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Rocky start costs Ross, Padres

Righty allows three Dodgers runs in first inning

SAN DIEGO -- It's no secret that runs can be scare at spacious Petco Park, although a lack of run support seems to travel with Tyson Ross just about everywhere he goes.

A disturbing trend from last season rolled into Ross' 2014 debut Wednesday as the Padres did not back the right-hander with much offense during a 5-1 loss to the Dodgers before a crowd of 27,498 at Petco Park.

"I was going a little too fast," Ross said. "Once I slowed down and found a rhythm, I was fine. But when you're struggling with your fastball command, it's always tough."

Ross allowed three runs in the first inning, as the first four batters of the inning reached base. The big blow of the inning was a two-run double by Hanley Ramirez.

"I thought Tyson's stuff was good, but he just couldn't command the fastball early," said Padres manager Bud Black. "… Then the slider wasn't quite there early. The first two innings, 50-plus pitches … he had to work hard to get those first six outs."

Dating back to last season, the Padres have scored one run while Ross is in the game in each of his last nine starts. 

Ross was diplomatic about the lack of run support.

"You have to go out there and put up zeros," Ross said. "It's tough to come up to bat and you're down 3-0."

After coming back late to win the first game of the series on Sunday, the Padres dropped a 3-2 decision on Tuesday and then couldn't muster much offense against Dodgers pitcher Dan Haren in the finale.

Haren, who signed a one-year, $10 million deal in the offseason, allowed four hits with no walks and six strikeouts in his debut with the Dodgers, who are now 4-1.

The Dodgers got behind Haren early, as Carl Crawford doubled to start the game and then moved to third base when Ross was changed with an error on a sacrifice bunt by Yasiel Puig. Ramirez followed with a two-run double and Adrian Gonzalez added an RBI single to make it 3-0.

The Dodgers added runs in the fifth and eighth innings. Ross was gone after five, having thrown 100 pitches. He allowed three earned runs on five hits with four walks and seven strikeouts.

The Padres (1-2) got a run in the fourth inning as Yonder Alonso knocked in his first run of the season on a single to center field. But with two baserunners on, Haren struck out Jedd Gyorko and Will Venable to end the inning.

Catcher Nick Hundley, getting his first start of the season, had two of the team's six hits. Leadoff hitter Everth Cabrera added two hits, including a leadoff double to begin the bottom of the eighth inning. But Cabrera was stranded.

The Padres finished 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position on Wednesay and 2-for-23 in the series.

Some of that, obviously, had to do with the Padres' offensive shortcomings. Some of that had to do with the Dodgers' pitching, first Hyun-Jin Ryu on Sunday, Zack Greinke on Tuesday and then Haren.

"[Haren] threw the ball well, but I think we had some bad at-bats, some on my part. I could have at least had better at-bats in big situations," Gyorko said.

Black said he tried to challenge a call in the first inning on Puig's bunt, that Ross' throw beat Puig and Alonso's foot had not come off the bag. He came out after several seconds and informed first-base umpire Sean Barber he was going to challenge the call. But the next batter, Ramirez, was in the batter's box and Ross had the ball on the mound, and Black said the umpires, after conferring, told him that the challenge wouldn't be allowed due to "time constraints" and that "he took too long" to issue the challenge.

Black said he asked what the time constraints were, but he wasn't given an answer.

"I thought the message was to get the play right," Black said of replay. "I don't have a timer."

The Padres have an off-day on Thursday. They will open a three-game series in Miami at 4:10 p.m. PT on Friday at Marlins Park.

Corey Brock is a reporter for Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter.
Read More: San Diego Padres, Everth Cabrera, Tyson Ross, Yonder Alonso