No visible rancor as Padres beat Dodgers
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Padres and Dodgers kept it clean in the first game between the NL West rivals since their wild brawl last week, with both teams mindful of the significance of playing on Jackie Robinson Day.
Padres pitcher Eric Stults hit a three-run homer and stuck around long enough to benefit from a two-run seventh inning as San Diego won 6-3 Monday night, snapping a five-game skid.
There was no visible rancor between the teams after Major League Baseball executive vice president Joe Torre called both managers to remind them of the context of the game, the 66th anniversary of Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier with the Dodgers.
“I don’t think there was anything brewing before this game,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “We put this behind us. A solid baseball game was played by both sides.”
San Diego slugger Carlos Quentin dropped his appeal and began serving an eight-game suspension Sunday for charging Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke after getting hit by a pitch Thursday night. Greinke broke his left collarbone in the fight that followed and is expected to miss eight weeks. Quentin will sit out the three-game series — and four more games after that.
“If he was playing, obviously things are escalated a little bit,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
Dodgers infielder Jerry Hairston Jr. was suspended one game for his role in the brawl.
Pinch-hitter Jesus Guzman singled while batting for Stults during the decisive rally and scored on a double-play grounder by Yonder Alonso. That came after Paco Rodriguez relieved Ronald Belisario (0-2) with the bases loaded and walked pinch-hitter Chris Denorfia to force in the tiebreaking run after getting ahead 0-2 in the count.
Stults (2-1) allowed three runs and nine hits in six innings, struck out four and walked one.
“I feel like I made a lot of good pitches,” he said. “I gave up a lot of hits, but a lot of them were singles.”
The former Dodgers left-hander hit his first major league homer with two outs in the second off Chad Billingsley.
“A lot of times people don’t give pitchers any credit, but we do work on it,” Stults said of his hitting.
He homered during batting practice, so his teammates weren’t surprised when he connected during the game.
“We were scuffling a little bit, so anything to help the team,” said Stults, who recalled hitting his last homer in the minors. “We kind of needed a little bit of a boost. We’ve lost some games we’ve had a chance to win.”
Billingsley was miffed about his mistake.
“I was trying to go up and in, and the ball just kind of ran over the middle of the plate,” he said.
Huston Street pitched the ninth to earn his second save in just the Padres’ third win in 13 games, including two against the Dodgers.
Billingsley gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings, struck out three and walked two.
“I battled through the first couple of innings and felt like I was getting in a better rhythm as the game went on,” he said.
The Dodgers scored runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings to tie the game 3-all. Adrian Gonzalez had a ground-rule double, and Carl Crawford and A.J. Ellis hit RBI singles.
The Dodgers had the potential tying runs on second and third with one out in the eighth. Pinch-hitter Skip Schumaker hit a comebacker to the mound and Luke Gregerson got the out at first before Alonso made a perfect throw to catcher John Baker for the tag on Ellis, completing the inning-ending double play.
“Initially, I read the ball past the pitcher’s mound, but to Luke Gregerson’s credit, he did an amazing job bouncing off the mound and making a play,” Ellis said. “He immediately turned and checked me, which kind of froze me, and at that point I had to make a quick decision. I made the wrong one.”
The Padres extended their lead to 6-3 on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Kyle Blanks in the ninth.
Robinson’s widow, Rachel, along with the couple’s daughter, Sharon, and son, David, were introduced before the game, which drew a sellout crowd of 52,136.
Harrison Ford bounced a ceremonial first pitch to Mattingly. Ford plays Brooklyn Dodgers president Branch Rickey, who signed Robinson, in “42,” the new movie about the baseball pioneer.
Former NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar told the sellout crowd, “It’s time for Dodger baseball.”
Kelley Jakle, the great-granddaughter of Rickey, sang “God Bless America.”
The stadium was decorated with “42” logos on the pitching mound, dugout, near the foul pole and baselines. The bases had special plaques noting Jackie Robinson Day and the date.
“If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in right now — living a dream, playing a game that I love to play — so I’ll always thank him for that,” Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp said.
“He knew how to turn the other cheek. He knew how to walk away from situations, unlike myself at times. I don’t know if I would be that type of person. It takes a strong man to do something like that.”
NOTES: The last Padres pitcher to homer was Clayton Richard last Oct. 1 against Milwaukee. … Black said his daughter, Jamie, lives two blocks from Fenway Park. He couldn’t get through to her after the Boston Marathon bombings because cellphone communication was affected, but she later texted him to say she was OK. … There was a moment of silence for the Boston victims. … The Dodgers placed RHP Shawn Tolleson on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain, retroactive to April 13, and recalled RHP Josh Wall from Triple-A Albuquerque. Wall pitched two-thirds of an inning. … Billingsley (13-9) has more wins against the Padres than any other team in his career.