A throwing error on a sure double play ball allowed the Dodgers to score the go-ahead run, and the bullpen continued its Herculean effort to beat the Padres 4-3 on Saturday afternoon at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers bullpen pitched four more scoreless innings on Saturday, lowering their ERA to 1.64 in a whopping 44 innings in nine games on this homestand, with 52 strikeouts against nine walks.
That includes eight strikeouts in four perfect innings on Saturday by five different pitchers.
It was a game of call and response early on. Yangervis Solarte hit a two-run home run in the first inning, then the Dodgers answered back with a run of their own in the bottom of the frame, with Adrian Gonzalez doubling home Chase Utley.
Padres starter Luis Perdomo retired seven straight after that, but the Dodgers loaded the bases against him with nobody out in the fourth inning. Howie Kendrick hit a bouncing double down the third base line to cash in two runs and give the Dodgers a 3-2 lead.
Kendrick is hitting .303/.378/.545 with six extra-base hits in nine July games.
San Diego answered right back with a run in the fifth, with Alexei Ramirez doubling off Brandon McCarthy to start the inning, then scoring on a bloop single to left center field by Travis Jankowski.
McCarthy was pulled after the fifth inning and 77 pitches in his second start back from Tommy John surgery, with six strikeouts and three walks. It marked the seventh straight game the Dodgers didn't have a starter record an out in the sixth inning.
The Dodgers were able to answer back in the sixth inning with back-to-back singles by Corey Seager and Justin Turner. That brought up Gonzalez, who grounded a 3-0 pitch into what should have been an easy double play, but Ramiirez at shortstop threw wildly to first, which not only allowed Gonzalez to reach base but also allowed Seager to score the go-ahead run.
The Dodgers bullpen was tasked with an extended effort yet again, and they came through. Among the superlatives was Adam Liberatore, who struck out both batters he faced. It was the 24th consecutive scoreless appearance for the left-hander, breaking the record previously held by John Candelaria in 1991.
Liberatore during his scoreless streak has allowed five hits and six walks, two of them intentional, and hit one batter, while striking out 23 in 18⅔ innings.
The Dodgers close out the unofficial first half and go for a series win on Sunday afternoon, sending Kenta Maeda to the mound. The Padres will throw left-hander Christian Friedrich in the finale.
Home run: Yangervis Solarte (8)
WP - Brandon McCarthy (2-0): 5 IP, 3 hits, 3 runs, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts
LP - Luis Perdomo (3-4): 6 IP, 9 hits, 4 runs (2 earned runs), 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
Sv - Kenley Jansen (26): 1 IP, 2 strikeouts