It was April fool’s day, but the Dodgers were all serious before their second game of their three game series against the Padres. Before the game they announced that Clayton Kershaw will be placed on a throwing program and will be out at least 2-3 weeks and then be reevaluated. It is looking likely he will miss about a month.
So that was depressing. Speaking of more depressing news, we also heard that Brian Wilson was not in the bullpen today, and was not with the team during practice prior to the game. I have no idea what’s going on with him after he blew Sunday night’s game. But during postgame interviews Mattingly announced that Wilson has some nerve irritation in his elbow and will be placed on the DL. This explains why he was so terrible on Sunday night. We can only hope he comes back as quick as possible. This is another bad blow for the Dodgers. We’ll have more on this later. Again this is not an April fool’s joke.
The Dodgers were able to score a somewhat uncomfortable 3-2 win over San Diego Tuesday afternoon at Petco Park to even the three game set. It was a taut nervous game, that ended with the Padres leaving the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. If you were wearing a pacemaker, you probably shouldn’t have been watching this game. It was not for the faint of heart.
The pitching match-up was an interesting one. Zack Greinke for the Dodgers, going up against Ian Kennedy for San Diego. The Dodgers not only have beef with the Padres. It was the place where Greinke broke his collar bone last April. But they also have beef with Kennedy back when he was a Snake. We all remember the brawl from last June which ignited when he hit Greinke in the head with a pitch.
Both starters went just five frames, but if you saw the game, Greinke was more dominating early while Kennedy seemed to struggle with location. Greinke had actually retired ten in a row at one point, but began to falter in the fifth. The right hander allowed just two hits, but two runs, and walked two and whiffed five.
Kennedy on the other hand allowed three earned runs to the Dodgers while whiffing four. Greinke made 94 pitches, and Kennedy made 103. Greinke was able to secure the win as the Dodgers were able to barely hold on to the one-run lead.
The Dodgers scored two runs in the first, and one in the fourth, and then did nothing on offense the rest of the game. Puig hit a monster 410 foot two-run home run with Crawford aboard to left that landed in the deck with the Western Metal Supply company sign. This is the same spot that Hanley hit last year with his monstrous shot.
In the fourth, Juan Uribe doubled and went to third on a throwing error from Gyorko. Gordon’s RBI single plated him to give the Dodgers a 3-0 lead at the time.
But the Padres would rally back again, and not make things easy for the Boys in Blue. The Padres always play the Dodgers tough. In the bottom of the fourth, Seth Smith hit his second home run in as many days, a solo shot to right off of Greinke, which made the score 3-1 Dodgers.
San Diego scored again in the bottom of the fifth, which was Greinke’s final inning. A walk to Gyorko, a single to Denorfia, and a force out, puts runners at first and third with one out. A walk to Grandal loaded the bases, but Greinke got out of it with a called strike three to Medica, and a Cabrera fly out.
The Dodgers and reliever J.P. Howell, got a key double play to get out of a jam in the bottom of the eighth. In the bottom of the ninth, the drama got even worse. Closer Kenley Jansen came into the game, and started to struggle. He gave up singles to Alonso and Venable, and a walk to Grandal. However, he whiffed Denorfia, and pinch-hitter Nick Hundley to end the game, and give the Dodgers a 3-2 win. Thank god! My blood pressure was through the roof.
Here’s how the action played out…….
The Dodgers get on the board early in the top of the first. Carl Crawford leads-off with a single through the hole between first and second, after working a 2-2 count off of Kennedy. With Yasiel Puig at the plate, Crawford steals second and advances to third when Yasmani Grandal’s throw is offline and bounces into center field for a throwing error. With Crawford now at third, Puig launches a mammoth two-run home run into the Western Metal Supply deck of left field. The Dodgers take an early 2-0 lead.
But Kennedy was able to calm down and get out of the inning without allowing anything further. Hanley grounds out. Adrian Gonzalez flies out to deep left for the second out. Ethier whiffs swinging for the third out.
Zack Greinke takes the mound in the bottom of the first. He gets Everth Cabrera to ground out to Uribe. Last night’s hero Seth Smith grounds to the hole at first, but Gonzo makes a great stop and feeds to Greinke covering the bag for the out. Third baseman Chase Headley grounds to the same area, with Gonzo making another good play to retire the side.
The Dodgers threatened again in the top of the second off of Kennedy. Uribe bloops a single into left to lead-off the frame. But A.J. flies to right, and Dee Gordon whiffs. Good hitting pitcher Zack Greinke bounces into a force out, and the inning is over.
The Dodgers go down in order in the of the third with Kennedy retiring the side. In the bottom of the third, Greinke retires the side again, this makes nine in a row set down by Greinke. In this frame, Denorfia lines out to Gordon, and a whiff of Grandal, and a Kennedy fly out puts the Padres away in the third. Dodgers still lead 2-0 after three frames.
The Dodgers threaten again in the fourth. After Gonzo flies out to deep right, and Ethier whiffs, Uribe doubles into the gap in left center, and takes third on an errant throw from cut-off man Gyrorko. The throw was on a bounce, allowing Uribe to easily advance to third. That’s the fourth hit of the night for the Dodgers. A.J. draws a full count walk to put runner at first and third with two outs.
Up comes Gordon who has a terrific at-bat against Kennedy. Gordon’s lengthy at-bat basically runs up Kennedy’s pitch count and knocks him out of the box. After fouling off several pitches, Gordon strokes a base hit up the middle to score Uribe, and the Dodgers lead 3-0! Kennedy gets out of the inning on a Greinke force out, but his pitch count is now up to 91.
Greinke had retired ten in a row until one out in the fourth when he ran into some trouble. And guess who was starting it? Yes Seth Smith. Again! Smith clubs his second home run in as many days with a solo shot to right that out the Padres on the board. The Dodgers lead was now 3-1. Greinke got the next two hitters , coming back to whiff Headley, and get Alonso to ground out to first.
Greinke starts to falter in the fifth. A walk to Gyorko, and a ground ball single to right from Venable puts runners at first and second with nobody out for the Padres. Denorfia’s grounder to third should have been a double play, but Venable’s hard take-out slide breaks up the double play, and the Dodgers can only get a force at second. Greinke then throws ball four to Grandal which is a wild pitch. That allows Gyorko to score, and Denorfia to advance to second, and it’s 3-2 Dodgers. Now they’re really in trouble.
The Dodgers are able to worm their way out of it, by getting pinch-hitter Tommy Medica to whiff, and Cabrera to fly to right. Greinke is still in, but his pitch count is over 90 now, and he doesn’t appear long for the game.
Left hander Alex Torres comes in to pitch the top of the sixth for San Diego. Kennedy goes five and gives up three earned runs on five hits, walks one, and whiffs four. He leaves losing by a run. Torres is able to whiff Gonzo, but walks Ethier.
Enter right hander Tim Stauffer. Uribe hits a slow roller to third, Headley charges and makes a bare handed throw, but it’s too late as Uribe beats it by a step. A.J.’s fly ball to right is the second out. Gordon flies out to center, and the Dodgers don’t score.
Paco Rodriguez comes in to throw the bottom of the sixth. The pesky Smith leads off with a broken-bat single to center. But Paco gets Headley to ground into a double play, and whiffs Alonso like a rented mule. Dodgers still lead 3-2 after six frames.
Stauffer stays out for the seventh, and walks pinch-hitter Chone Figgins to lead-off the frame. With the count 2-2 on Crawford, the left fielder fouls off a pitch, and Mattingly comes out to argue that his bat tipped Grandal’s glove. But no challenge is made because catcher interference is not a reviewable play, and Mattingly returns to the dugout. But then Crawford starts arguing with the home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez. Mattingly has to come out again to make sure Crawford doesn’t get thrown out, and instead hits a shallow pop fly that Smith makes a sliding catch. Bud Black goes to the bullpen and brings in right hander Nick Vincent to pitch to Puig.
Puig smacks a single to left over shortstop, and the Dodgers have first and second. But the Dodgers don’t score again after Hanley’s fly to right, and Gonzo’s grounder.
Birthday boy Chris Withrow takes the mound in the bottom of the seventh. Withrow whiffs Gyorko for the first out. Venable’s grounder to first pulls Gonzo too far off the bag and he has to feed to Withrow covering. Unfortunately Withrow drops the throw and is charged an error as Venable reaches. Denorfia flies to right for the second out. Grandal flies out to Dre, and we go to the eighth with the Dodgers leading by a run.
Joaquin Benoit retires the Dodgers in order in the top of the eighth. In the bottom of the eighth, the Dodgers go to left hander J.P. Howell to start the inning. Pinch-hitter Xavier Nady grounds to third, but Cabrera singles up the middle. Public enemy Seth Smith walks putting two men on with one out. But Howell makes a great pitch to get Headley to ground into an inning ending double play, and we go to the ninth with the Dodgers preserving a 3-2 lead.
Dale Thayer pitches a 123 top of the ninth. Move to the bottom of the ninth with the Dodgers still up 3-2. Enter Kenley Jansen, hoping to close shop for the Dodgers. Jansen immediately gives up a single to Alonso, and after Gyorko flies out to Ethier, Venable singles Alonso to third, and the Padres have first and third with one out. That’s the tying run at third, and the winning run at first. Jansen then blows away Denorfia for the second out. There’s a walk to Grandal which loads the bases. It’s up to pinch-hitter Nick Hundley who strikes out swinging to end the game! Dodgers win 3-2!
Well that was nerve-wracking. It was close, but the boys in Blue got the win, and that’s all that matters. Almost only counts in horse shoes San Diego.
Greinke picks up his first win of the season, and Kennedy takes the loss. Jansen earns his second save of the year. The Dodgers are now 3-1 on the season.
Tomorrow the Dodgers will close out the series with the rubber game at 7:10 PM Wednesday night. Veteran Dan Haren will take the mound for the Dodgers. San Diego will counter with youngster Tyson Ross. Let’s carry this momentum over into tomorrow!