Jansen allows first walk-off of career

Dodgers closer's first blown save of season adds to bullpen woes

May 21st, 2016
Kenley Jansen snapped a streak of 25 straight successful saves. (Getty)

SAN DIEGO -- Just when the Dodgers thought things couldn't get worse for the bullpen, closer Kenley Jansen allowed the first walk-off home run of his career Friday night and the team tumbled one game below .500.

Melvin Upton Jr.'s two-run blast on an 0-2 pitch in the bottom of the ninth -- following a catchable bloop single by Wil Myers that center fielder Joc Pederson couldn't reach, and second baseman Chase Utley couldn't catch ("No man's land," said manager Dave Roberts) -- ended a seesaw 7-6 win by the Padres.

The Dodgers overcame two deficits and a career-high seven walks from starting pitcher Scott Kazmir; received home runs from slumping Yasiel Puig and Justin Turner, the latter after a clutch two-out single by Carl Crawford; and got through the eighth inning unscathed.

Then the team that they outscored, 25-0, while sweeping the season-opening series handed Jansen his first blown save of the season and snapped a streak of 25 straight successful saves dating back to last year.

Jansen, who struck out Derek Norris to end the eighth inning with the tying run on second base, was asked to get more than three outs for the third time this year. He succeeded the previous two tries.

"Going to Kenley there was a no-brainer," said Roberts, whose club has lost five of the last six.

When it went bad, Jansen left the clubhouse without speaking to reporters and catcher Yasmani Grandal was not available to discuss the doomsday at-bat.

"Tonight was one of those for sure head-scratchers," said Roberts. "Kenley has been lights out. You can't expect him to be perfect. I expect to have a lead tomorrow and use him again and I expect him to rebound. It's not an easy game. Got to be a man about it and turn the page."

Jansen came into the game with a 0.55 ERA and 13 saves in 17 games, six shy of Eric Gagne's franchise record of 161. He had made seven consecutive scoreless appearances while allowing opposing hitters a .132 average and a 0.49 WHIP.

Upton had struck out the three previous times he faced Jansen.

"That's baseball," said Roberts. "There's no one formula. When you make a decision and it doesn't work out it's a bad decision and when it does it's a good decision. We've got to move on, turn the page, it's a tough loss and we've got to find a way to win tomorrow. I do believe it's cyclical. You get snakebit and you've got to ride it out and it tests your character. We're not going to waver. We're going to keep going."

Meanwhile, Kazmir followed up an 8 2/3-innings win over the Cardinals by struggling through 5 2/3 innings in this one, charged with five runs and two homers. He's allowed 12 homers in nine starts, although the most painful blow was probably a two-run, bases-loaded single by opposing starting pitcher Christian Friedrich.

Kazmir said he was "fighting myself the whole game," describing the seven walks as "almost embarrassing" and calling his 39-pitch second inning "almost a nightmare."

"It's unacceptable," he said. "I've got to clean it up."