Padres' rally comes up short vs. Dodgers
Kennedy goes five innings; tying run stranded at third in ninth
SAN DIEGO -- When time allowed Tuesday, Chase Headley retreated to the video room in the corridor that connects the home clubhouse to the dugout at Petco Park to make sure he wasn't missing something in regard to his swing.
He wasn't, though that hardly eased Headley's anguish.
"It's frustrating ... you want to get off to a fast start and help your team," Headley said. "But in looking at my swings, they're just a tick off. For the most part, the swings I have taken have been fine."
So far, they just haven't ended well, as was the case as Headley grounded into two double plays over the final four innings as the Dodgers edged the Padres, 3-2, in front of a crowd of 35,033 who braved a brisk breeze and a cool afternoon.
No, the frigidness wasn't reserved for the Padres' offense, which after two games has produced 11 hits and five runs with 19 strikeouts and four double-play balls. The Padres had their chances, particularly late.
In the ninth, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen allowed a leadoff single to Yonder Alonso. One out later, Will Venable singled up the middle, with Alonso going to third base as the potential tying run.
But Chris Denorfia chased a high fastball for the second out, and after Yasmani Grandal walked, catcher Nick Hundley struck out to end the game.
"We had some opportunities late, which was great," said Padres manager Bud Black. "We got ourselves in position to strike but couldn't get that big hit."
In all fairness, the Dodgers (3-1) didn't have much luck in that department, either -- well, aside from the 410-foot lightning bolt off the bat of Yasiel Puig in the first inning, a two-run home run on a fastball up.
"I thought it was a good pitch," said Padres starter Ian Kennedy.
Kennedy (0-1) felt like he made several good pitches Tuesday, though many of them ended up as cheap souvenirs -- not the home run ball he allowed to Puig, but more so the bevy of foul balls that caused his pitch count to rise a whole lot quicker than he wanted or expected.
All told, Kennedy allowed three runs on the five hits in five innings with one walk and four strikeouts.
"I wasted a lot of pitches on foul balls," said Kennedy, who needed 103 pitches to get the 15 outs. "When that happens, you've got to find a different way to get them out."
Take the fourth inning, for example.
Kennedy needed seven pitches to dispense with the first two hitters of the inning -- Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier. But he then needed 23 more pitches to get the last out of the inning, and that didn't occur until Dee Gordon slapped a run-scoring single up the middle for a 3-0 lead.
That inning saw the Dodgers foul off 10 pitches, including five in a row by Gordon before he got his hit.
"I think it can be frustrating for the pitcher and the hitter," Kennedy lamented.
The Padres (1-1), for their offensive struggles in a small sample size of season, got a run back during the fourth inning as newcomer Seth Smith homered for the second time in as many days.
"It's fun to watch a guy start out like that," Headley said.
That home run snapped a stretch of 10 consecutive hitters retired by Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke (1-0) to begin the game.
"Nine up, nine down, then we put it to him a bit and got his pitch count up and had some baserunners," Black said of Greinke. "But he knows how to wiggle out of jams. But our guys did a pretty good job to stress him."
The Padres got another run in the fifth inning, as Greinke issued a leadoff walk to Jedd Gyorko and then a single to Venable. Two batters later, Greinke allowed a wild pitch that provided Gyorko enough time to score from third base.
Smith began the sixth with a single, but Headley grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. Two innings later, Everth Cabrera reached on a one-out single, and Smith walked. But Headley grounded a ball hard at Gordon at second base, who was shading Headley up the middle. Gordon stepped on the bag and then threw to first base to complete the double play.
Headley is now 0-for-8 in two games, with three strikeouts and the two double-play balls.
"He's seeing the ball, he's not expanding the zone and he's swinging at strikes," Black said.
And, really, the onus of the offense shouldn't fairly land on Headley's shoulders. He's hardly the only one who has gotten off to a slow start.
The Padres finished 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position, a poor statistic that Headley knows can -- and will -- shift over the course of a season.
"When you're in there, swinging at pitches you're supposed to, they usually go your way," he said.