Dodgers pound Padres, increase division lead
SAN DIEGO -- The Home Run Derby comes to Petco Park next July, but the Dodgers staged their own edition Friday night. In an 8-4 victory over the Padres, Los Angeles launched five home runs, including three taters in a decisive five-run sixth inning.
The win, coupled with a Giants loss, gives the Dodgers a season-high 7 1/2-game lead in the National League West, putting a third straight division title squarely on the horizon. Justin Ruggiano's pinch-hit, two-run shot in the sixth gave L.A. a 5-3 lead before Adrian Gonzalez and Chase Utley went back-to-back later in the frame.
"We said all year long, we didn't really play as a home run-hitting club, but we kind of continue to hit them," said manager Don Mattingly, whose Dodgers lead the NL with 162 long balls. "... However you win a game, you win a game. Obviously I'm not going to complain about home runs."
Matt Kemp, Jedd Gyorko and Brett Wallace went deep for the Padres, and the eight combined home runs tied a single-game Petco Park record.
Padres starter James Shields labored, needing 107 pitches -- just 60 of them strikes -- to get through five innings. Still, he managed to limit the Dodgers to three runs on three hits, despite a career-high six walks. Shields surrendered two of the home runs and has now given up 28 on the season, tied for the third most in the Majors.
"I don't think he was missing by much," Padres interim manager Pat Murphy said. "I think that he certainly made big pitches and gave us a chance, but we were hoping he wasn't that deep in his pitch count in the fifth. He had a lot of close pitches and it didn't go his way. I'm not complaining, just saying, he had a lot of close ones and it wasn't like his command was way off, he was just missing by a little."
Dodgers starter Mike Bolsinger, pitching in a de facto tryout for the starting rotation, also lasted five innings. He allowed three runs on two hits and picked up the win. It's uncertain whether he'll remain in the rotation going forward.
"I went down [to Triple-A] and did two different kind of roles," Bolsinger said. "So if they want me to come up here and do two different kind of roles, I really don't have a problem with it. I felt really comfortable coming out of the bullpen. … Whatever they want me to do, I'll do it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Your move, Skip: A chess match broke out in the top of the sixth inning when Bolsinger's spot came up in the batting order. Mattingly called on lefty Andre Ethier to pinch-hit, and Murphy countered with lefty specialist Marc Rzepczynski. That's when Mattingly dug deeper into his bench for Ruggiano, who owns an .832 career OPS against lefties. Ruggiano crushed the first strike he saw into the Padres' bullpen, and the floodgates opened. More >
"[Ethier] would have been able to hit if they left the righty in there," Mattingly said. "I just thought it was going to be a lefty."
In the neighborhood? For the second consecutive night, the neighborhood play was the subject of considerable controversy. With the bases loaded and one out in the fifth, Padres shortstop Gyorko received a throw from first baseman Wil Myers about half a foot off the bag on an attempted double play. Second-base umpire Ted Barrett ruled the baserunner out, and he didn't budge when Mattingly came out to argue. Coincidentally, that baserunner was Utley, who was not given the benefit of the doubt on a neighborhood-play call Thursday night.
Nonetheless, Gyorko's ensuing throw to first base sailed wide, and the Dodgers tied the game at 3.
Scott's first trot: Scott Schebler, a September callup and the Dodgers' No. 12 prospect, launched his first career home run in the second inning. There was never any doubt about it. Schebler smacked a 3-2 changeup from Shields into the sandbox over the right-center-field wall. The ball had an exit velocity of 109 mph and traveled 444 feet, according to Statcast™.
"It was awesome," Schebler said. "To do it off James Shields is pretty special. And just to get it out of the way is nice, too."
Kemp's 200th HR: Kemp blasted a 411-foot two-run homer in the first inning, marking the 200th home run of his career and No.18 this season. Kemp is now one of 34 active players and one of 16 active National League players to reach the milestone.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Dodgers' five home runs are the most they've hit in a single game since they went deep six times against the D-backs on Sept. 9, 2013. Friday also marked the first time Los Angeles has ever hit five home runs in a game in San Diego. But it wasn't all about the long ball. The Dodgers swiped three bases, too, giving them five homers and three steals in a game for the first time since 2002.
In the third inning, Gyorko hit what looked to be a just barely a home run to left field, but a fan in the crowd reached out for the catch, sending the ball back toward the field and Gyorko halted at second base. After a crew-chief review, the call was overturned, giving the Padres their third run of the game.
"The most important thing is keeping the team in the ballgame. Because with this offense, they're going to come back and get you a win." -- Bolsinger
Dodgers: Alex Wood starts against the Padres for just the second time in his career Saturday evening. Wood was hit hard last July 25 vs. San Diego for five runs and 12 hits in five innings. Ethier could make his return from a bruised right knee. He didn't start the first two games of the series after fouling a ball off his right knee on Wednesday.
Padres: San Diego will send Tyson Ross to the mound for the third game of a four-game series against the Dodgers. Ross (10-9 , 3.27 ERA), last faced the Dodgers on April 7, when he took a no-decision, allowing two runs on six hits through six innings.
Exclusive premiere: Fans in attendance will be treated to an exclusive premiere on the Petco Park video board of comedy star Will Ferrell in "Ferrell Takes The Field," immediately following the game. The one-hour special makes its debut on HBO a week later, on Sept. 12.
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