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Poor Eighth Inning Dooms Dodgers

Matt Guerrier has allowed eight runs and 13 baserunners in his last 4 2/3 innings.
Matt Guerrier has allowed eight runs and 13 baserunners in his last 4 2/3 innings.

Matt Guerrier had a bad eighth inning for the second Saturday in a row, with some help from Dioner Navarro, as the Dodgers lost to the Padres 5-2 at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers closed out their up and down April with a 14-14 record. Guerrier allowed three runs on three hits and two walks to break a 2-2 tie in the eighth, although aspiring bullfighter Navarro contributed with a pair of oles.

Navarro entered the game after catcher Rod Barajas was removed for a pinch runner in the bottom of the seventh, a runner (Russell Mitchell) who scored the tying run on a pinch RBI single by Tony Gwynn. With the bases loaded and two outs, Navarro tried to backhand a wild pitch from Guerrier, but the ball got by him to the backstop allowing the go-ahead run to score. Then, Cameron Maybin delivered an RBI single to left field that Jerry Sands fielded and delivered a perfect throw to Navarro, who caught it then simply dropped the ball as he weakly moved to the side as he tried to tag Ryan Ludwick.

The eighth inning highlighted a pair of problems with this Dodger team. First, for all the talk of demoting closer Jonathan Broxton, the issue of his replacement always seems to yield an answer that isn't much of an improvement, if at all, over Broxton. Also, the Dodgers did score only two runs off Tim Stauffer, which is never a recipe for success. The offense is built around Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, with little else, especially with half of the infield on the disabled list. Kemp and Ethier tonight were 3-for-8, while the rest of the team was 4-for-25.

Earlier in the game, one half-inning after Andre Ethier extended his hitting streak to 26 games with a single off Tim Stauffer, Ethier turned in a fine defensive inning. With one out he made a sliding catch in right field, then threw home and nearly got Maybin, though it turned out the play was only close because the speedy Maybin had trouble getting back to third base to tag on the play. Ethier got his assist on a single by Ludwick, nailing Jason Bartlett at third base. However, a run scored on the play, giving the Padres a 2-1 lead.

Lost in the late inning sadness was the seven innings of gladness brought by Hiroki Kuroda. He allowed two runs and seven baserunners while striking out seven, but was stuck with a no-decision. Kuroda ended the month leading the Dodgers in wins, ERA, and innings pitched.

Jon Garland and Dustin Moseley face off in tomorrow's finale.

WP - Luke Gregerson (1-1): 1/3 IP, 1 hit

LP - Matt Guerrier (2-2): 1 IP, 3 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 2 walks

Sv - Heath Bell (6): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 strikeout

Box Score