LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers’ potent lineup chased Chris Volstad out of the game in the fourth inning and back to the minor leagues.
Matt Kemp hit his fourth homer in six games, Casey Blake also went deep against the Marlins’ 23-year-old right-hander, and the Dodgers beat Florida 7-3 victory on Tuesday night. Rafael Furcal had three RBIs, including a two-run single during a four-run second.
Volstad (4-8) gave up five runs, five hits and three walks over three-plus innings in his shortest outing of the season and was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans right after the game. He is 1-6 with a 5.22 ERA in 11 starts since his back-to-back victories over the Washington Nationals May 2-7.
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“I was falling behind the hitters. I think I barely threw half of my pitches for strikes,” said Volstad, who was lifted after giving up a leadoff walk to Blake DeWitt in the fourth. “It’s tough, because I want to be up here. I think I deserve to be here. Obviously there are things I need to work on, so I’ve got to go down there with a positive attitude and try to get back here as quick as I can.”
Vicente Padilla (3-2) allowed two runs and seven hits over 6 2-3 innings and struck out nine without allowing a walk. The Dodgers’ opening day starter, who missed more than eight weeks because of an inflamed nerve in his arm, is 2-1 with a 3.12 ERA in four outings since returning from the disabled list on June 19.
“I had a lot better control before I went on the DL, but I don’t think I’m forcing anything.” Padilla said through a translator. “I don’t want to make any excuses. But with the condition that I had before, I was still able to win games. Whatever condition you’re in, you’re supposed to win. And when you get a lead like I had tonight, you’re able to pitch with a lot more confidence than in tight games.”
Padilla’s teammates staked him to a 6-0 cushion before rookie Mike Stanton chased him with a two-run homer into the first row of seats in the left field corner on the right-hander’s 112th pitch. Stanton added an RBI single in the ninth against Travis Schlichting, but Jonathan Broxton got the final two outs for his 18th save in 20 attempts.
The Dodgers’ sixth victory in eight games, coupled with San Diego’s 7-6 loss at Washington, put the two-time defending NL West leaders within three games of the division-leading Padres.
The loss was Florida’s eighth in 13 games since Edwin Rodriguez replaced Fredi Gonzalez as manager on June 23.
After Furcal’s two-run single, Kemp sent Volstad’s 3-2 pitch halfway up the left field pavilion for his 16th homer.
“Matty’s swing has been a little quieter. He’s not as jumpy as he was in swinging the bat. He’s a little more patient and it’s paying off for him,” manager Joe Torre said. “He’s not afraid to get behind in the count, and I think that’s a big part of why he’s doing a lot better. For a while he was spiraling out of control and not very selective at the plate. Last week he had a couple of days off to think about it.”
Blake hit his ninth homer into the lower seats in the left field corner in the third to increase the margin to 5-0. Andre Ethier homered in the fifth inning into the right-field seats made it 6-0. Ethier’s. 323 batting average is second-best in the league behind Martin Prado’s .332 mark for Atlanta.
Furcal completed the scoring with an RBI single in the eighth. He scored a run for the 12th consecutive game, the longest streak by a Dodgers player since a 12-game stretch by Gil Hodges in June 1953, when the franchise was based in Brooklyn.
“He looks very comfortable. It just gives a lift to everybody else,” Torre said. “When he gets on base, it’s a little tougher to go through the rest of the lineup — especially the middle of the lineup. We just did a lot of good things tonight. The home runs certainly were huge for us, and we got off on the right foot.”
NOTES: RHP Burke Badenhop was recalled from New Orleans to replace Volstad on the Marlins’ roster. … Furcal was named NL player of the week, after going 14-for-26 with 24 total bases and nine runs scored to help the Dodgers win five of six road games against division rivals San Francisco and Arizona. The only other time he won the award was in July 2004 with Atlanta, when he hit four homers in a three-game span and had a career-best six RBIs in one of those contests. … The Dodgers stole five bases against C Ronny Paulino, their highest total since June 29, 2007 against the Padres. Paulino, making his 26th consecutive start behind the plate, has thrown out 16 of 54 runners attempting to steal this season. … All-Star RHP Josh Johnson was named NL pitcher of the month on Tuesday, the fourth player in Marlins history to receive the honor along with Chris Hammond (1993), Kevin Brown (1996), Dontrelle Willis (2003, 2006) and Carl Pavano (2004). … Florida 1B Gaby Sanchez was named NL rookie of the month.