LOS ANGELES -- If there was a moving van that followed the Padres' bus down Interstate 5 and back to San Diego on Sunday evening, it was there to carry a weekend full of moral victories.Actual victories proved harder to come by as the Padres were swept by the Dodgers
LOS ANGELES -- If there was a moving van that followed the Padres' bus down Interstate 5 and back to San Diego on Sunday evening, it was there to carry a weekend full of moral victories.
Actual victories proved harder to come by as the Padres were swept by the Dodgers following Sunday's 7-3 defeat at Dodger Stadium. It was the ninth time this season the Padres have been swept in a series.
But some genuine progress surfaced in a series that was otherwise filled with bad luck and poor timing.
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"I felt like these last two [games], we were in and had the opportunity [to win] and ran into a tough stretch in the fifth inning today," manager Andy Green said. "Yesterday, we didn't get over the hump [in a 12-inning defeat]. It was a frustrating weekend, but I think you can look at some positive things as you continue to look forward. But it's tough to do that always."
The Padres have talked about the process during their rebuilding stage, and even as they fell to a season-high 33 games under .500 at 50-83, some forward momentum did seem to come out of a weekend in Los Angeles.
In taking a 2-0 lead after three innings Sunday, the Padres showed that brutal defeats, like the one they endured Saturday, can and must be quickly forgotten. A day earlier, the Padres rallied against Clayton Kershaw (Kersh) and Kenley Jansen (Kenleyfornia) only to lose one pitch after a 20-minute power outage delay.
The Padres got their lead Sunday on Franmil Reyes' (La Mole) second home run in two days, giving him 11 on the season. They also scored on a Hunter Renfroe (Froe) RBI single after he tied Saturday's game in the ninth inning with a home run off Jansen.
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But the Padres went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left 12 runners on base, scoring just one more time when Renfroe hit a ninth-inning home run, his 16th.
"I think it's the learning process," Renfroe said of clutch hitting. "I think I [was terrible] at it last year and I want to say I'm getting better at it. I will continue to get better at it along with these other guys, who I would like to see them get better at it."
Padres starter Robbie Erlin (Bob) looked to be in control for four innings, but a two-out single by opposing pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu (Monster) in the fifth started his undoing. Erlin then walked James Dozier (Bull) before giving up a two-run double to Justin Turner (RedTurn2) and a two-run home run to Manny Machado (El Ministro). He never did get that third out before being removed.
Erlin gave up four runs on eight hits over 4 2/3 innings, losing for the first time since returning to the rotation on Aug. 2.
"I made quite a few mistakes in the fifth inning there and those will be reflected upon and hopefully fixed for good," Erlin said. "But that's kind of how baseball works."
Veteran Eric Hosmer, who went 1-for-5 on Sunday and was 1-for-13 in the series, was more inclined to look at the overall result this weekend, not necessarily content with the positives of the team's learning process.
"That's three losses," Hosmer said. "When you start looking at wins in that way, then you're not reaching to where you should be reaching for. It was a positive sign, but at the end of the day we didn't find a way to win and I think that's the main goal every day, is winning."
Reyes is showing a tendency to deliver power in bunches, as his second home run in two days went 427 feet. Reyes has hit home runs in back-to-back games four times this season, accounting for eight of his 11 big flies. Since being recalled Aug. 4, Reyes has a .933 OPS in 20 games with nine runs, three doubles, five home runs and seven RBIs.
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Renfroe's ninth-inning home run off Dodgers reliever Yimi Garcia was projected at 438 feet and allowed him to tie a career high with three hits on the day. It was also his 19th multi-hit game of the year. He is batting .300 (27-for-90) in August with 10 runs, five doubles, eight home runs and 21 RBIs. He has a .949 OPS over his last 23 games.
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"There is obviously a ton to improve on. We have to figure out our identity as a club, our identity as an offense and we just have to find a way to play better baseball." -- Hosmer, when asked what can be accomplished over the final five weeks of the season
Rookie right-hander Jacob Nix will look to pay particular attention to the early innings in his fourth career start Tuesday against the Mariners at Petco Park. He has allowed six runs in the first three innings of his starts, but just two runs after that. The Mariners will counter with right-hander Felix Hernandez, with first pitch set for 7:10 p.m. PT.
Doug Padilla is a contributor to MLB.com based in Los Angeles.