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Dodgers get another well-pitched game and another loss, falling 2-1 to Padres

September 7, 2010 |  9:42 pm

Pitching is what it’s about. It’s the manager’s favorite refrain. The key to winning baseball. The difference between a good and great team.

Or maybe not.

Since the All-Star break, the Dodgers’ rotation has been the best in the National League. The stuff of every manager’s dream.

And the Dodgers have gone 20-31.

It was more of the same Tuesday night, Clayton Kershaw pitching very well but the Dodgers once again unable to scratch any offense together, falling to Mat Latos and the Padres, 2-1.

Since the All-Star break, the Dodgers’ starters have an impressive 3.22 ERA. Have held opponents to a .228 batting average.

All while stumbling out of playoff contention. Tuesday’s loss left the Dodgers 10 games back of the Padres in the National League West and 10 back of the Braves for the wild-card berth.

Latos had the stomach flu Monday and had to skip his scheduled start. The Padres won anyway, and then he came back to make the Dodgers look ill Tuesday.

Latos (14-5) matched his career high with 10 strikeouts in seven innings. He gave up the one run and four hits and did not walk a batter.

Kershaw (11-10) nearly matched him, but he gave up a pair of runs on five hits. He walked one and struck out six.

The Padres scored their first run off Kershaw after Adrian Gonzalez, Miguel Tejada and Nick Hundley all singled to load the bases with one out in the second. Aaron Cunningham’s fly to right was deep enough to sacrifice Gonzalez home.

San Diego went up 2-0 in third on a single by Chris Denorfia, a sacrifice bunt by David Eckstein and Gonzalez double.

The Dodgers picked up one back in the sixth when Scott Podsednik doubled with two out and scored on a Rafael Furcal single up the middle.

The Dodgers got a Jamey Carroll double to lead off the eighth, but couldn’t bring him home to tie it. After pinch-hitter Jay Gibbons lined out to a diving Denorfia in left-center Padres manager Bud Black called on closer Heath Bell to earn a five-out save.

His 31-pitch save was his 42nd of the season.

The Dodgers finished with five hits.

-- Steve Dilbeck