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No walk-off magic for Dodgers as streak ends

@kengurnick
July 6, 2019

LOS ANGELES – There was the unexpected Friday night (a 7.1 earthquake) and then something really unexpected, a 3-2 loss at home by the Dodgers to the Padres. No Cody Bellinger home runs and especially no walk-off magic, which has become such a go-to for the Dodgers at home lately

LOS ANGELES – There was the unexpected Friday night (a 7.1 earthquake) and then something really unexpected, a 3-2 loss at home by the Dodgers to the Padres.

No Cody Bellinger home runs and especially no walk-off magic, which has become such a go-to for the Dodgers at home lately that manager Dave Roberts said he was actually expecting it again.

Box score

But Hunter Renfroe, who hit an eighth-inning home run off Yimi Garcia that was the gamer-winner and made a diving catch on Alex Verdugo to end the seventh inning, robbed Joc Pederson of extra bases in the right-field corner leading off the bottom of the ninth.

Then with two out, All-Star closer Kirby Yates bounced a 93-mph fastball off the helmet of Russell Martin (he’s fine) to bring up Chris Taylor with a walk-off chance, but he struck out.

“I thought it would be a double,” Roberts said of Pederson’s drive that Renfroe ran down a step in front of the box-seat railing. “It could have been interesting.”

The game was interesting enough, particularly the earthquake, centered roughly 150 miles northeast of Dodger Stadium. It had the 57-year-old ballpark swaying when it struck with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning and Enrique Hernandez at the plate. He stepped out of the box and, after a few anxious moments, flied out to left field.

The defeat snapped the Dodgers’ nine-game home win streak and their streak of winning All-Star Clayton Kershaw’s last 11 home starts. The Padres halted a five-game losing streak and beat the Dodgers for only the second time in seven meetings this year.

Although neither the Dodgers nor Kershaw got a win, he bounced back from a pair of tough starts when he allowed a combined nine runs in the previous 13 innings (one of the starts was at Coors Field).

This time, he was charged with two runs (one earned) in seven innings, much more All-Star-like for the eight-time All-Star.

“The last couple wasn’t sharp, but he was really good tonight,” said Roberts. “He was fun to watch, really on point, pitching to quadrants, he did sequencing, everything was really good.”

Kershaw, who settled for a no-decision, agreed with his manager about the walk-off potential.

“We’re never out of it,” he said. “Our team believes it can win every game, and we’ve had proof of that with the walk-offs we’ve had in a row [five], which is incredible. Tonight’s no different, we thought we could do it, but Yates threw the ball really well.”

Kershaw said San Diego starter Eric Lauer, who also was charged with two runs (one earned) over six innings, rose to the occasion, as did his team, suggesting that the Dodgers, with a 14 1/2-game lead in the division, are everybody’s target.

“He throws the ball well against us,” said Kershaw. “You can tell that they play, not necessarily different, but you know, these games against us, you kind of feel they’re getting after it. Lauer maybe steps up his game against us. He got out of big jams. There’s some innings we could have capitalized on their mistakes, and he pitched out of those jams.”

Kershaw said he was in the tunnel behind the dugout and didn’t feel the earthquake or know it happened until he was told.

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