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Anemic Dodgers Lose Series to Padres

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With the Dodgers offense being about as consistent as that of a teenaged boy’s face, the Dodgers (81-57) decided to bring the bad offense to the game against the San Diego Padres (61-77) in front of 47,528 fans losing 4-3.

“Any time you lose games there’s missed opportunities,” right fielder Andre Ethier said.

Missed opportunities such as in the second inning with runners on first and second with two out, second baseman Orlando Hudson struck out swinging.

Missed opportunities such as after shortstop Rafael Furcal walked with one out in the ninth inning pinch hitter Jim Thome and Ethier both flew out to left field to end the game.

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In fact these missed opportunities made Padres starter Tim Stauffer (4-6) look like a Cy Young award winner with his 80 mph change ups and 90 mph fastballs. Stauffer went 6 2/3 innings and gave up three runs (only one of which was earned) on seven hits and a walk with three strike outs and one hit batter.

And the Dodgers defense didn’t help out the cause. Thanks to a fielding error by Hudson on a David Eckstein grounder, the Padres were able to take a 1-0 lead.

Hudson shifted closer to first base on a 2-2 pitch to Eckstein. Eckstein hit the ball to where Hudson was originally positioned causing Hudson to misplay the grounder.

Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez then scorched a double to center field allowing Eckstein to get to third base. Third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a grounder to Furcal who threw home to catcher Russell Martin to get the tag on Eckstein. Eckstein just managed to get under the tag to score.

After the Padres tacked two more runs in the third inning the Dodgers managed to respond thanks to singles by left fielder Manny Ramirez, first baseman James Loney and catcher Russell Martin. However going back to the theme of missed opportunities, a double play by third baseman Ronnie Belliard was mixed in there to prevent any further damage by the Dodgers.

“We played a team we thought we could beat,” Martin said after the game. “We’ve just got to keep on going at it.”

Meanwhile Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda (5-6) showed the rust on his game. In his first start since August 15 he went five innings giving up four runs (three earned) on four hits and three walks with three strike outs. He gave up a solo homer to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez in the fifth inning to give the Padres a 4-1 lead.

“I really didn’t think I had my best stuff,” Kuroda said through translator Kenji Namura. “As long as I’m up there pitching I have to do everything I can so that we can win the game. Today I just couldn’t do that.”

“I thought he was all right, a little rusty,” manager Joe Torre said. “I thought he competed very well. I thought it was a good first step for him coming back.”

In the ninth inning Thome after hitting the fly ball to left field pulled up while running to first base. Torre was unsure as to what it could be.

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“I think it was something under his foot,” Torre said. “I thought it was a hamstring or something, but I think it’s his foot.”

And with that the Dodgers now head on to Arizona for an afternoon game against the Diamondbacks with their division lead against the Colorado Rockies shrunk down to 3 ½.