud Black after throwing 91 pitches.  The bases were full due to Black's decision to intentionally walk James Loney in order to pitch to Casey Blake - who popped out - and Barajas.

After the game, Ethier did say that Latos looked as good as he had before and "was still hitting his spots", but that everyone is a little tired at this time of the season.

Kuroda's five-hit, no unintentional walk outing earned him his career-best eleventh win of the year and he also set a career high by completing his 190th inning this season.  This is where a Kuroda quote would appear, but he was surrounded by about a dozen members of the Japanese media and Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times. Barajas did say that Kuroda had "great stuff".

Hong-Chih Kuo capped the game by striking out the side in the ninth for his tenth save.

With the loss, the Padres are now in second place in the NL West, trailing the San Francisco Giants by 0.5 games.

The Dodgers head to Arizona where Clayton Kershaw will start the opener against Barry Enright.

WP - Hiroki Kuroda (11-13):  8 IP, 5 hits, 1 run, 1 walk (intentional), 4 strikeouts, 98 pitches

LP - Mat Latos (14-8):  5+ IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Sv - Hong-Chih Kuo (10):  1 IP, 3 strikeouts, no baserunners

Box Score