Dodgers 4, Padres 1
Andre Ethier knows he’s capable of hitting home runs on a
regular basis. The 74 he hit over the previous three seasons is a
testament to that.
And if the Los Angeles Dodgers hope to salvage something out of
this season, they’re going to need more of them.
Ethier homered twice before heading off to his second straight
All-Star game, giving him just nine for the season, and the Dodgers
beat San Diego 4-1 on Sunday for their season-high fourth straight
victory after being shut out in three straight games.
”I was just getting into some bad habits this year and some bad
approaches, and I let those spiral into some other things,” said
Ethier, who sacrificed power for bat control during his 30-game
hitting streak. ”It’s tough to break those habits when you’re
going out there and just getting hits and knocks. I mean, why would
I change it when that’s going on? But it’s a just commitment –
being mentally committed and wanting to do it that way.”
Ethier made it 3-1 in the fifth inning with a two-out homer to
right-center – ending a drought of 61 at-bats since his previous
one on June 21. The home run snapped a 10-game drought for the
Dodgers since June 28, when Aaron Miles ended a personal dry spell
of 568 consecutive plate appearances without one.
Ethier capped off his 11th career multihomer game with another
solo shot into the pavilion seats in right-center against Josh
Spence in the eighth, his ninth of the season and first off a
”I’m just glad to get a hit off a lefty. I don’t care if it’s
going over the fence or not,” Ethier said.
Ted Lilly (6-9) won for the first time in a month after losing
his previous four starts. The 35-year-old left-hander allowed a run
and four hits over five innings, helping send the Padres to their
fifth straight loss. Lilly struck out seven and walked two en route
to his first victory since June 11 at Colorado.
”Disappointed is not enough to describe how I feel about my own
performance so far,” Lilly said. ” Going into the second half,
I’m going to take these next few days to evaluate what I need to do
to turn things around and help us make a big comeback.”
Rookie right-hander Javy Guerra, the sixth Dodgers pitcher,
worked a perfect ninth for his fourth save. Guerra has emerged as
the Dodgers’ closer because of season-ending injuries to Jonathan
Broxton and Vicente Padilla.
Guerra, who escaped his own bases-loaded, no-out jam to preserve
a 1-0 victory for Chad Billingsley in the series opener on Friday,
made it interesting again when he gave up a leadoff single to
Orlando Hudson and a walk to Anthony Rizzo before retiring the last
”There’s a lot of pressure in those situations, and you like to
see how young guys handle it,” Lilly said. ”He keeps attacking
the strike zone and he keeps his composure quite well. So I’ve
enjoyed watching him pitch out of those jams.”
Tim Stauffer (5-6) was charged with three runs – two earned –
and just three hits in six innings while keeping his ERA at 2.97.
The right-hander, who won his previous three starts, is the fourth
Padres starter since 2000 to go into the All-Star break with an ERA
under 3.00 – joining Chris Young (2.00 in 2007), Jake Peavy (2.43
in 2004) and Mat Latos (2.45 in 2010).
The Padres opened the scoring when Rob Johnson homered on
Lilly’s first pitch of the third inning. The Dodgers came back with
two runs in the bottom half, after Stauffer walked the first three
Stauffer went 3-2 on cleanup hitter Matt Kemp, who was robbed of
a hit by third baseman Chase Headley on a diving stop going toward
the foul line. But Headley, not knowing how far Rafael Furcal was
from the bag, ignored the easy force at third and made a wild throw
to the plate that allowed Tony Gwynn Jr. and Furcal to score. Kemp
was credited with a fielder’s choice and RBI.
”I was just trying to make a play,” Headley said. ”I mean,
you’ve got three really good baserunners – and four if you include
Kemp. I went toward the line for it and I didn’t know if I had time
to get back to third. I just wish I could have made a better throw.
But I don’t question what I tried to do. I thought I had a chance
to throw him out there.”
The Dodgers, who were no-hit through 8 2-3 innings by Aaron
Harang and the Padres’ bullpen on Saturday, got an infield single
from Gwynn leading off the first against Stauffer. A sacrifice bunt
and a comebacker got Gwynn to third, but when he tried to score on
a pitch in the dirt that bounced about 30 feet to the right of the
plate, Johnson threw to Stauffer for the tag.
The Dodgers, who began the day 11 games behind San Francisco in
the NL West, go into the All-Star break 41-51. A year ago at this
time they were tied for second with a 49-39 record and two games
out of first, after back-to-back NL West Division titles.
The Padres entered the break last in the NL West with a 40-52
record. Last season at the break, they were 51-37 with a two-game
lead in the division. But they folded down the stretch.
”Every year is different, and you never know how it’s going to
play out,” manager Bud Black said.
NOTES: Padres SS Jason Bartlett was scratched from Black’s
original lineup because of a sore right thumb. … The Dodgers
swept a three-game series at home for the first time since June
2010 against St. Louis. … In 59 starts since making the All-Star
team with the Cubs in 2009, Lilly is 21-26 with a 3.81 ERA and 56
home runs allowed. He has not walked more than two batters in any
of his 31 starts since the Dodgers acquired him from Chicago on
July 31, 2010, the longest active streak in the majors.