The Dodgers' offense today consisted of small ball and wishcasting, and the resulting small margin for error proved too difficult to overcome, as the Padres rode the long ball to a 7-2 victory in the final game of the series at Petco Park. The Dodgers gave up two home runs in nine games at Petco Park last season, and none in the first two games of this series, but allowed three home runs to San Diego today.
The Dodgers turned back the clock in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. Tony Gwynn Jr. led off the game with a walk, stole second base, then advanced to third base on a sacrifice by Aaron Miles. Andre Ethier topped a ground ball back to pitcher Aaron Harang, and Gwynn got a great jump off third base to score easily on the play. In the inning, the Dodgers didn't get a hit and they didn't hit the ball out of the infield, but still led 1-0.
With the way their pitching has been this weekend, the thought occurred that that score might hold up. San Diego scored two runs in the fifth inning on Friday night, and didn't put another run across home plate for the next 17 innings.
John Ely was living dangerously for awhile, but got away with it at first. He allowed a double to Brad Hawpe in the second, which was followed by a towering drive by Ryan Ludwick down the line in left that looked like it might have a chance to clear the wall, but Gwynn caught the ball at the warning track. Ely escaped that inning unscathed, but the Padres scored single runs in the next two frames, capped off by a no-doubter home run by Ludwick to left field.
Entering the sixth inning, Ely had given up just two runs on four hits and two walks while fanning three Padres, and he began what would be his final inning with back-to-back strikeouts. For a fill-in start especially, Ely was delivering just what the oblique doctor had ordered. But then, the wheels came off as Ely never got that elusive 18th out. He walked Ludwick with two outs, then gave up an absolute bomb to Nick Hundley, well over the centerfield wall to make the score 4-1 San Diego.
The home run bug was contagious in the Dodger ranks today, as Kenley Jansen also gave up a no-doubter to center by Cameron Maybin in the seventh inning.
The Dodgers scored their second run of the day in the seventh inning, when Matt Kemp stole second base after collecting his seventh hit of the weekend series (Kemp would add another hit in the ninth inning). James Loney tapped back to Harang, who had Kemp hung up between second and third base. Harang threw over to third base, but his throw sailed over Jorge Cantu's head and down the line, allowing Kemp to score easily. Both Dodger runs today scored on ground balls to the pitcher.
The Dodger offensive train hopes to refuel at its next stop, as the team Huffs and puffs their way up to San Francisco for a three-game series beginning Monday night. Clayton Kershaw will face Madison Bumgarner in Monday's opener at AT&T Park.
Jon Garland allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings in a rehab start with Class A Rancho Cucamonga today. Ken Gurnick of MLB.com has the details.
WP - Aaron Harang (2-0): 6 IP, 3 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), 2 walks, 2 strikeouts
LP - John Ely (0-1): 5 2/3 IP, 6 hits, 4 runs, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts