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Decker's first start in L.A. holds special meaning

First baseman tallies first big league RBI at hometown ballpark

LOS ANGELES -- Three plate appearances in his first Major League start on Friday didn't produce that elusive first hit for Cody Decker, but he didn't leave Dodger Stadium at a total loss.

Decker might not have a batting average, but he has one RBI, which came as part of the Padres' 6-2 loss to the Dodgers.

"I have a Major League stat, and that's a good start," Decker said. "Any big league stat is better than all my Minor League stats combined. No one's going to look at my Minor League stats and go, 'Oh, what a ballplayer!" They're going to look at the RBI and say, 'Hey you did that.'"

Decker, 28, had a seventh-inning sacrifice fly, giving the Padres their second run on a night when little went right. Don't tell Decker as much, though.

Playing in front of 70 or so friends and family -- Decker is a native of Santa Monica and played at UCLA -- Decker got his first start at first base. He went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts before getting the sacrifice fly in the seventh inning.

Decker is now 0-for-8 since being recalled from Triple-A El Paso on Sept. 14.

"It was nice to get his first RBI. He's putting a lot of pressure on himself to get that big hit and that's not good," said Padres interim manager Pat Murphy.

"But he's been great. Tonight will take a little pressure off him. Cody is the type of guy with his swing you need to get him in there. Otherwise, he's going to have a tough time showing what he can do. For him, it's rhythm, timing and seeing pitches."

Decker won't start Saturday against righty Zack Greinke, though he could play in Sunday's regular season finale against lefty Clayton Kershaw.

Another start or at least an at-bat at Dodger Stadium, where he grew up watching games, rooting for the Dodgers, wouldn't be so bad. Decker admitted he had a moment Friday when it hit him where he was playing.

"Actually, it was before batting practice. I'd just gotten here and went out to center field and took a photo. I was like, 'Wow, I'm playing here today.' That's something special," Decker said.

"It's where I grew up. I've been in the stands cheering. And now I'm on the field and those fans are booing and it's fantastic. It was a lot of fun."

Corey Brock is a reporter for Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast.
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