Los Angeles turned and burned in a back and forth battle with San Diego as the Dodgers edged out the Padres 4-3, on Saturday evening at Dodger Stadium.
It was "Pups at the Park" day at Dodger Stadium as well as the 30th anniversary of the movie Top Gun, which was screened on the videoboards after the game.
"I've seen the movie once, but I misquoted it on the videoboard," joked Dodgers' rookie Corey Seager of the film. "I probably should see it a few more times."
Things quickly kicked off to mach speed to start the game. After a leadoff walk to Travis Jankowski, Yangervis Solarte feasted on a Brandon McCarthy fastball to deep right-center field as San Diego staked an early 2-0 lead.
The Dodgers would answer in the bottom half of the first as Adrian Gonzalez wrote a check his body couldn't cash when he hit an RBI double to left field in the bottom of the first inning that scored Chase Utley.
"Adrian has always driven in runs, but when there's a running scoring situation I always have confidence he'll bring it in," Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "It's nice to have him in there."
McCarthy (2-0) settled down in just his second start since coming off the disabled list, allowing three runs on just three hits with six strikeouts in five innings pitched.
"He really didn't have command of much today," Roberts said. "He didn't have any consistency or rhythm. He found a way to get through it today."
McCarthy made just 77 pitches, but the team is openly trying to ease him back into the big leagues as he continues to progress from Tommy John surgery.
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"Yesterday the day felt perfect in my hand, today it felt foreign. It was like throwing a football," McCarthy said of his lack of control. "There were a couple innings in the game where I had some semblance of control, but it would go away just as fast."
Luis Perdomo loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the fourth and Howie Kendrick made him pay as he doubled down the left field line to give LA a 3-2 lead.
"We did a nice job off Perdomo today. He had an incosistent fastball," Roberts added. "We were ready to hit off the fastball and I thought we did a good job taking walks as well."
Perdomo (3-4) was the hard-luck loser as he allowed four runs (two earned) on nine hits with three strikeouts in six innings pitched.
San Diego tied the game in the top of the fifth after a leadoff double by Alexei Ramirez put the Padres in scoring position. Two batters later, Jankowski singled up the middle to score the shortstop and tie the game as the Dodgers briefly lost that loving feeling.
The Dodgers recaptured the lead in the bottom half of the fifth as the cat-and-mouse game continued.
Back-to-back singles by Corey Seager and Justin Turner put runners on first and second for Gonzalez who nearly grounded into a double play.
However, the throw from Ramirez on the return skipped past first baseman Wil Myers and Seager felt the need for speed as he smartly scored on the error to give LA back the lead.
"You run hard around the bases in the hopes that that happens," Seager said of the game-winning run. "It was a huge play for us. It put us ahead and we hung on. It was the difference in the game."
The one-run lead was all the National League-leading Dodger bullpen needed as five different relievers kept the Padres hitless over the final five frames.
"Our whole bullpen wants the ball in those situations," Dodgers' reliever Adam Liberatore who pitched 0.2 scoreless innings of relief on Saturday to break the all-time franchise record of 23 consecutive scoreless apperances by John Candaleria. "We're all having success and feeding off each other and we're already to go no matter what the situation."
Kenley Jansen was given an opportunity to avenge two of his three earlier blown saves this season when he went face-to-face with Melvin Upton Jr. in the top of the ninth.
"I want to compete against guys who hurt me," Jansen said. "That's who I am. When I face them again I want to get them out."
Upton homered and hit an RBI double off Jansen in San Diego in his last two at-bats against the All-Star closer, but Jansen got revenge, strikeout out Upton for the second out and his 26th save of the season.
Despite his early struggles, McCarthy recorded his second win of the season and fourth consecutive overall. The right-hander is undefeated and becomes the first Dodger since Ted Lilly to win their first five decisions in a Dodgers uniform.
"Us getting the win is the biggest part for me," McCarthy said. "Whether I get through 4 or 6 or 5 as long as I limit some run prevention. I didn't feel great but I was able to battle."
The Dodgers continue to trail the first place San Francisco Giants by six games with one game remaining for the All-Star break. The boys in blue need to remember that there's no points for second place as they continue to chase the three-time World Series champions.
Players of the Game:
Yangervis Solarte: Two-run home run.
Howie Kendrick: Double, two RBI.
Adam Liberatore: 24th consecutive scoreless appearance.
1. Goose and Maverick: Yasmani Grandal and Corey Seager became the first Dodger teammates to hit three home runs in a game during the same season since Jimmy Wynn and Davey Lopes did it in 1974.
Friday's 3-homer game by Grandal partners him w/ Seager as 1st Dodger teammates with 3-homer games in same season since Wynn & Lopes in 74' — Michael J. Duarte (@michaeljduarte) July 10, 2016
2. It's Classified: Adam Liberatore did his best Maverick impression on the mound as the left-handed relief pitcher threw 0.2 innings of shutout relief on Saturday for his 24th consecutive scoreless appearance, passing John Candaleria for the most all-time in Dodgers franchise history.
Now it's official -- a Dodger-record 24th consecutive scoreless appearance by Adam Liberatore. — Dodger Insider (@DodgerInsider) July 10, 2016
3. Mach 2 with your Hair on Fire: The Los Angeles Dodgers celebrated their second annual "Pups in the Park" night at Dodger Stadium. It was also movie night as fans in attendance were treated to a 30th anniversary screening of Top Gun after the game.
Padres (38-50): Christian Friedrich will finish the first half for San Diego as he gets the start on Sunday afternoon.
Dodgers (50-40): Kenta Maeda makes his final start before the All-Star break as first pitch is scheduled for 1:10 PM PST.