Upton's homer in 8th lifts Padres over Dodgers
SAN DIEGO -- Justin Upton hit a go-ahead home run off Zack Greinke in the eighth inning, powering the Padres to a 2-1 victory over the Dodgers at Petco Park on Saturday night.
Greinke, who pitched a complete game, but picked up the loss, had been cruising when Upton stepped to the plate with the bases empty and two outs. But Upton smacked a 3-2 slider from Greinke over the left-center-field wall and into the Padres' bullpen. For Upton, it was his ninth game-winning RBI of the season, the third most in the Major Leagues.
"That's what makes this game fun -- when you're in those types of situations," Upton said. "I think if you'd ask most guys, they enjoy those situations, they want to win ballgames."
Greinke pitched eight innings, with seven strikeouts and two earned runs on eight hits.
"I tried to make a quality pitch," said Greinke. "It was the first bad slider I threw all day."
Padres starter Ian Kennedy entered the game having allowed 10 earned runs in 10 1/3 frames against Los Angeles this season. But he seemed to have the Dodgers figured out this time, allowing just one run -- a solo homer by his former catcher Yasmani Grandal -- and four hits over seven innings.
"As tough as last night's game was, this was the opposite of that," said manager Bud Black, whose Padres coughed up an eighth-inning lead on Friday. "... Tonight, Greinke was so tough. For Ian to hang in there and then the one big swing at the end that turned the tables -- it's a huge lift for us after what happened last night."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Twin-killing Kimbrel: Yasiel Puig worked an outstanding at-bat against Padres closer Craig Kimbrel to start the ninth inning, singling up the middle on the eighth pitch. But Kimbrel responded by getting Adrian Gonzalez to hit into a 1-6-3 double play.
"He made another good pitch, down, that Adrian just tapped back to the mound," Black said. "That was a good play. As a pitcher, you don't get a lot of reps on that. We work on that in Spring Training."
Kimbrel followed by striking out Howie Kendrick to end the game, earning his 16th save.
Power play: New Dodgers management took grief for the offseason trade built around Matt Kemp for Grandal. But Kemp has only two homers, while Grandal slugged his seventh in the third inning to tie the game.
Line drive in the box score: The Padres took the lead in the first inning on Kemp's RBI chopper that traveled about 30 feet. Greinke fielded the ball quickly, but threw it into right field, allowing Kemp to reach second. Will Venable scored, and Kemp was awarded a single, with Greinke given an error on the throw -- just the second error in five years for the reigning Gold Glove Award winner.
Can still pick it: Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins, whose defense was noted by club president Andrew Friedman before the game, preserved the tie in the sixth inning with a pair of slick plays on balls headed to center field.
"That's what makes this game great -- when two great players are matched against each other, and there's going to be an outcome. Tonight it went our way." -- Black on Upton's at-bat against Greinke More >
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly tried a Hail Mary, asking for a review of Upton's tiebreaking home run in the eighth for fan interference, but the home run was confirmed.
Dodgers: Mike Bolsinger is 4-1 with a 2.08 ERA in seven starts, limiting opposing hitters to a .199 batting average even though his fastball almost never touches 90 mph. In his only start against San Diego, he beat Ian Kennedy with an eight-inning one-hitter. He'll start the finale on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. PT at Petco Park.
Padres: James Shields still hasn't lost as a member of the Padres. He gets the ball Sunday against the Dodgers, putting his perfect 7-0 mark on the line. Shields has faced L.A. twice this season, allowing a total of five runs in 13 innings in a win and a no-decision at Dodger Stadium.
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