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Wild night ends with Dodgers on the wrong end of a blown save

Denis Poroy/Getty Images

A wild night in a bad week looked to go the Dodgers' way, but instead their series opener in San Diego ended with a devastating result. Melvin Upton Jr. hit a two-run home run to right center field in the ninth inning off closer Kenley Jansen, giving the Padres a 7-6, walk-off win over the Dodgers at Petco Park.

It was the first blown save of the season for Jansen, who had allowed just one run in 17 appearances entering Friday, including seven scoreless appearances in May. The final frame opened with Wil Myers lofting a fly ball single to short center field just beyond the reach of a stumbling Chase Utley.

Jansen had converted 25 consecutive save opportunities before Friday's loss. His last blown save was Aug. 23, 2015 at Houston.

The loss dropped the Dodgers (21-22) below .500 for the first time since May 6, and snapped the club's six-game winning streak at Petco Park.

Nearly the hero

Justin Turner had just one home run in his first 157 plate appearances this season, off to his slowest start by far as a Dodger. But after pinch-hitter Carl Crawford singled up the middle with two outs in the eighth inning with the Dodgers down 5-4, Turner got ahead 2-0 on Brandon Maurer.

"With two balls, no strikes, down by a run and two out, Justin is looking to cheat on this on a little bit," Dodgers broadcaster Orel Hershiser said on SportsNet LA just before the fateful pitch.

Turner lined a ball down the right field line and into the jury box that extends out just to the left of the foul pole, giving the Dodgers a one-run advantage.

San Diego got a two-out ground rule double against Pedro Baez in the eighth, but Jansen struck out Derek Norris to end the inning. Jansen was trying for his third save of at least four outs this season, but he did not record an out in the ninth.

The wild side

Scott Kazmir mixed in the usual, allowing a pair of home runs on Friday night, something we are certainly used to, with 12 home runs in nine starts this season.

But he added wildness on Friday, too, setting a new career high with seven free passes in his 5⅔ innings. One of the walks was intentional — we'll get to that later — but even six unintentional walks is an exorbitant amount. It matches Kazmir's previous career high, something he did six other times, the last on Sept. 3, 2010.

Kazmir only had 12 unintentional walks in eight starts all season entering Friday night. He also hit a batter, so something was amiss.

The home runs came on a solo shot by Derek Norris in the fifth and a two-run shot by Christian Bethancourt — the career catcher who nearly started in right field on Friday night — pinch hitting in the sixth, the latter turning a 4-3 Dodgers lead into a one-run Padres advantage.

Bad strategy

Kazmir walked and hit a batter in the second inning, then after a passed ball both runners moved into scoring position. He whiffed Jose Pirela for the second out of the inning, but then Dave Roberts opted to intentionally walk Adam Rosales to get to the pitcher, Christian Friedrich. a Rosales entered Friday hitting .169/.247/.299 in 2016 and .223/.291/.339, the very type of hitter who should be attacked to get out of such a jam, leaving the lowly pitcher — Friedrich was 3-for-35 (.086) in his career with 18 strikeouts and three walks — as an easy out to leadoff the next inning.

The move backfired when Friedrich singled back up the middle for two runs, but that's not necessarily why it was a bad move. Taking a glance at the FanGraphs game log, the Dodgers win expectancy when Rosales came to the plate was 43.9 percent. With the intentional walk, that dropped to 42.4 percent.


Yasiel Puig showed some signs of coming out of his slump. Hitting .213/.226/.328 in May entering Friday night, he singled in the fourth inning then scored from first on what was basically a glorified single turned into a hustle double by Yasmani Grandal. Puig then homered in the fifth to give the Dodgers a 4-2 lead, and most importantly he drove the ball to right center, usually a harbinger of good things to come for Puig.

Kiké Hernandez doubled in the third inning against Friedrich, snapping an 0-for-23 skid Hernandez had against southpaws. It was his first extra-base hit since hitting two home runs and a double against Madison Bumgarner on April 15, also Hernandez's last hits against a lefty.

Corey Seager doubled home Hernandez in the third, the team-leading 12th double of the year for Seager, who has an 11-game hitting streak, during which he is hitting .370 (17-for-46) with five home runs and four doubles. Seager, who made his major league debut in San Diego last September, is hitting .333 (11-for-33) in eight career games at Petco Park, with five doubles.

Kazmir was the first Dodgers pitcher to walk seven batters in a game since Zack Greinke on July 3, 2013.

Adrian Gonzalez entered the game on a double switch in the eighth inning and batted in the ninth, and flew out. It was his first game played since Monday, when he left with lower back tightness. He is expected to start at first base on Saturday.

Up next

The Dodgers turn to another lefty on Saturday night, with Alex Wood on the mound in the middle game of the series, at a more normal 7:10 p.m. PT start time. The Padres will send Cesar Vargas to the mound, making his sixth major league start.

Friday particulars

Home runs: Yasiel Puig (5), Justin Turner (2); Derek Norris (4), Christian Bethancourt (4), Melvin Upton (6)

WP - Kevin Quackenbush (2-2): 3 up, 3 down

LP - Kenley Jansen (1-1): ⅓ IP, 2 hits, 2 runs, 1 strikeout