Dodgers can’t close out Padres

first_img“It’s a tough loss,” Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said. “Give B.J. (Upton) a lot of credit for a big swing for his team. But there’s no secret how we feel around here about Kenley.”Nonetheless, the Dodgers might be questioning a lot of things these days. Friday’s loss was their fifth in the past six games and dropped them under .500 (21-22).“It’s just one of those things where baseball, I do believe, is cyclical,” Roberts said. “Sometimes you get snake bit and you have to ride it out and it tests your character and how our team can stay together.“Our guys are going to fight back. No one’s going to feel sorry for us. It’s not an easy game. You have to be a man about it and turn the page.”No one was accusing the Dodgers or Padres of making it look easy Friday. SAN DIEGO >> These days, the Dodgers might have 99 problems. But they didn’t think Kenley Jansen was one.The ultra-reliable closer gave up a two-run walkoff home run to Melvin Upton Jr. in the ninth inning Friday night as a seesaw game ended with a thud for the Dodgers. Jansen’s first blown save since last August left the Dodgers on the wrong end of a 7-6 loss to the San Diego Padres.“Tonight was one of those, for sure, head scratchers,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I’ll take that matchup any day. Kenley’s been lights out for us. We can’t expect him to be perfect.”Jansen did not stick around to discuss the end of his streak of 25 consecutive save conversions. He bolted from the clubhouse as reporters waited outside. It was the first time in his seven-year big-league career that he gave up a walkoff home run. Scott Kazmir was unhittable at times. But not in a good way.The Dodgers starter walked seven batters and hit another in less than six innings. Three of those walks were issued to the Padres’ No. 8 hitter, Adam Rosales, a .223 career hitter in the major leagues. The first one was an intentional walk that loaded the bases with two outs in the second inning.The Padres’ starting pitcher, Christian Friedrich, followed with a seven-pitch at-bat, working his way back from 0-and-2 to even the count at 2-and-2 before dumping a two-run single into center field.That was the only ball put in play by the Padres in a 39-pitch inning that featured three walks, three strikeouts, a hit batter and a passed ball.Kazmir wobbled through the next three innings, walking a batter each inning and giving up a solo home run to Derek Norris.He did make it through five innings – something only Clayton Kershaw had done for the Dodgers in the previous four games – even though it took 90 pitches.Leading 4-3 when he took the mound for the sixth, Kazmir retired the first batter before walking Rosales for the third time. Pinch-hitter Christian Bethancourt jumped on Kazmir’s next pitch, a lifeless cutter, and crushed it, sending it 406 feet into the left-field stands to give the Padres the lead.“I just felt like I was fighting myself the whole game,” Kazmir said. “Getting behind in counts and having to throw a pitch not necessarily in a good location down in the count. Give up a couple home runs, a hit to the pitcher – that’s almost embarrassing. Seven walks in that many innings, that’s unacceptable.”While Kazmir took his walk on the wild side, there were positive signs that Yasiel Puig might be emerging from his five-week funk.He lined a single into left field, leading off the fourth inning, and then raced around from first base to score on Yasmani Grandal’s double even though it was cut off in the left-center gap by Upton. An inning later, Puig came up with one on and one out and drove a 2-and-0 fastball from Padres reliever Carlos Villanueva over the wall in right-center field.But the Dodgers were trailing 5-4 in the eighth inning when Carl Crawford got a two-out pinch-hit single. Justin Turner followed with a two-run home run to give the Dodgers the lead.“That homer right there was one of the highest points we’ve seen in awhile,” Roberts said. “Under the circumstances, where we’re at offensively and as a club, to get that big hit, that big lift — I think we were all pretty excited about it.”They still had to get six outs while protecting a one-run lead, not easy given the wobbly-wheels in the Dodgers’ bullpen. Roberts got two from Pedro Baez and asked four from Jansen. It was the third time already this season Roberts has asked his closer to go more than an inning for a save. Just one of his 36 saves last season required Jansen to get more than three outs.Jansen struck out Derek Norris to end the eighth but Wil Myers blooped a single into center field to start the ninth. Upton came up having struck out in each of his three career at-bats against Jansen.Jansen threw him three cutters. Upton foul tipped the first, swung and missed at the second. The third lingered over the outer half of the plate and he drove it over the wall in right center.“It’s been a tough stretch for us,” Kazmir said. “We have to stay confident. We know what we need to do. Just get it done.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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