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Cashner's dominant stretch continues in losing cause

SAN DIEGO -- With each passing start he makes, Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner continues to put some distance between himself and his miserable outing against these same Dodgers on April 8.

The chasm is getting wider and wider and can be measured, it seems, in five-day increments.

It grew again Friday night, even though Cashner took the loss as the Dodgers pinned a 3-0 loss on the Padres before a sold-out crowd of 43,055 at Petco Park.

Cashner (1-3) allowed two runs in seven innings, but has allowed just the two runs in his last 19 innings -- all coming since that start in Dodger Stadium three days into the season, when he allowed three home runs to Adrian Gonzalez.

Video: [email protected]: Crawford crushes solo homer, extends lead"I felt good. I felt like I finally located my fastball better tonight," Cashner said. "The biggest mistake was the changeup in the seventh."

That was the pitch he made to Carl Crawford, who jumped on the 83-mph offering and sent it over the fence in right field for a 2-0 lead that looked even bigger with Zack Greinke tying the Padres' offense in knots.

Cashner, reliant on the fastball in that first start, has deftly mixed his pitches since. He's not leaning heavily on his fastball, but mixing in a good slider, changeup and, on Friday, a curveball.

"I finally got my slider back to where it was when I came here," he said. "I used my curveball tonight. I think I threw 12 to 15 of them. It's keeping them off balance, mixing speeds, pitching them away and using my fastball up in the zone."

Cashner, who lowered his ERA to 2.63, allowed six hits in seven innings with one walk and six strikeouts.

"I liked his mix of pitches," said Padres manager Bud Black. "Good changeup, good fastball velocity when he needed it, good slider to both the lefties and the righties.

"Cash has three quality pitches, and I think he showed that tonight. You can't depend on one pitch, even if the fastball with Cash is a good one."

Corey Brock is a reporter for Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter.
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