Dodgers edge Padres, maintain division lead
SAN DIEGO -- Alex Wood picked a good time to make his best start as a Dodger. Los Angeles needed all seven of his scoreless innings -- and two more from the bullpen -- for a 2-0 victory over the Padres Saturday night at Petco Park.
Wood was brilliant, allowing just three hits in his longest start since he was acquired from the Braves at the Trade Deadline. With the win, the Dodgers remained a season high 7 1/2 games ahead in the NL West race, as the second-place Giants beat the Rockies.
"We're playing really good baseball right now, everything is starting to come together," said Wood. "Last night the bats come alive and score a bunch of runs. Tonight, we pitch well, played good defense and had clutch hitting. It's a different guy every night. I think our depth is really, really good. I'd be surprised if there was a team that had more depth."
Saturday night was Wood's turn to step up, and he rose to the occasion.
"Credit to the Dodger pitcher he threw the ball really well and kept us off-balance," Padres interim manager Pat Murphy said. "He's good, he's got 10 wins ... the changeup was good, breaking ball was good. He threw it when he wanted to and he kept the ball down, had us out in front all night and playing for it. He executed his pitches, so credit to him."
Padres starter Tyson Ross nearly matched Wood, allowing one run on five hits over six innings. Ross' ERA now sits at 3.21, the lowest it's been since his first start, but he took the loss, nonetheless, as the Padres were shut out for the 17th time -- the most in the Majors.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Back in blue: Andre Ethier was in the lineup for the first time since he fouled a ball off his right knee Wednesday night. The Dodgers right fielder didn't miss a beat, going 3-for-4 with a walk, including doubles in his first two at-bats. He came around to score the game's first run in the fourth inning on Carl Crawford's ground-rule double.
"We've seen it two or three different times this year -- when he gets a couple days off, we had some lefties, and things like that, he's come back really swinging well," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "I think the days off definitely helped him."
Said Ethier: "If it's not in there, I'm taking, if it is, I'm going to take a good hack at it and try to square it up. That's simply what it is."
Ross escapes like a boss: Ross didn't always make it easy on himself during Saturday's game, but the right-hander got out of jams without damage three times with runners in scoring position. Despite allowing consecutive doubles in the fourth inning, Ross was solid throughout his start. More >
"I didn't have my best stuff tonight, but kind of grinded it out and just tried to keep us in there," Ross said.
Dodgers great in the 8th: The Dodgers added another run in the top of the eighth when Joc Pederson blooped an RBI single to left off Padres reliever Joaquin Benoit. Mattingly then called upon righty reliever Chris Hatcher, who retired the heart of the Padres' lineup in order, getting Jedd Gyorko and Matt Kemp to fly out, before fanning Justin Upton with three straight sliders.
"We've been trying to find somebody, just being able to be consistent," Mattingly said of his search for a setup man for Kenley Jansen. "... It seems like [Hatcher] has got a little confidence right now."
I'm Ron Burgundy? Actor Will Ferrell was in attendance for the game, part of a sellout crowd of 43,536 at Petco Park. Following the game, "Ferrell Takes the Field" -- an HBO special documenting Ferrell's Spring Training escapades in Arizona -- debuted on the video board in left field.
"You can't count out what the Giants have done over the last five, six years. For some reason they have a special thing up there going. They're able to make runs and do what they're capable of doing -- whether it's Wild Card position or winning their own division. You can't count them out. You can't put too many games in between. Keep winning games you're supposed to." -- Ethier
In the fourth inning, Murphy challenged the call that Justin Upton was out at second base. With Upton sliding into second, Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley lost control of the ball, but eventually grabbed it in time to step on the bag. The call on the field was confirmed, giving the Padres their second out of the inning.
With no one out in the sixth inning, Wood used a quick step-off move to catch Matt Kemp off of first base. Crew chief Ted Barrett called Kemp safe, but a replay review overturned the call, ruling that Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez applied the tag in time.
Dodgers: Brett Anderson (8-8, 3.43 ERA) takes the hill, facing the Padres for the first time since 2009. He has faced only two players on the Padres' active roster and neither of them has a hit. Melvin Upton Jr. is 0-for-8, and Brett Wallace is 0-for-3.
San Diego:Andrew Cashner (5-13, 4.15 ERA) will be on the mound for the Padres, making his fourth start against the Dodgers this season. The right-hander is 0-2 with a 3.50 ERA against the Dodgers this year
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