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Dodgers Stauffed by Padres

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You kept waiting for the Dodgers to do something to no avail. In the end they played like a team playing out the string in their 3-1 loss to the San Diego Padres.

“We need to be better than that,” manager Joe Torre said. “We should be better than that.”

The Dodgers mustered nothing against Padres’ starter Tim Stauffer (W, 5-4) who spent most of the season in the bullpen. The Dodgers managed only three hits and two walks in Stauffer’s six innings of work, most of them with two outs to be followed by an out.

The one exception was in the second inning when Matt Kemp led off the inning with a double. After Jay Gibbon’s fly ball to centerfield sent Kemp to third and Casey Blake walked, AJ Ellis came through yet again. Having ten hits in his last 14 at-bats coming into the game, the catcher grounded into a force play thanks to Blake taking out the second baseman David Eckstein. Although it wasn’t a hit, Ellis did get the RBI for his troubles.

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Although Ellis went 0-for-3 for the night breaking his career-high five-game hitting streak, he was on the on-deck circle with two outs in the ninth inning.

“We weren’t going to pinch hit for him,” Torre said. “That’s quite an accomplishment for how hard he’s worked and how far he’s come.”

For Dodgers’ starter Ted Lilly (L, 8-12), one play in the third inning was enough for his night to come undone.

With Chase Headley on second base and two outs, Eckstein hit a broken-bat single to shortstop Rafael Furcal. Furcal bounced the throw to first baseman James Loney which brought home Headley. However an off-balance Loney tried to mow down Headley at the plate and threw it into the netting behind home plate allowing Eckstein to second base.

“I just made a bad throw,” Loney said.

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Miguel Tejada cleaned everything up with his 300th career home run to give the Padres the 3-1 lead.

“It’s frustrating when you lose,” Lilly said. “A fastball that’s out over the plate he can hit. He’s had some good swings off of me in the past. I felt if I could locate it I could get him out.”

On a positive note, Lilly was able to wiggle himself out of a jam in the fourth inning. With one out Lilly gave up a single to Oscar Salazar and a double to Yorvit Torrealba to put runners on second and third bases. After intentionally walking Headley, Lilly struck out Stauffer and Aaron Cunningham to get out of the inning.

“That’s the pressure we are putting on our starters,” Torre commented. “We are really giving them nothing to work with and not a lot of breathing room.”

For whatever it’s worth, Padres’ reliever Luke Gregerson with his perfect seventh inning broke the Major League record with 37 holds surpassing Scott Linebrink of the Padres in 2006 and Tom Gordon of the New York Yankees in 2004.

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The win and the San Francisco Giants’ 2-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs now give the Padres a ½ game lead in the NL West.