LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers flashed an offense on Saturday more like the one that pushed them into the World Series last year, leaving starter Alex Wood to stand up and take responsibility for a 7-5 loss to the San Diego Padres.
Wood gave up five runs, the most he has allowed since a clunker on April 11 against the A's when he was tagged for seven runs and didn't last four innings. And with Chris Taylor and Justin Turner hitting home runs on Saturday to bring about memories of 2017, Wood wanted all responsibility to end at his locker.
"That loss is on me," Wood said once the first question was presented to him postgame. "I kind of battled through the first five innings and convinced [manager Dave Roberts] to let me go back out in the sixth. … But this is on me tonight. They battled for me early, scored some runs, and there is just no way around it."
In that fateful sixth inning, the Padres tied the game on a two-run blast from Christian Villanueva. It was the first of two home runs from the Padres rookie and the third allowed by Wood, including one from former Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis.
After Villanueva's sixth-inning homer tied it at 5, the Padres added two runs on the Dodgers' bullpen, with Jose Pirela hitting a go-ahead RBI single in the seventh inning off Daniel Hudson and Villanueva adding his second home run of the game, and 14th of the season, off Josh Fields in the eighth.
While Wood was willing to fall on the sword, his teammates would have none of it, especially since the left-hander had given up two earned runs or fewer in each of his last four starts.
"He knows we always have his back," Taylor said. "I thought he looked good. There were just a couple of pitches they put some good swings on. They got a couple of his changeups. But other than that, I thought he looked all right."
Taylor looked more than all right. In fact, he said it was the most he has felt like his 2017 self, when he came out of nowhere to hit 21 home runs with a .496 slugging percentage.
Taylor has been shuffled all around the lineup, but lately has been back in the leadoff spot and justifying the move. Taylor led off the first inning with his third leadoff home run this season and the sixth of his career, tying Todd Hollandsworth for fourth in Los Angeles Dodgers history.
"Tonight is probably the best I have felt all season, but there are going to be ups and downs," Taylor said. "Tonight I was seeing it well, so hopefully I can build on it."
Turner also left himself with something to build on, although he does have 11 hits in his first 11 games of the year. He collected two walks on Saturday and hit his first home run of the season, after starting the campaign on the disabled list with a broken wrist suffered when he was hit by a pitch in Spring Training.
Even with Wood's rough day and the two runs that were given up by the bullpen, Roberts was looking at the positives. The Dodgers have won seven of their last nine games and have a chance to win a third straight series for the first time this season.
"I think that if you look back honestly over the past 10 days, the energy, the way we're playing the game, I thought we just got beat tonight," Roberts said. "I don't think we played bad. These are a lot easier to take. So there might have been a missed opportunity here or there, but that's baseball. I think just the way we came out and played tonight was the way that I like seeing."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Joc cuts down Margot: Previously a center fielder with the Dodgers, Joc Pederson is making the most of his opportunities in left field. In the fifth inning, he grabbed a line drive from Travis Jankowski and easily threw out the speedy Manuel Margot, who was trying to tag up and score from third base. It was the 12th outfield assist of Pederson's career.
HE SAID IT
"You can tell. His takes, his at-bats tonight, against a guy [Jordan Lyles] with that kind of stuff, and he was on every pitch. It was really good to see tonight, and he's one of those guys who gets a good feel and runs with it." -- Dodgers infielder John Forsythe, on Taylor's night at the plate