The Dodgers got pretty much exactly what they wanted and needed out of Scott Baker on Sunday afternoon, but the offense wasn't up to the task in a 3-1 loss to the Padres in the series finale at Petco Park.
Baker, called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City earlier in the day, lasted seven innings, matching Zack Greinke (twice) and Brandon McCarthy (once) for the longest start by a Dodgers pitcher this season. Baker allowed three runs on four hits, walking two and striking out six.
Justin Upton, who has three home runs against the Dodgers this season, was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts against Baker on Sunday, but a pair of home runs against Baker did loom large.
Alexi Amarista ended a 10-pitch a-bat in the third inning with a home run to right field for his first of the season. In the seventh inning, catcher Derek Norris hit his first home run of the season, widening San Diego's lead from 2-1 to 3-1 when Don Mattingly was trying to coax an extra frame out of his starting pitcher.
But it was the Dodgers offense that was as much to blame as anything for Sunday's loss, with only six players reaching base. Brandon Morrow pitched seven strong innings for the win for San Diego, and two of his hits allowed, as well as the only run, were because of one man.
Alex the great
Alex Guerrero remained on fire, making his fourth start of the season at third base. Guerrero singled just out of the reach of Amarista at shortstop in the third inning, then in the fifth took Morrow deep for his fifth home run of the season.
Guerrero is also, despite starting only four times in 18 games, second on the team in RBI.
The Dodgers record for RBI in a month with 50 or fewer plate appearances is 17, set by Babe Herman in 1930. Guerrero is sitting on 13 RBI in only 24 PA, with three more games remaining in the month.
Put there's still a strong chance Guerrero won't top 30 PA this month, so if we lower the bar to no more than 30 PA, Guerrero is in some select major league company, alongside Hall of Famers Willie McCovey and Tony Perez, and Roosevelt Brown.
The Dodgers have every reason to remain confident at third base with Juan Uribe and Justin Turner. But Guerrero, now hitting .500/.500/1.273, is doing everything in his power to earn more playing time. He's breaking down just about every door put in front of him, but it's understandable if Guerrero is starting to feel a little bit like Maxwell Smart.
The Dodgers return home to Dodger Stadium, looking to return the favor to the Giants after this week's sweep. Brett Anderson starts the opener on Monday night, with Tim Lincecum on the mound for San Francisco.
Home runs: Alex Guerrero (5); Alexi Amarista (1), Derek Norris (1)
WP - Brandon Morrow (1-0): 7 IP, 5 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
LP - Scott Baker (0-1): 7 IP, 4 hits, 3 runs, 2 strikeouts, 6 strikeouts
Sv - Craig Kimbrel (6): 1 IP, 2 strikeouts