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Dodgers Cough One Up Against Padres

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Sometimes art imitates life. If playing the game of baseball can be construed as art, well the Dodgers did a good job of imitating their life in their 5-2 loss to the San Diego Padres.

The biggest culprits of this loss were the catchers. On a great throw home by Andre Ethier in the fifth inning after catching a one-out line drive by Padres’ starter Tim Stauffer, Rod Barajas dropped the ball as Cameron Maybin crossed the plate allowing the Padres to tie the game 1-1.

In the eighth inning a good throw by left fielder Jerry Sands on a single by Maybin that already scored a run would have gotten the incoming Chase Headley out had Dioner Navarro not dropped the ball allowing the third run to score that inning.

“When I caught the ball I was trying to move my right hand inside the glove to secure the ball,” Navarro said. “I lost control of the ball.”

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But the catchers were not the only culprit - relief pitcher Matt Guerrier (L, 2-2) did his part with a wild pitch to Orlando Hudson earlier in the inning allowed the first run to score in that frame.

“It was a curveball in the dirt and it got by him,” Guerrier said.

“I did my best to try to keep it in front of me,” Navarro said. “But I couldn’t. It’s part of the game. It happens.”

I suppose a team that is hitting a Major League worst .210 needs all the help they can get.

It didn’t look that way from the beginning. In fact it looked to be a special night for Dodgers’ starter Hiroki Kuroda early on especially when he made four pitches to get three outs in the second inning. But a single by Brad Hawpe, the owner of the second highest lifetime batting average at Dodger Stadium behind Roberto Clemente, in the third inning quashed any hopes for that.

Surprisingly Kuroda said that he didn’t have a good bullpen session before the game.

“One thing I concentrated most on was making my pitches down in the zone,” Kuroda said about the adjustment he made during the game through translator Kenji Nimura.

The only real trouble he got into was in the fifth inning when he gave up a leadoff double to Maybin. After Hawpe grounded out to second to advance Maybin to third, that first botched throw on Stauffer’s liner came into play.

But it’s wasn’t over then. A single to Will Venable and walk to Jason Bartlett set the stage for Ludwick’s single that scored Venable from second. But Ethier saved the inning with a great throw from right field to third base to get Bartlett out.

“I’m just trying to be like the guy in center field,” Ethier said about his defense. “In a

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Ethier was also great with the bat, as par for the course, with a single in the fourth inning against Stauffer extending his hitting streak to 26 consecutive games, second longest in Los Angeles Dodger history to Willie Davis’ franchise high 31-game streak in 1969 and Major League April record. A single in the eighth inning gave him 40 hits in the month of April tying a franchise record held Mike Piazza (1996) and Rafael Furcal (2008).

“I’m just staying with what the task is and not try to do too much,” Ethier commented. “It’s fun, it’s enjoyable. I want to go up there and get hits in every at-bat. It doesn’t matter if there’s a streak or not a streak going.”

Ethier scored from third with the bases loaded on James Loney’s sacrifice fly to give the Dodgers the 1-0 lead.

The Dodgers tied the game in the seventh inning when Rod Barajas hit a two-out double in the seventh inning and Jamey Carroll was hit by the pitch. When Tony Gwynn, Jr. came in to pinch hit for Kuroda, that prompted Luke Gregerson (W, 2-2) to replace Stauffer. Gwynn singled to right to tie the game.

But that was all the Dodgers could muster. Padres’ closer Heath Bell notched his sixth save of the season.

“We just didn’t seem to be able to get the hit when we needed there,” manager Don Mattingly said. “A little frustrating from the stand point that we couldn’t seem to get any momentum going.”

LAD: Hiroki Kuroda - 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 K.
SD: Tim Stauffer - 6 2/3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 HB.

Tampa Bay Rays defeat LA Angels 2-1 (10).
W: Joel Peralta, 1-0.
L: Fernando Rodney, 0-1.
Joel Pineiro: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 IBB, 3 K, 1 HR.
James Shields: 8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 12 K.

Chivas USA defeat New England Revolution 3-0.


San Diego Padres at LA Dodgers. 1:10 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 790 KABC.

LA Angels at Tampa Bay Rays. 10:40 a.m. FSWest, AM 830 KLAA.

LA Galaxy at FC Dallas. 4:00 p.m. FSWest, Galavision (en español), AM 1150 KTLK, AM 1330 KWKW (en español).