Erlin's quality start not enough in pitchers' duel
On most nights, a seven-inning, two-run quality start is enough to merit a victory -- or a no-decision -- for the hard-working pitcher, at the very least. Such was not the case on Saturday for San Diego. Starter Robbie Erlin delivered an excellent quality start against the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine, but was the victim of a Padres offense that was kept in check by Zack Greinke and the Dodgers. Despite an earnest effort, the Friars fell, 2-1, to the Dodgers in a speedy 2-hour, 10-minute pitcher's duel.
Erlin, who was making his third start of the season and his third career appearance against Los Angeles, did an excellent job for San Diego as he surrendered only two earned runs on five hits through seven innings of work. Erlin also struck out four and finished out his 2015 campaign with a 1-2 record and a 4.76 ERA.
Despite Erlin's superb start, it wasn't enough to give the Padres the victory on Saturday. But thanks Erlin's extended start, the Padres' bullpen was given some well-deserved rest as only one reliever was called upon to close out Saturday night's contest. Reliever Shawn Kelley delivered a shutout inning in the eighth while collecting a strikeout and yielding zero hits or walks, extending the bullpen's consecutive scoreless streak to nine straight games.
San Diego's bats were able to match Los Angeles in hits as both sides pounded out five knocks apiece, but the Padres were unable to capitalize on a number of opportunities presented to them as they faced the National League's ERA leader in Greinke. Rookie catcher Austin Hedges scored the lone Padres run on a solo home run in the fifth -- his third homer of the year -- and finished the night going 2-for-4 at the plate with his 11th RBI of the year.
Jedd Gyorko, Cory Spangenberg and Yangervis Solarte each recorded base hits as well, but the Padres were a combined 0-for-5 at the plate with runners in scoring position and stranded six baserunners before the night was over. With Saturday's loss, the Padres' season record fell to 74-87 on the year with only one game left in the regular season. On the plus side, Saturday's loss secured the Padres a protected, Top 10 Draft pick in next year's Draft, giving hope for San Diego's efforts in building for the future.
In case you missed it, here are some highlights and stories that you might not have seen from Saturday:
Padres post-game recap: Erlin strong, but Padres fall to Greinke, LA
Erlin strikes out four over seven strong innings in his quality start:
Alexi Amarista makes a fantastic flying grab in left field to rob Adrian Gonzalez of a hit:
Hedges' solo shot in the 5th puts the Padres on the board, his third homer of the year:
The day's top stories:
Lefty finishes 2015 on a positive note: Erlin leaves strong impression in final start
James Shields won't return for final game of 2015: Padres ace will sit out regular-season finale
Decker has big night in Major League homecoming: Decker's first start in L.A. holds special meaning
Veteran righty Ian Kennedy's future with San Diego uncertain: Will Kennedy, Padres be together in 2016?
Kennedy's K's provide punch in his last start of season: Kennedy stellar in potential final act for Padres
Looking forward to the next game:
Friar Forecast at Dodger Stadium: Garces to lead Padres' bullpen day in season finale
Sunday's pitching preview: Frank Garces (0-0, 5.00 ERA) vs. Clayton Kershaw (16-7, 2.16 ERA)