Dodgers can't find their way, fall 5-2 to Padres
The next, balls skip off gloves, are not hung onto or constantly seem just out of reach.
Saturday was the next night, the Dodgers unable to come up with key defensive plays when they were needed, and the Padres handed them a 5-2 defeat before an announced crowd 34,453.
At least Andre Ethier extended his career-high hitting streak to 26 games, second-most in Los Angeles Dodgers history.
Early on, Hiroki Kuroda and San Diego’s Tim Stauffer were locked in a pitching duel.
The game was scoreless in the bottom of the fourth when Ethier kept alive his hitting streak with a one-out single to left.
Matt Kemp singled Ethier to second and Juan Uribe walked to load the bases. James Loney’s fly to left was deep enough to bring home Ethier.
The Padres, however, came back with two runs in the fifth inning. Cameron Maybin led off with a double to left that Jerry Sands couldn’t glove cleanly, went to third on a groundout and scored on a sacrifice fly by Stauffer. Ethier made a nice diving catch on the play and threw cleanly to catcher Rod Barajas, who applied the tag in time but couldn’t hang onto the ball after the collision at the plate.
The Dodgers tied the score with a two-out rally in the seventh. Barajas doubled and Jamey Carroll was hit with a Stauffer pitch before the Padres called on reliever Luke Gregerson. Tony Gwynn Jr., released by the Padres in the offseason, greeted him with a run-scoring single.
San Diego charged back with three runs in the eighth inning against reliever Matt Guerrier after leadoff singles by Will Venable and Jason Bartlett. Ryan Ludwick’s sacrifice bunt advanced the runners, and after an intentional walk to Chase Headley, Nick Hundley popped up.
Briefly, it appeared Guerrier would pitch out of trouble. At least until he bounced one in the dirt for a wild pitch that allowed Venable to score the go-ahead run.
Maybin then singled sharply to left, easily scoring Bartlett. Headley was also waved home and Sands came up firing, his throw at the plate in time, only for recently subbed in catcher Dioner Navarro to drop the ball as Headley slid into him. This time Navarro was charged with an error.
Ethier added a second single in the eighth, giving him 40 for the month, tying the club record for the month of April, shared with Mike Piazza (1996) and Rafael Furcal (2008).
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Padres center fielder Cameron Maybin scores as Dodgers catcher Rod Barajas can't hang onto the ball after applying the tag in the fifth inning Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times