A Padres comeback was wasted in the ninth as the Joe Thatcher walked in the winning run for Los Angeles. The Padres really had no business being in the game in the first place, but to their credit, they kept battling. Aaron Harang broke a Dodgers record by striking out nine consecutive batters after giving up a single to Cameron Maybin, and he struck out 13 in total. Clayton Richard looked sharp early, but after an error followed by two poor throws allowed two runs to score on an infield single, Richard was visibly upset. The Padres were down 4-0, and 8-3 in the game. But they continued to find ways to rally, and San Diego finally tied it in the top of the ninth only to lose 9-8 in the bottom half of the inning.
In the third inning, Jason Bartlett booted what should have been a routine ground ball double play to allow runners on first and second with no one out. Then, with the bases loaded and two out, Mark Ellis hit a ground ball in the hole to second led to a weak throw by Orlando Hudson. As Yonder Alonso stretched out and waited for the umpire’s call, both the runner on third and A.J. Ellis, who was on second and never stopped running, scored. Two runs on an infield single. The Dodgers would score two more in the inning as Clayton Richard was clearly shaken by the poor defense. The Padres are dead last in fielding with 11 error already this season.
Somehow, the Padres managed to comeback. In the fourth inning, Will Venable finally broke up Harang’s strikeout streak with a solo shot to the opposite field. Then, the Padres worked the counts, got some hits, and finished the inning down just 4-3. The Padres killer, Matt Kemp would not allow them to come all the way back though. At least not yet. In the bottom of the fourth inning he hit a two run home run, and the Dodgers went on to put up another four spot.
Down 8-3, the Padres looked dead in the water, but they fought back for three runs in the seventh. Then in the ninth inning, with two outs and a runner on, Chase Headley stepped to the plate. Aside from Headley’s grand slam in the victory Sunday over Aaron Harang and the Dodgers, he has struggled. But in a clutch moment last night, he delivered once again, driving a two-run homer over the right field wall. Somehow, after everything that had happened in the night, the Padres had tied the game and had life.
That life quickly faded. In the bottom of the ninth, Andrew Cashner got the first two outs of the inning then promptly walked the bases loaded. Joe Thatcher was called in to face Andre Ethier. Thatcher never even threw a strike. He walked Ethier on four pitches and the Dodgers walked home winners.
The Padres had the timely hitting, but they struggled early. They’ve played from behind in all but two games this season. Their defense has completely failed them. If they are going to turn things around, San Diego must play better early, score runs to take a lead quick, and play spotless ball throughout the game. So far, it doesn’t look like that’s a trend that will start anytime soon.
Tonight, Joe Wieland will make his major league debut for San Diego. He was called up to help with the injuries the Padres have suffered to their starting rotation. Wieland will face Ted Lilly tonight at 6:10 PT.