Tonight's game started out as the story of a rookie taking on a former Friar, but halfway through it turned into an all-out slugfest as the Padres and Dodgers combined to score 17 runs. The good guys came out on top with the help of a couple timely bombs from Yangervis Solarte and Jedd Gyorko, combined with three shutdown innings from Kevin Quackenbush and Joaquin Benoit.
Colin Rea came out of the gate strong, allowing only one hit and two walks in his first four innings of work. Onetime Padre Mat Latos had less success. Solarte opened the game with a double to left center field. Latos retired the next two batters, But that brought Justin Upton to the plate, and prior to tonight's game he had a whopping .500 average and 1.000 slugging percentage against the Dodgers starter. He improved those numbers tonight by hitting two doubles off Latos, the first one driving Solarte in to put the first run of the game on board. A followup single from Jedd Gyorko gave San Diego a two run lead.
The Friars doubled that lead in the second. Derek Norris, who returned to play just two days after a play at the plate that looked terrifyingly bad, started is 3-for-4 night with a single to lead off the inning. Once again Latos retired the next two, but Solarte picked up his second hit of the night (a single) to keep the inning going. Another single from Cory Spangenberg loaded the bases for ex-Dodger Matt Kemp. In his only hit of the night, he dropped a hit into right field good for another two runs.
The Dodgers cut their deficit in half when Rea had some trouble in the fifth. In his major league debut, shortstop Corey Seager hit a one-out double to right field for his very first hit. Joc Pederson drove him in with a two-out single, and Chase Utley wrapped up the rally with an RBI double to make it 4-2 good guys.
And then the ugly, ugly sixth inning happened. Odrisamer Despaigne took over and promptly loaded the bases, giving up two singles and a walk. Pat Murphy didn't let him screw up any more and yanked him before he recorded a single out. Unfortunately, Marc Rzepczynski didn't fare much better. Scott Van Slyke laid down a bunt to squeeze in the first run of the inning, and Seager followed that with a two-run single to put the Dodgers on top for the first time tonight. Justin Ruggiano kept the rally moving along with a pinch hit single to score another run. A pop fly from Pederson finally led to the second out, but the Dodgers got one more run when Rzepczynski airmailed a throw to first trying to beat out Utley, allowing Ruggiano to score while Utley went all the way to third. Adrian Gonzalez got out for the fourth time of the night to finally end the inning.
The Padres got one run back in the bottom half of the sixth thanks to a little skill and a little luck. Upton led off with a single, but should have been out at second when Gyorko grounded into a simple double play. But for the first time in recorded history, second base umpire Chris Conroy didn't call the neighborhood play and ruled that Utley was off the bag when he caught the ball. Don Mattingly asked for a review and the call stood. Upton advanced again on Brett Walalce's ground out and scored when Norris hit a two-out double. Yangervis Solarte narrowed the gap again in the seventh, hitting a soaring solo shot to the top deck of the Western Metal Building.
That brought things to the pivotal eighth inning. Upton led off with a walk, reaching base safely for the fourth time. Then Gyorko got down to business, drilling a two-run go-ahead homer to left field. Norris kept the rally going with a one-out infield single. Melvin Upton, Jr. turned that into an insurance run with a pinch-hit three-bagger. That brought Solarte back up just a triple shy of the cycle. He lined a ball into left field, but between his less than impressive speed and the location he hit the ball, he had to settle for his fourth hit being a double. It was still good to put the Padres up by three. A perfect ninth inning from Benoit sealed the deal.
James Shields will try to keep the wins coming when he starts tomorrow's game at 7:10 PM.
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