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Everything clicks for Dodgers in sweep of Padres

Maeda fans 10, every starting position player records a hit as LA's win streak reaches four
Special to MLB.com

SAN DIEGO -- The Dodgers arrived in San Diego in the NL West cellar, wondering when their talent-laden roster would get in gear. After beating the Padres, 13-4, on Wednesday night, it's clear the Dodgers are hitting on most, if not all, cylinders.

Kenta Maeda (2-1) was keen and backed by an explosive offense as the National League's defending champions ran their winning streak to a season-high four games.

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SAN DIEGO -- The Dodgers arrived in San Diego in the NL West cellar, wondering when their talent-laden roster would get in gear. After beating the Padres, 13-4, on Wednesday night, it's clear the Dodgers are hitting on most, if not all, cylinders.

Kenta Maeda (2-1) was keen and backed by an explosive offense as the National League's defending champions ran their winning streak to a season-high four games.

View Full Game Coverage

Max Muncy hit his first home run as a Dodger and had two RBIs, Chase Utley added two more RBIs and a once-struggling Corey Seager tied a career-high with four hits and three RBIs.

"It was a well-played baseball game,'' manager Dave Roberts said.

Video: LAD@SD: Muncy mashes his first home run with Dodgers

Maeda took advantage of the output as he put down the Padres. He was charged with four runs and eight hits over 5 2/3 innings after recording just eight outs in his previous start. He tied a season high with 10 strikeouts while walking two in heaving 106 pitches.

"Kenta really competed out there and he was really fun to watch,'' Roberts said. "I really thought he held his velocity well tonight and he was able to attack. He gave us the innings that we needed. He is trusting his fastball in the strike zone and when you can trust to throw it and execute it, with velocity, you are going to get swing and misses.''

Video: LAD@SD: Maeda fans 10 in start vs. the Padres

While Maeda cruised on a pleasant San Diego evening, Luis Perdomo (1-2) pitched as if under a black cloud. He was torched for nine runs (seven earned) and 10 hits in three innings.

The Dodgers prevailing against the Padres was hardly a shocker. With the victory, the Dodgers now own the most wins against a divisional opponent since 2015, going 41-19 over that span.

But the sweep came with significance as the Dodgers got help from nearly every corner of the clubhouse. Time will tell if the Dodgers have turned the corner as well.

"We played a full game,'' said Seager, who went 7-for-16 in the series. "We pitched well, we hit well, we came up with hits with runners on base. That is how you get it going and it is a really good recipe for success.''

 Video: LAD@SD: Utley rips a two-run double to left-center

Roberts has been waiting for a collection of games like the last four. The one drawback is that closer Kenley Jansen still seeks consistency, but other than that, Roberts likes what he sees.

"When you are scoring the runs we are and stressing the [other team's] pitchers and our pitchers are attacking and we are getting guys on base and running the bases well, it just brings energy,'' Roberts said. "That is when we play our best.''

The Dodgers' hitters have flipped a switch, and maybe Justin Turner and Utley supplied the charge. They stressed being selective at the plate in a Sunday pregame meeting with position players, and the Dodgers haven't lost since.

"We're not afraid to run a count and we are not afraid to take a walk,'' Roberts said. "We talked about using the big part of the field, and Corey did it tonight and Muncy, going the other way for a homer, did it too. When we are taking walks and using the whole field, we are pretty tough.''

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
When Matt Kemp produced a slow roller for an infield hit to third baseman Christian Villanueva in the first inning, Villanueva should have put the ball in his back pocket. Instead, he tried to erase Kemp and ended up short-hopping first baseman Eric Hosmer. The ball got past Hosmer, which allowed Yasmani Grandal and Cody Bellinger to score two unearned runs and it put the wheels in motion for a rout.

 Video: LAD@SD: Dodgers score two runs on Villanueva's error

SOUND SMART
When these teams next meet, it will be on the other side of border. The Dodgers and Padres will square off May 4-6 in Monterrey, Mexico. It will be the Dodgers' fourth visit to the neighboring country, but their first time to play regular-season games. They made preseason trips in 1964, 1991 and 2003. The Dodgers aren't the only L.A. pro team heading south this year, as the Rams will face the Kansas City Chiefs in Mexico City on Nov. 19.

HE SAID IT
"For us to win a series is a great thing and to sweep a team and gain three games is big. Now, we got our work cut out. We got [Max] Scherzer and [Stephen] Strasburg, two of the best in the game -- we have to keep playing good baseball.'' -- Roberts, on sweeping the Padres and looking ahead to a three-game series with the Nationals

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
It was a heck of a catch, and then it wasn't. But it produced a dynamite throw. Left fielder Joc Pederson raced over to the wall in pursuit of Carlos Asuaje's foul ball in the seventh inning. The concrete barrier was waiting for him as well as some Dodgers fans leaning over and seeking a souvenir. Pederson leaped into the wall and made the catch, only for the ball to pop out of his glove when he came down and it struck his knee.

Video: LAD@SD: Umpires review fan interfence, call confirmed

A ticked-off Pederson gathered the ball, and instead of giving it to the Dodgers booster seeking it, he fired it into the third deck of Petco Park. Roberts requested a replay, but it was ruled that there was no fan interference.

UP NEXT
The Dodgers open a six-game homestand on Friday against the Washington Nationals after Thursday's off-day. Nationals ace Max Scherzer (3-1) will greet the Dodgers for the 7:10 p.m. PT first pitch. With scheduled starter Rich Hill (finger nail) going on the DL on Wednesday, Clayton Kershaw (1-2) will stay on his regular turn and face Scherzer.

Jay Paris is a contributor to MLB.com based in San Diego.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Muncy launches first Dodgers home run

Third baseman goes yard, makes impressive play in first start for LA
MLB.com

SAN DIEGO -- Third baseman Max Muncy continues to prove his jersey No. 13 is anything but unlucky. It was a good number for the Dodgers as well, with them blasting the Padres, 13-4, on Wednesday night.

Muncy, who was called up earlier in the week from Triple-A Oklahoma City, hit his first home run in 20 months when he took Luis Perdomo deep to the opposite field in the Dodgers' five-run third inning. It gave Muncy, the first Dodgers player to wear No. 13 at OKC, a single, walk and a solo roundtripper in his first three plate appearances since joining the Dodgers.

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SAN DIEGO -- Third baseman Max Muncy continues to prove his jersey No. 13 is anything but unlucky. It was a good number for the Dodgers as well, with them blasting the Padres, 13-4, on Wednesday night.

Muncy, who was called up earlier in the week from Triple-A Oklahoma City, hit his first home run in 20 months when he took Luis Perdomo deep to the opposite field in the Dodgers' five-run third inning. It gave Muncy, the first Dodgers player to wear No. 13 at OKC, a single, walk and a solo roundtripper in his first three plate appearances since joining the Dodgers.

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"It was very nice," Muncy said. "It is always nice to get the first of anything out of the way, whether it's a hit or home run or a play in the field. It kind of gets the butterflies out of your stomach."

It was the heart of the hitting zone that Perdomo's pitch found. Muncy was ready.

"I was just looking for something hard over the plate," Muncy said. "I put one of my best swings on it and it felt good off the bat, so I had a pretty good feel for it."

Comfortable at either corner infield position, Muncy was summoned when Logan Forsythe (shoulder) landed on the disabled list. He played in 96 games with the A's in 2015-16 and spent last season at OKC. He opened some eyes with a solid camp in the spring as a non-roster invitee.

Muncy proved his prowess with his glove when he made a sensational play in the seventh inning.

With Muncy shaded toward the hole at shortstop, Chase Headley hit a sharp grounder down the third-base line. Muncy stuck his glove out on the backhand side and, from a couple of steps in foul territory, he rifled a strike to first baseman Cody Bellinger to retire Headley.

Video: LAD@SD: Muncy nabs Headley with laser to first

"I take a lot of pride in my defense, but I was afraid the ball was going to hit the bag," Muncy said. "So I was getting ready for a ricochet or something. But I got it and from there, I just kind of blacked out."

When he came to, he was still a Los Angeles Dodger, smack dab in a lineup that produced 18 hits.

"It's pretty impressive,'' he said, "and it's fun to be a part of it."

Jay Paris is a contributor to MLB.com based in San Diego.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Max Muncy

Taking a cue from Joey Votto's playbook, Joc Pederson wound up and chucked a foul ball toward the heavens

When Carlos Asuaje lofted a fly ball down the left-field line in the seventh inning of the Dodgers' 13-4 win over the Padres on Wednesday night at Petco Park, Joc Pederson raced over in hopes of making a play. With a slight leap toward the stands, the Dodgers outfielder came down with the ball ... but it squirted out of his glove.

After an effort like that that went for naught, and suddenly in possession of a foul ball rather than an out, Pederson saw fit to dispose of the ball by hurling it toward the upper deck.

Dodgers place Hill on DL, call up Liberatore

Left-hander dealing with finger inflammation unrelated to past blister issues; Jansen's closer role 'absolutely not' at risk
MLB.com

SAN DIEGO -- The Los Angeles Dodgers recalled left-handed reliever Adam Liberatore from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday and placed left-hander Rich Hill (left middle finger inflammation) on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to April 15.

Hill cracked his nail in his last start and was unable to throw his bullpen session on Tuesday. While Hill said he's "frustrated," he doesn't think the ailment will be a long-term issue.

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SAN DIEGO -- The Los Angeles Dodgers recalled left-handed reliever Adam Liberatore from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday and placed left-hander Rich Hill (left middle finger inflammation) on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to April 15.

Hill cracked his nail in his last start and was unable to throw his bullpen session on Tuesday. While Hill said he's "frustrated," he doesn't think the ailment will be a long-term issue.

View Full Game Coverage

Hill last pitched on Saturday against the Diamondbacks, when he allowed seven runs on seven hits in five innings as he recorded his first loss of the season. In three starts this year, the southpaw has gone 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA (10 earned runs, 15 innings pitched) and has struck out 16 batters against seven walks.

"We're going to rest it for a few days and then come back," Hill said. "It's more of a precautionary thing. We want to get ahead of it now and not nurse it the entire season. We want to deal with it and get it done."

Hill has been derailed in the past with blisters on the fingers of his throwing hand. But he stressed that had nothing to do with his latest injury.

"It's just the nail that cracked and it's kind of one of those things where you don't have as much nail bend," Hill said. "So it just inhibits the command of the fastball."

Video: SF@LAD: Hill fans five across six scoreless innings

Hill was scheduled to start the series opener against the visiting Washington Nationals on Friday night. The Dodgers could keep Clayton Kershaw on his regular turn and switch him from Saturday's game to Friday's. They could also summon a reinforcement from the Minors or have multiple relievers handle the start.

"It just came upon us, so we are trying to figure it out," manager Dave Roberts said. "Clayton is an option if we move him up, or do we call someone else up and try to figure it out. So we are not set on our rotation. We are trying to talk our way through it."

Roberts, like Hill, said blisters are not in play.

"It's a different thing,'' Roberts said. "It's more of the nail itself, but I think for us, where we are right now and the history of stuff with him, we're just going to be prudent. Potentially, he might miss just one start, so we are not going to push it right now."

Liberatore, 30, has appeared in five games with the OKC Dodgers this season, going 1-0 and has not allowed an earned run in 6 1/3 innings of relief. He has struck out nine batters against two walks, while holding the opposition to a .240 average. The southpaw appeared in seven Cactus League games, allowing seven runs (six earned) in 6 2/3 innings, while striking out seven against four walks. Liberatore appeared in just four games with the Dodgers last season, allowing one run in 3 1/3 innings (2.70 ERA), but had several injuries.

"Lib can give us some length as far as two innings," Roberts said. "With his ability of getting a left-hander and a right-hander out and his potential for two innings, it just made more sense."

Jansen's woes
Kenley Jansen strolled through the clubhouse, whistling as he walked. If he was stressed over his latest struggles, it didn't show.

But less than 24 hours from blowing his second save in four chances, the Dodgers are no closer to deciphering what's wrong with their two-time All-Star.

"We are still trying to figure it out," Roberts said. "And really, we have no answer yet."

Jansen entered the ninth on Tuesday night with a 3-1 lead. But he allowed the Padres to tie the score in a game the Dodgers eventually won, 7-3, in 12 innings.

Video: LAD@SD: Headley laces a game-tying RBI double

"The one thing that was encouraging was his velocity was better than it had been," Roberts said. "But the other side of it was the characteristics of his cutter weren't doing what they were supposed to do. The health component, he keeps checking those boxes. It's more of just finishing that pitch at the end and getting the cut."

What Roberts isn't considering is moving Jansen out of his closer role.

"No, absolutely not," he said. "If there's a save situation tonight or a potential non-save situation to keep the game close, I have no hesitancy to run him out there.

"I think we are a ways from that. I think he has earned that and sometimes, with his track record, and guys like that, you have to let them work through it. It is more difficult when you are talking about the closer. It's not a mental thing, it's execution. So that is not our mind right now."

Jay Paris is a contributor to MLB.com based in San Diego.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Rich Hill, Adam Liberatore

Wednesday's best: Twins duo comes up big

MLB.com

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Wednesday.

When things are going well offensively, more at-bats are certainly welcomed. That being the case, Wednesday's doubleheader came at a good time for Nick Gordon and LaMonte Wade as the duo helped lead Double-A Chattanooga to a pair of wins over Jacksonville.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Wednesday.

When things are going well offensively, more at-bats are certainly welcomed. That being the case, Wednesday's doubleheader came at a good time for Nick Gordon and LaMonte Wade as the duo helped lead Double-A Chattanooga to a pair of wins over Jacksonville.

Gordon (No. 81 overall, Twins' No. 4) and Wade (Twins' No. 13) combined to go 7-for-12 (.583) with two homers and four RBIs over the two games.

Gordon, who went 2-for-4 and 2-for-3, has been swinging a particuarily hot bat lately. The 22-year-old is in the midst of a five-game hitting streak and has two or more hits in five of his past seven games. Gordon also has a homer in two of his past three contests, including Game 2 of the doubleheader.

Wade, who went deep in Game 1 and finished 2-for-3 and 1-for-2, is hitting .300 through 12 games this season and has multiple hits in three of his past five games.

Other top prospect performances from Wednesday's action:

• No. 3 overall prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays' No. 1) bounced back from Tuesday's 0-for-5 effort with a 2-for-2 day at the plate. Guerrero singled in the first inning, drove in a run via a sacrifice fly in the third, was hit by a pitch in the sixth and capped his day with a double in the seventh.

Video: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. named No. 3 prospect

• No. 33 overall prospect Alex Verdugo (Dodgers' No. 2) is on an absolute tear with Triple-A Oklahoma City. After going 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs against Round Rock, the 21-year-old outfielder is hitting .643 (9-for-14) with three homers and nine RBIs over his past five games.

• No. 57 overall prospect Jesus Sanchez (Rays' No. 4) put together his fourth straight multi-hit game and extended his hitting streak to six for Class A Advanced Charlotte. Sanchez, who is batting .370 through 12 games, went 4-for-5 with a homer -- his third in the past four games.

• No. 97 overall prospect Austin Riley (Braves' No. 8) pushed his average to .370 with his third straight multi-hit performance. Riley went 3-for-4 with a pair of triples and has nine extra-base hits in 13 games for Double-A Mississippi.

Video: Top Prospects: Austin Riley, 3B, Braves

• No. 99 overall prospect Blake Rutherford (White Sox No. 7) and Micker Adolfo (White Sox No. 10) combined for six hits as Class A Advanced Winston-Salem cruised past Down East. Rutherford, who has hits in five straight, went 3-for-5 with three doubles, while Adolfo went 3-for-6 with two RBIs.

Dodgers' No. 15 prospect Connor Wong hit his sixth homer of the season and turned in another two-hit game for Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga. Wong, who finished 2-for-4, has multiple hits in four of his past five games and has raised his average from .250 to .364 in that span.

Giants' No. 29 prospect Jordan Johnson extended his scoreless streak to 13 innings as he cruised through seven frames for Double-A Richmond. The right-hander, who picked up his second win of the season, threw 53 of his 76 pitches for strikes, gave up six hits and struck out five. Johnson also didn't issue a walk and has walked just one batter over his past two starts after giving out five free passes in his first outing.

• Mets prospects David Peterson (No. 2) and Quinn Brodey (No. 28) -- both members of the 2017 Draft class -- led Class A Columbia to a win over Greenville. Peterson, making his season debut, gave up one run on four hits over six innings, while Brodey extended his hitting streak to seven games with his first career two-homer effort. Brodey, who hit three homers in 63 games last season, went deep in both the eighth and ninth innings, finishing 2-for-4 with three RBIs.

Video: Top Prospects: David Peterson, LHP, Mets

• Rangers prospects Pedro Gonzalez (No. 10) and Anderson Tejeda (No. 12) each homered as part of multi-hit efforts for Class A Hickory and Class A Advanced Down East, respectively. Gonzalez hit his second homer of the season, a two-run blast, in the fifth to highlight a 2-for-3, two-RBI day. Tejeda, who also went 2-for-3, hit a three-run homer off of Dylan Cease (No. 61 overall, White Sox No. 5).

• Rays No. 28 prospect Resly Linares was nearly perfect in his second start for Class A Bowling Green. The 20-year-old lefty gave up seven runs in 3 2/3 innings in his first outing of the season, but this time around he threw 52 of his 85 pitches for strikes, struck out seven and allowed just two baserunners -- via a hit batter and an error -- over seven scoreless frames.

• Yankees prospects Thairo Estrada (No. 10) and Trevor Stephan (No. 15) did their part as Class A Advanced Tampa routed Daytona, 12-0. Estrada, who was making his season debut after recovering from a gunshot wound sustained in the offseason, wasted no time getting back into the swing of things. The 22-year-old doubled in his first at-bat on his way to a 3-for-5 game. Stephan strung together six zeros for the second straight start, lowering his ERA to 1.13. The right-hander walked two, gave up a pair of hits and struck out eight, bringing his season total to 22 punchouts through 16 innings.

William Boor is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.

Kemp goes yard in 2nd straight game vs. Padres

MLB.com

SAN DIEGO -- Matt Kemp continues to make himself at home in his former digs.

Kemp slugged his second home run in three at-bats against the Padres, blasting a two-run shot in the first inning Tuesday. The former Padre punished Bryan Mitchell's 81 mph curveball 421 feet to dead center to supply the Dodgers with a 2-0 lead. The Dodgers went on to win, 7-3, in 12 innings.

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SAN DIEGO -- Matt Kemp continues to make himself at home in his former digs.

Kemp slugged his second home run in three at-bats against the Padres, blasting a two-run shot in the first inning Tuesday. The former Padre punished Bryan Mitchell's 81 mph curveball 421 feet to dead center to supply the Dodgers with a 2-0 lead. The Dodgers went on to win, 7-3, in 12 innings.

View Full Game Coverage

Kemp has collected hits in three straight at-bats against San Diego. In Monday's 10-3 laugher, Kemp smacked a three-run homer. He's hit 19 career homers against the Padres and his 133 hits at San Diego's expense are the most among active players.

Jay Paris is a contributor to MLB.com based in San Diego.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Matt Kemp

Grandal picks up Jansen with 12th-inning rally

A few clutch hits help salvage Wood's solid outing
MLB.com

SAN DIEGO -- Yasmani Grandal's two-run double off Tyler Webb fueled a four-run 12th inning as the Dodgers beat the Padres, 7-3, on Tuesday night after Kenley Jansen scuffled again.

"Oh, man,'' Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after letting loose an impressive post-game sigh in his office.

View Full Game Coverage

SAN DIEGO -- Yasmani Grandal's two-run double off Tyler Webb fueled a four-run 12th inning as the Dodgers beat the Padres, 7-3, on Tuesday night after Kenley Jansen scuffled again.

"Oh, man,'' Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after letting loose an impressive post-game sigh in his office.

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Grandal's hit chased in Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger as the Dodgers produced their first three-game winning streak of the season. Kyle Farmer added a two-run double as well to clinch the series.

Video: LAD@SD: Farmer pads the Dodgers' lead in the 12th

Grandal was the star for the second straight night as he continues his impressive start.

"I don't want to imagine where we would be without him behind the plate and at the plate with what he has done: Getting big hits for us, getting on base, driving runs in and catching 12 innings tonight,'' Roberts said. "He has done amazing things."

Scott Alexander (1-0) pitched the 11th inning for the win while Webb (0-1), who was called up earlier on Tuesday, got the loss.

Alex Wood didn't figure into the decision, but he was solid. He allowed an unearned run and two hits over 5 2/3 innings. This came in the wake of his last outing, when he gave up more runs than in any game since July.

Video: LAD@SD: Wood K's seven on the road vs. the Padres

"I felt really good tonight,'' Wood said. "It was just my stuff. My fastball command was good. I was behind it and I was commanding it really well and it was sinking tonight.''

Unfortunately, that sinking feeling wasn't restricted to Wood's offerings. While the Dodgers close in on a possible sweep, the win left a bitter taste in one corner of the somber clubhouse.

Jansen is the Dodgers' closer, but another unsettling ninth inning raised further alarms for him.

"When you have a two-run lead and you have the best closer coming into the game, you don't expect to use three other relievers,'' Roberts said. "We have to get Kenley right because we are going to need him to accomplish what we want to accomplish.''

The Dodgers turned the game over to Jansen, ahead 3-1. But Eric Hosmer opened the inning with a homer off the struggling two-time All-Star and Chase Headley, as a pinch-hitter, tied the score with a sharp double to right, which scored Franchy Cordero.

"Today, I missed location and I missed by a lot,'' Jansen said. "I just have to find it and be consistent and I will be fine. But to Eric Hosmer, that ball was down the middle -- he got me.''

It was Jansen's second blown save in four appearances, after having just one in 42 chances last year. Jansen was lucky not to get tagged with the loss as he was aided by Chris Taylor's sensational catch. Taylor jumped near the top of the center-field fence to rob Christian Villanueva of extra bases.

Video: Taylor's game-saving catch

"Villanueva, again, down the middle -- that's not me,'' Jansen said. "Headley, he put a good swing on it and he got me on that one. But most of them were because of my location.''

Matt Kemp had three RBIs as he continues to torment his former team. He has six RBIs in the series' first two games and his first-inning homer, a two-run blast, was his second in as many evenings. Kemp's three home runs ties him for the club lead.

Video: LAD@SD: Kemp crushes a two-run homer in the 1st

If not for Jansen's hiccup, the clubhouse would have been thumping with loud music afterward. Instead it was quiet, as players hustled out into a night that lasted longer than most would have imagined.

"I have confidence in myself that I will find it, it's just a matter of time,'' Jansen said. "Hopefully I can get an opportunity tomorrow because tonight, that's no who I am.''

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bellinger had his biggest impact by husting down the line. When he hit a sharp one-out grounder to second with two men on in the 12th, it looked like the Dodgers' game-turning rally was circling the drain. But Bellinger, who's among the fastest Dodgers, beat Freddy Galvis' relay to first after Enrique Hernandez was erased at second. If Bellinger doesn't go hard to first, the inning would have been over, instead of the Dodgers putting the go-ahead four runs on the scoreboard.

SOUND SMART
It's easy to tell the veterans from the rookies. When a foul ball found its way to the Dodgers' dugout steps, Chase Utley made a sweet snag. He predictably flipped the ball over his head into the stands, and it quickly came right back. Utley, in his 16th season, forgot about the extended netting which now protects fans in Major League parks.

HE SAID IT
"It boils down to he is not executing like he normally does. I can't speak to if it is mechanic, all I can tell you is what I see with my eyes. And [his cut fastball] is not doing what it used to do." -- Roberts, on Jansen's struggles

UP NEXT
Dodgers right-hander Kenta Maeda (1-1) will draw Luis Perdomo (1-1) in Wednesday's series finale, with first pitch at 7:10 p.m.

Maeda hopes to get on track after a scratchy outing on Friday when losing to the Diamondbacks. He recorded but eight outs in allowing two runs on five hits with two walks. Against the Padres, Maeda is 3-3 lifetime in eight starts, with a 4.50 ERA.

Max Muncy, who was summoned from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday, is expected to make his first Dodgers start at third base.

Jay Paris is a contributor to MLB.com based in San Diego.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Yasmani Grandal

Jansen's continued woes concern Roberts

Dodgers' closer searches for answers after blowing another save
Special to MLB.com

Kenley Jansen will continue to search for answers. What he won't question is his belief.

"I just have to get better," Jansen said after blowing a save in an eventual 7-3 Dodgers victory over the Padres on Tuesday night. "I can't let that get in my mind of what's wrong with me; it's early in the year. I'm never going to let that confidence go."

Kenley Jansen will continue to search for answers. What he won't question is his belief.

"I just have to get better," Jansen said after blowing a save in an eventual 7-3 Dodgers victory over the Padres on Tuesday night. "I can't let that get in my mind of what's wrong with me; it's early in the year. I'm never going to let that confidence go."

The Dodgers' two-time All-Star closer has blown two save chances this year in four attempts after blowing just one in 42 opportunities a year ago. But that's not the most alarming stat.  

Strikeout rate
2018: 22.6%
2017: 42.3%

Walk rate
2018: 9.7%
2017: 2.7%

Cut fastball velocity
2018: 91.1 mph
2017: 93.2 mph

Jansen's walk rate is up, his strikeout rate is way down after hovering above 40 percent for each of his last three seasons, and the velocity on his signature cut fastball -- which he throws more than 80 percent of the time -- is down almost 2 mph.  

Still, look elsewhere for a pity party. Jansen wants no part of that.  

"I'm not going to feel sorry for myself or anything," he said postgame. "The good thing is we got the win."  

Jansen entered the ninth inning with a 3-1 lead on Tuesday, but he couldn't locate his fastball and his cutter didn't have its usual bite. Eric Hosmer burned the right-hander for a homer and Christian Villanueva nearly had another, but center fielder Chris Taylor went over the wall to rob him. (Another troubling stat: Jansen has already allowed three homers in 6 2/3 innings this year after allowing five in 68 1/3 innings in 2017.) 

Video: LAD@SD: Taylor robs Villanueva at the wall in the 9th

Jansen then issued a two-out walk to Franchy Cordero, who came around to score on a pinch-hit double by Chase Headley.  

"The velocity was good but the characteristics of his cutter … they were just not doing what they typically do," said manager Dave Roberts, whose team rallied for four runs in the 12th. "They were straight as a string to Hosmer and Villanueva." 

Video: LAD@SD: Hosmer crushes a solo homer off Jansen

Jansen mentioned that maybe his release point was off. Or his stride was lacking. Once he gets in the video room with pitching coach Rick Honeycutt on Wednesday, maybe the answer will be revealed. Somewhat encouraging was that his average cutter velo of 91.8 on the night tied for his season high (April 8 against the Giants).  

But until he can figure things out, Jansen will take the arrows that are pointed his way.  

"Listen people can criticize me, that's OK," he said. "They deserve to criticize me. But me, I have to be strong in my mind and know who I am. 

"It's a long season and I have that confidence that I am going to be all right. By the end of the year, hopefully, this will be over with and we had a great season and we won't be thinking about this month."  

Roberts doesn't know what to think. He just knows Jansen isn't on track.  

"Right now he's not right as far as the way the ball is coming out of the hand," Roberts said. "We have all the confidence in Kenley. It's one of those things people go through and he has to work his way out of it."

Jay Paris is a contributor to MLB.com based in San Diego.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Kenley Jansen

Chase Utley has reached 200 HBPs, so here's a handy infographic tracking the places he's been hit

During his 16-year career, Chase Utley has 259 home runs, 1,860 hits, 1,088 runs, 154 steals and six All-Star game appearances. He has one World Series ring. He has exactly one dab in Dubai.

But his most important stat, in our eyes, is his ability to get hit by pitches. And during Tuesday's Dodgers-Padres game, the 39-year-old reached the magical 200th mark by getting tagged in his favorite spot: The shoulder.

Grandal off to hot start after facing adversity

Catcher dealt with difficult family issues last season; Muncy promoted from Triple-A
Special to MLB.com

SAN DIEGO -- Catcher Yasmani Grandalarrived at Spring Training with much on his plate. Austin Barnes was there to claim his job and Grandal had to wrestle with the competition in his free-agency year.

But that paled in comparison to what Grandal went through the previous season.

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SAN DIEGO -- Catcher Yasmani Grandalarrived at Spring Training with much on his plate. Austin Barnes was there to claim his job and Grandal had to wrestle with the competition in his free-agency year.

But that paled in comparison to what Grandal went through the previous season.

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"I had a lot of things happen last year," said Grandal, whose third career grand slam served as an exclamation point in Monday's 10-3 win over the Padres. "My wife had a high-risk pregnancy and we didn't know if it was going to happen or not."

So Grandal would race home to Peoria, Ariz., to be with her whenever possible. Their son, Yasmani, is now a healthy 5-month-old.

"I just kept going back to Arizona countless times," he said. "If there was a flight available, I would take a flight. If not, I'm driving five hours over there and five hours back the next day. I couldn't tell you how many times -- every day off, even during homestands, I had to go back, especially when she reached 36 weeks. I was going back two, three times a week thinking he was coming some time. Every time my wife went into the hospital and was kept there, I made sure I was there."

So while his playing time diminished down the stretch and in the playoffs, Grandal had perspective. It stung to be on the bench, but Grandal was carrying a heavy load.

"There was a lot of things going on the outside when I look back at last year," said Grandal. "I think I did pretty good just handling what was going on around me and coming in every day and pretty much giving 100 percent."

Grandal didn't give up on his swing in the offseason, but he tinkered with it. He attempted to increase his launch angle while keeping his eagle eye, which lets him expertly discern balls from strikes.

"It's a process," he said. "It's sticking with what you work on and executing. I think the execution is the biggest thing and you knowing that there are going to be days when you feel [bad] and days when you feel really good. It's, 'How do you balance it out?'"

Video: LAD@SD: Grandal lines an RBI double to deep center

Grandal, a switch-hitter, is among the few Dodgers starting fast. Manager Dave Roberts said earlier in the series, dating to camp, he's never seen Grandal so focused. Going into Tuesday's game, Grandal had a team-high .372 average and 10 RBIs. He was tied for the club lead with three homers. On Tuesday, he provided what ended up being the game-winning hit, a two-run double in the 12th inning of a 7-3 win.

"I'm happy in the way my at-bats are going," Grandal said. "If I'm getting six-plus pitches per at-bat, I know it's not like that every single time, but if I'm able to work a count and able to get six or seven balls, even if I strike out, it doesn't mean I'm walking back feeling bad about myself. I'm thinking what pitch I could have hit, how they attacked me and knowing somebody is going to pay."

A solid season will result in a firm payday if Grandal hits the open market. But he's got a closed mind to that subject.

"I think you guys think about more than I do, to tell you the truth," he said. "I just want to play. If the numbers are there, that really doesn't matter. As long as I'm playing, I'm happy."

Grandal is good at stiff-arming distractions. He's content to keep his head down, do his work and contribute to a victory. The jeers pointed his direction by Padres fans toward this ex-Padre fall on deaf ears.

"Something happens when playing the game," he said. "I've had my daughter screaming before from two rows up and I'm not able to hear her. You are so locked in on what you are trying to do and if you're listening to everything on the outside, you are not going to be able to perform as good as you should be performing.

"My main concern when I'm playing the game is pretty much winning that day. I could care less what is happening around me. Unless there is a fight at Dodger Stadium and everybody stops, that's different."

Grandal had to battle his emotions last year. This year, his head is clear and his bat is sizzling.

"Whether I'm starting or not, it's about going back to the process, going back to the execution and knowing what you want to do," he said. "If you build a game plan and execute it, you should be fine."

Grandal, who drove in five runs on Monday night, is just that. And more importantly, so is his baby boy.

Muncy promoted, Valera optioned
The Dodgers selected the contract of infielder/outfielder Max Muncy before the game from Triple-A Oklahoma City and optioned infielder Breyvic Valera to OKC.

Muncy, 27, appeared in nine games with OKC, going 10-for-32 (.313) with two home runs, two doubles and four RBIs. He played with OKC last season and was a non-roster invitee to the big league camp, where he opened some eyes.

Video: SF@LAD: Muncy ropes an RBI triple to right field

Muncy is expected to start on Wednesday in the series finale with the Padres and in Friday's series opener against the Nationals. Muncy provides infield depth as the team juggles playing with Justin Turner (wrist) and Logan Forsythe (shoulder) on the disabled list.

"We want to see Max," Roberts said. "That was our original idea when Logan went down. He's a good defender at third and first and we really like him in the box."

Muncy just wants to see the field.

"Part of being a defensive utility guy is you never know where you're going to play,'' he said. "They said, 'Just be ready.'"

Jay Paris is a contributor to MLB.com based in San Diego.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Yasmani Grandal

Dodgers acquire RHP Hernandez from Reds

RHP Neal, 1B Isabel sent to Cincinnati in return
MLB.com

The Dodgers acquired Minor League right-hander Ariel Hernandez from the Reds in exchange for Minor League right-hander Zach Neal and first baseman Ibandel Isabel on Tuesday.

Hernandez, 26, appeared in three games for Double-A Pensacola this season, tossing 3 1/3 scoreless innings and picking up two saves. In 39 appearances between Pensacola and Triple-A Louisville last season, he posted a 3.24 ERA over 50 innings. He made his Major League debut last season with Cincinnati, appearing in 19 games with a 5.18 ERA over 24 1/3 innings.

The Dodgers acquired Minor League right-hander Ariel Hernandez from the Reds in exchange for Minor League right-hander Zach Neal and first baseman Ibandel Isabel on Tuesday.

Hernandez, 26, appeared in three games for Double-A Pensacola this season, tossing 3 1/3 scoreless innings and picking up two saves. In 39 appearances between Pensacola and Triple-A Louisville last season, he posted a 3.24 ERA over 50 innings. He made his Major League debut last season with Cincinnati, appearing in 19 games with a 5.18 ERA over 24 1/3 innings.

Neal, 29, appeared in one game for Los Angeles this season, on April 3 vs. the D-backs in Arizona. He pitched the eighth inning, giving up a run on two hits. At Triple-A Nashville in the Athletics organization last season, he posted a 4.82 ERA in 21 games (16 starts).

Ibandel, 22, was hitting .238 (5-for-21) with two doubles and a home run for Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga this season. In 2017, he slashed .259/.327/.489 with 28 homers in 122 games for Rancho Cucamonga.

With the transaction, the Dodgers have 40 players on their 40-man roster.

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Ariel Hernandez

Tuesday's top prospect performers

MLB.com

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Tuesday.

With top pitching prospect Triston McKenzie sidelined to begin the season, Shane Bieber and Sam Hentges are taking center stage in the Cleveland Indians' farm system. They combined to throw 13 scoreless innings with 16 strikeouts, as each hurler recorded his second win in three starts at his respective level.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Tuesday.

With top pitching prospect Triston McKenzie sidelined to begin the season, Shane Bieber and Sam Hentges are taking center stage in the Cleveland Indians' farm system. They combined to throw 13 scoreless innings with 16 strikeouts, as each hurler recorded his second win in three starts at his respective level.

Bieber, Cleveland's No. 8 prospect, fired seven scoreless frames, allowing four hits and striking out six to lead Double-A Akron past Altoona, 2-0. The 22-year-old right-hander extended his season-opening scoreless-innings streak to 20 with the performance, during which he's allowed just 10 hits and zero walks while striking out 23 batters.

That Bieber, the Indians' fourth-round pick in the 2016 Draft, is yet to issue a walk should not be surprising -- he issued just 12 free passes (two intentional) in 173 1/3 innings last season to lead all Minor League hurlers both in walk rate (1.5 percent) and walks-per-nine innings (0.5 BB/9).

Hentges (No. 17) also dazzled in his start for Class A Advanced Lynchburg, posting six blank frames to help the Hillcats defeat Frederick, 4-1. The 21-year-old lefty scattered six hits and one walk with 10 strikeouts in arguably his best outing since returning from Tommy John surgery last June. He's quickly emerged as Lynchburg's ace in McKenzie's absence, posting a 0.56 ERA with 19 strikeouts and three walks in 16 innings (three starts) to begin the season.

The rest of the best performances from top prospects Tuesday

• It took him 10 games, but No. 2 overall prospect Ronald Acuna (Braves' No. 1) is finally on the board with his first home run. The 20-year-old phenom connected on a two-run shot to left field in the fifth inning, before finishing 2-for-4 with two runs and a walk in Triple-A Gwinnett's win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The RBIs also were firsts for Acuna, who's hitting .175 overall with two extra-base hits after his second multi-hit game.

Acuna's first 2018 homer

No. 13 overall prospect Bo Bichette (Blue Jays' No. 2) extended his hitting streak to nine games with an RBI single in Double-A New Hampshire's loss to Binghamton. Bichette also scored and run and stole his fourth base. The 20-year-old shortstop is hitting .341 through 10 games and ranks among the top three in the Eastern League in both runs scored (10) and hits (15).

No. 14 overall prospect Brendan Rodgers (Rockies' No. 1) broke out of a 1-for-26 slump by going 3-for-4 in Double-A Hartford's loss to Portland in game one of a doubleheader. One of the 21-year-old shortstop's hits was a double, and he also plated a run in the three-hit performance, his second this season.

No. 29 overall prospect Juan Soto (Nationals' No. 2) collected a pair of hits in both ends of Class A Hagerstown's doubleheader to improve his season slash line to a robust .415/.537/.902. The 19-year-old outfielder went 2-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI in the opener and then reached base four times in the nightcap in a 2-for-2, two-walk performance. Altogether, Soto has produced 10 extra-base hits and 20 RBIs in 12 games, with nearly twice as many walks (13) as strikeouts (seven).

No. 60 overall prospect Jesus Luzardo (A's No. 2) furthered his reputation as one of baseball's top left-handed pitching prospects by spinning five no-hit frames with nine strikeouts for Class A Advanced Stockton. He allowed just two hitters to reach base -- one via a walk and the other on his own error -- and threw 50 of his 76 pitches for strikes. The 20-year-old southpaw has been dominant to begin the season, posting a 1.23 ERA with 25 strikeouts and .120 opponents' average over 14 2/3 innings (three starts) in the hitter-friendly California League.

No. 81 overall prospect Nick Gordon (Twins' No. 4) has at least one hit and one RBI in three straight games after connecting on his first home run, a solo shot, in Double-A Chattanooga's win over Jacksonville. The 22-year-old middle infielder is off to a strong start in 2018, hitting .350/.381/.550 through 10 games in his second tour of the Southern League.

Angels No. 10 prospect Michael Hermosillo set a career high with six RBIs behind a trio of run-producing extra-base hits in Triple-A Salt Lake's rout of Sacramento. The 23-year-old outfielder accrued his RBIs in the first six innings, too, as he plated two runs with a triple in the second inning, connected on a three-run homer in the fourth and then added a solo shot two frames later to finish 3-for-5. Hermosillo also scored two runs and recorded an outfield assist in center field.

Hermosillo's second homer

Blue Jays' No. 9 prospect T.J. Zeuch tossed six scoreless innings en route to his second win in three starts for Class A Advanced Dunedin. He scattered five hits with two walks and eight strikeouts while generating an additional seven outs on the ground. The 6-foot-7 right-hander has completed at least six innings in each of his three starts for Dunedin, posting a 2.89 ERA with a 0.96 WHIP and 17 strikeouts in 18 2/3 frames overall.

Brewers No. 5 prospect Luis Ortiz set a career high with 10 strikeouts for Double-A Biloxi after entering the game as a reliever in the fourth inning. The 22-year-old righty would work the remaining 6 1/3 frames, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits and three walks as the Shuckers fell 4-3 to Mobile in 10 innings. At the plate for Biloxi, Corey Ray (No. 7) stayed hot with his fourth straight multi-hit performance as he finished 2-for-5 with two steals. He's hit a double in four straight games and has an extra-base hit in nine of his past 10 contests.

Dodgers No. 16 prospect Caleb Ferguson took a no-decision for Double-A Tulsa despite posting five scoreless frames of two-hit ball. He tallied nine strikeouts against just one walk while throwing 53 of his 73 pitches for strikes. The 21-year-old righty sports a 0.87 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings through three starts for the Drillers.

Ferguson fans nine

Giants No. 8 prospect Shaun Anderson led the way with six scoreless innings as Double-A Richmond blanked Bowie, 1-0. Facing three batters over the minimum in the outing, Anderson, whom San Francisco acquired from Boston at last year's Trade Deadline, yielded four hits and one walk while pairing four strikeouts with nine ground-ball outs. He threw 86 pitches, 52 for strikes.

Orioles No. 17 prospect Zac Lowther allowed three hits over five innings in his second straight scoreless start for Class A Delmarva. He struck out seven and did not issue a walk, throwing 58 of his 84 pitches for strikes in the outing. The 21-year-old lefty has been dominant early in his first full season, posting a 0.36 WHIP with 20 strikeouts across 11 scoreless frames (both wins).

Reds No. 5 prospect Tony Santillan has gone 16 innings without allowing an earned run as he pitched Class A Advanced Daytona past Tampa, 8-2. The 21-year-old righty gave up three hits in six innings, struck out five and hit a batter. He's limited opposing hitters to a .145 average across his first three starts, posting 18 strikeouts against four walks in 16 innings.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.