Padres rookie Hunter Renfroe hit a three-run home run and a grand slam, sending the Dodgers to a 7-1 defeat on Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game series. The loss snapped the Dodgers’ five-game winning streak.
The seven RBI for Renfroe are the most by a player against the Dodgers since Hunter Pence on Sept. 14, 2013.
The Dodgers only scored one run against Padres starter Paul Clemens in five innings, but down a pair they loaded the bases against let-handed reliever Jose Torres with two outs in the sixth.
That rally bore no fruit, however, as both Yasmani Grandal and Josh Reddick popped out to end the inning, the latter the culmination of a 10-pitch at-bat.
In what was a close game until the eighth, the Dodgers had a runner on third base with one out in both the second and sixth innings and failed to score.
Kenta Maeda was on a pitch limit on Tuesday, after moving him up so he could make one more regular season start on Sunday to get ready for the postseason. He was pulled after four innings and 60 pitches, allowing three runs.
Maeda allowed the three-run home run to Renfroe in the first inning, then walked the next batter. But Maeda rebounded to retire 10 of his final 11 batters faced, and on the night struck out five and walked one. He ends his year against the Padres with a 3.27 ERA in four starts, with 27 strikeouts and two walks in 22 innings.
It was the Dodgers’ first game after clinching the division, but the lineup was filled with regulars, thanks in large part to Monday’s off day. There was a mix of both trying to win and also giving regulars rest, while also providing opportunities for others to stake their claim to a postseason roster spot.
In addition to Maeda’s shortened outing, Adrian Gonzalez got two plate appearances but came out after the fourth inning. Though Gonzalez was sick.
#Dodgers Adrian Gonzalez has a sinus infection. Dave Roberts said that's why he came out of game early— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) September 28, 2016
Yasiel Puig played the final two innings in center field, his second game at the position since returning from Triple-A Oklahoma City this month, and his fourth game there in 2016.
On the pitching side, Alex Wood made his second appearance since returning from the disabled list, and his first in six days. He pitched a perfect fifth inning with two strikeouts, trying to make the playoff roster as a reliever.
Same goes for Brock Stewart, who allowed a hit but pitched a scoreless sixth.
Traditional relievers Josh Fields and Grant Dayton held the Padres at bay until a bunt single with two outs in the eighth against Dayton ended his night.
Louis Coleman came in and walked two before serving up the grand slam to Renfroe, the ball taking whatever hopes Coleman had of making the NLDS roster with it.
Chase Utley doubled in the first inning to start the game, but was stranded. He took matters into his own hands in the third inning, homering to right field for the Dodgers’ first run of the game. He also walked twice.
Utley this season is hitting .287/.350/.467 on the road, with 16 doubles, nine home runs and three triples in 67 games. In his last four starts away from home, Utley has at least two hits and at least one extra-base hit.
Jack of all trades
Howie Kendrick entered the game as a reserve in the fifth inning, taking over for Adrian Gonzalez at first base. It was the 10th game of the season for Kendrick at first base, where he has started six times. Kendrick is the first Dodger ever with at least 10 games at first base, second base, third base and left field in the same season.
The only other Dodger to play 10 games at those three infield positions plus any outfield position was Hi Myers with his 63 games in center field in 1917 (thanks to Ryan M. Spaeder for that extra nugget).
Kendrick also walked in the sixth inning, his 49th of the season to set a new career high. He walked 48 times with the Angels in 2014. Kendrick’s walk rate in 2016 (9.33%) is nearly double his walk rate for the first 10 years of his career (4.84%)
Jose De Leon gets the call on Wednesday in what will be an all-rookie starting rotation in this series in San Diego. Luis Perdomo starts for the Padres in the second game of the series, another 7:10 p.m. PT start.
Home runs: Chase Utley (13); Hunter Renfroe 2 (3)
WP - Paul Clemens (4-5): 5 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 2 strikeouts
LP - Kenta Maeda (16-10): 4 IP, 3 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts