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Turner fumes after final K in frustrating loss

Offense stalls in San Diego; Error-tainted inning looms large
@kengurnick
August 27, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- Class relief didn’t help the Dodgers on Monday night, as they followed up a series loss to the mighty Yankees with a frustrating 4-3 defeat to the Padres at Petco Park. Angst boiled over as the game ended when Justin Turner was called out on strikes by

SAN DIEGO -- Class relief didn’t help the Dodgers on Monday night, as they followed up a series loss to the mighty Yankees with a frustrating 4-3 defeat to the Padres at Petco Park.

Angst boiled over as the game ended when Justin Turner was called out on strikes by home-plate umpire Rob Drake. Turner argued the call as Drake walked off the field, and then an apparent bumping incident occurred and crew chief Tim Timmons raced in from first base to intervene. Turner was the 13th strikeout victim in the Dodgers' lineup on Monday, and the 52nd in the club's past four games.

Box score

“There was a lot of very questionable calls throughout the game,” Turner said. “He called strike three and I asked him, ‘Did you call that a strike?’ And he told me it was right down the middle, which was pretty upsetting.

“Then, he walks into me and told me not to bump him, which also upsets me. [I'm] not trying to bump him or touch him in any way. But when you walk into me and cry foul like I hit you or something, it’s brutal.”

Turner slugged his 24th homer, doubled in a run and singled in this game, to go with an Enrique Hernandez solo homer in support of five dominating innings from rookie starter Dustin May, who will get one more start before resuming his bullpen experiment.

But all that was good for the Dodgers during the first five innings was undermined by a complete defensive breakdown on a routine play, resulting in the decisive three-run sixth for the Padres.

With the Dodgers leading, 3-1, pinch-hitter Austin Allen led off with a double to right-center on a May curveball and advanced to third on a single by Greg Garcia. Josh Naylor beat the shift with a grounder through the vacated shortstop spot to score Allen, and center fielder A.J. Pollock’s throw bounced through the legs of third baseman Turner. The error was charged to Pollock.

“Proved to be the difference in the game,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

May forgot to back up the play, and the ball rolled into the Dodgers' dugout, allowing Garcia to score from second, while Naylor was sent to third as the game became tied. Former Dodger Manny Machado grounded out to score Naylor and give San Diego a 4-3 lead -- one it clung to the rest of the way.

“There’s no excuse for what happened,” May said. “I should have been behind third to back the ball up. Can’t let it go into the dugout in that situation. A huge situation.”

“The throw came in and I was assuming Corey [Seager, at shortstop,] was going to cut it off, but it was over his head,” Turner said. “I tried to knock it down, and it just sneaked by me.”

More offense would have provided a margin for that error, but the Dodgers have scored more than three runs only once in their past nine games.

“It’s baseball,” Turner said with a smile. “If you guys expect us to score 10, 12 runs every single night, you guys are out of your mind. We just got to keep working, keep putting together ABs, and stuff like this happens during the course of a season to every single team, no matter how good or bad they are.”

The Dodgers, who were 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position over the weekend, were 1-for-10 in such situations against the Padres and stranded the bases loaded twice against Padres starter Eric Lauer, who was outpitched by May, but is 5-0 in his career against Los Angeles.

“You can look at the end of the at-bat, but tonight and the last few games, there’s been a lot of swing and miss in the zone,” Roberts said. “When you get a pitch to hit, you’ve got to hit them.”

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