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Dodgers drop Mexico Series, road trip finale

Bullpen falters again while offense can't get going vs. Padres
MLB.com @kengurnick

MONTERREY, Mexico -- Dave Roberts said he would withhold a few adjectives that came to mind when asked to describe the 11-game, 10-day, three-city, two-country trip that mercifully ended Sunday with a 3-0 loss to the Padres in the rubber match of the Mexico Series.

"Unpredictable. Disappointing. … I could come up with some other superlatives, but that's probably it," said Roberts, whose club went 4-7 and was headed home with a day off Monday to lick its wounds.

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MONTERREY, Mexico -- Dave Roberts said he would withhold a few adjectives that came to mind when asked to describe the 11-game, 10-day, three-city, two-country trip that mercifully ended Sunday with a 3-0 loss to the Padres in the rubber match of the Mexico Series.

"Unpredictable. Disappointing. … I could come up with some other superlatives, but that's probably it," said Roberts, whose club went 4-7 and was headed home with a day off Monday to lick its wounds.

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"Please don't tell me our record. I don't want to know. I guess the off-day is coming at a good time."

That's on Monday. On Tuesday, the first-place D-backs come to Dodger Stadium.

"It doesn't get any easier," said Roberts. "We've got a team smelling blood in Arizona and we're chasing those guys. [Zack] Godley has given us fits and we've got [Patrick] Corbin as well. We've got our hands full and nobody is feeling sorry for us. I expect our guys to come out and play our tails off."

Hours after losing Clayton Kershaw to the disabled list, the beleaguered bullpen suffered another defeat as Tony Cingrani allowed a two-run homer to Eric Hosmer to break a scoreless tie in the fifth inning.

Video: LAD@SD: Hosmer crushes a two-run homer in the 5th

Cingrani took over after four scoreless innings from Ross Stripling, who has a 1.93 ERA and will replace Kershaw in the rotation.

Stripling, battling what he suspected was dehydration, provided some promise by digging in with traffic on the bases and keeping the Padres off the board. Roberts said Stripling, a former starter who has thrived in the bullpen, will stay in Kershaw's spot.

"He did everything he could for us and he'll make his next turn," Roberts said.

Video: LAD@SD: Stripling escapes bases loaded jam with K

"Wish we could have gotten more wins in Mexico," said Stripling. "Obviously, when Kershaw goes on the DL it's like a punch in the gut. It took me by surprise. The dominoes keep falling for us."

After the game, third baseman Justin Turner reported the upbeat news that he took batting practice with the club and felt no pain in his healed left wrist fracture. On Tuesday, he will graduate to a pitching machine at game speed, then live pitching.

"It was exciting, no issues," said Turner, who couldn't say the same for the trip and the way it ended.

"We keep getting punched right in the nose, but it's about finding ways to dig in and win ballgames," said Turner.

During the trip, in addition to losing seven games and Kershaw, the Dodgers lost All-Star shortstop Corey Seager for the season, starter Hyun-Jin Ryu until after the All-Star break and right fielder Yasiel Puig until Wednesday. They dropped three additional games in the standings behind Arizona, which they now trail by eight games.

On Sunday, the Dodgers were beaten by left-hander Eric Lauer, who picked up his first Major League victory in only his third start. The Dodgers had runners on base in each of the first eight innings, but went 0-for-9 when they were in scoring position, stranded 13 and struck out 12 times.

Video: LAD@SD: Lauer holds Dodgers scoreless over 6 frames

"We just couldn't capitalize," said Roberts.

Although the offense could not deliver a clutch hit, former Padre Matt Kemp had two hits to improve to 8-for-16 in his last four games and Cody Bellinger legged out two infield singles, one week after being yanked from a game for not hustling.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Of all the at-bats that stranded Dodgers runners, maybe the most difficult to take came in the third inning. With runners on first and second and two outs, Austin Barnes' sharp liner to left field was caught by Franchy Cordero. Barnes also lined out to end the fifth inning with a runner on second.

SOUND SMART
Seven of the club's 19 losses have been absorbed by relievers. The Dodgers bullpen suffered its seventh loss last year on June 28.

HE SAID IT
"Guys are excited to get back to L.A. and get our bearings back." -- Stripling

UP NEXT
After a day off on Monday, Rich Hill's oft-delayed return from the disabled list is expected for Tuesday night in the 7:10 p.m. PT homestand opener against the D-backs and Zack Godley. Hill has been out for two weeks with a torn left middle fingernail and infection.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

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