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Padres Sink Dodgers

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Do you remember San Diego’s old uniform from the early 80’s? They had a dark brown shirt with the name Padres across the chest. Outlined in yellow, it was like the opening credits to a bad seventies movie. It could easily be mistaken for being an ode to an era filled with disco and roller-skating.

The jovial and rotund friar mascot is waving his bat like the mighty Casey. He sits on the left shoulder of their uniform. I always got a kick at the smile that guy sports. I’ve never seen a happier man.

Unfortunately, the Padres can attest to being just as happy. They started the series by winning the first two games. The Dodgers pitched well, but the Padres pitched better. The Dodgers could barely muster any offense in the first game and were shut out in the second game. The Padres scored just enough runs to win.

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The Padres start tonight's game only two games back. The wind is blowing at their sails, and the Dodgers need to find a way to stop their progress. Brad Penny has to have a good game, but the recent past has not been kind. This year Penny has a 7.36 ERA with 9 earned runs in 11 innings against San Diego. The Padres are hitting .318 against Brad Penny.

The game started poor enough. The Padres scored 3 runs in the first inning. Then, Wilson Betemit, the Dodger third baseman, hit his 14th homerun of the year to make it 3 to 1. San Diego countered with another run in the third inning. Again, the Dodger upped the ante and scored a run when Ethier hit a triple past a diving Cameron. The score is now 4 to 2.

Then things get worse from here. Julio Lugo is thrown out of the game for throwing his batting helmet. The Padres score two more runs during a 5th inning that includes Grady Little and Brad Penny being thrown out of the game. By the time the dust had settled and the lights turned off the Padres had finished off the Dodgers 7 to 2. There is no joy in Dodgerville tonight. The Padres are only one game back. The sweat at their brow and dirt on their uniforms are a testament to their great play this week against the Dodgers.

Today's Padres uniform is now dark blue, but that happy friar still sits on their shoulder. He grins back with his swing in full stride. When a right-handed batter is up to bat he stares at the pitcher like a taunting onlooker. No doubt it's meant to scare the opposition. Unfortunately, only the Dodgers have been spooked. The Padres are 11-3 against the Dodgers now, and 14-24 against the other teams in the National League West.

But hope springs eternal and one series will not kill the season. It just makes the path to the playoffs a bit more hazardous.

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AP photo by Danny Moloshok