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Dodgers 4, Padres 3: Taxed bullpen falters in series opener

Norris gave the Padres a late lead with a thrilling homer, but the bullpen couldn't hold on.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

This game started as a pitchers' duel, with Odrisamer Despaigne holding his own against Dodgers ace and 2011 SBNation NL Cy Young Award co-winner Clayton Kershaw for 6.1 innings. In that time, Despaigne allowed just a pair of runs on six hits and a walk. With Kershaw allowing one run on four this and three walks in 6.2 innings, this game came down to the bullpens, and the Padres pen showed how overworked it was after two extra inning games in the last four days.

LA got on the board first thanks to a series of misplays. With two out and nobody on in the third, Despaigne beaned Joc Pederson. An error from Will Middlebrooks put Yasiel Puig on first and Pederson in scoring position. Former Friar Adrian Gonzalez knocked a single up the center to put the Dodgers up 1-0. They added one more in the fourth on a pair of singles from Justin Turner and A.J. Ellis.

After the fourth, both teams fell silent for a few innings. LA would threaten to score again in the top of the seventh. Ellis hit a leadoff single and then moved to second on Kershaw's sacrifice bunt. That ended Despaigne's night, as Frank Garces entered to clean things up. But he walked Pederson and Puig to load the bases for Gonzalez with one out. Thankfully, Adrian grounded into a double play, and then got himself ejected for arguing with home plate umpire Doug Eddings.

In the bottom half of the seventh, Clint Barmes hit his second home run of the season, a solo shot off Kershaw into left field. With two out and Wil Myers coming to the plate, Don Mattingly went to his bullpen for Yimi Garcia. Garcia got Wil to pop one up, but Turner, who had moved to first after Gonzalez got tossed, crashed into Garcia and dropped the ball, sending Myers to second. That brought Derek Norris to the plate, and he took the first pitch he saw all the way out to the Western Metal Building to give the Padres a 3-2 lead.

It didn't last, though. In the very next inning, Howie Kendrick hit a leadoff double off Dale Thayer. Through sheer bad luck, Matt Kemp's throw to second ricocheted off the sliding Kendrick, who quickly got up and took third. A single from Turner tied the game back up, and another single from Andre Ethier sent Thayer to the showers. Shawn Kelley almost kept the game knotted, with some help from Norris, who picked off an absent-minded Turner at second. Jimmy Rollins flied to right for the second out, but the third out was harder to come by. Ellis drew a walk, and pinch hitter Alex Guerrero drove a single to center. Melvin Upton, Jr. gunned down Ellis at third, but not before Ethier scored the go-ahead run. The Dodgers bullpen threw two shutout endings to wrap up the game.

Ian Kennedy gets the start tomorrow at 7:10 PM.

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