Dodgers Bullpen Blows First Lead Of Season In Loss

Through the first three games of the season, the Dodger bullpen had not given up one earned run. When that streak ended Thursday afternoon, it ended in a big way.

A three-run eighth inning by the Padres against three different Dodger relievers was the difference as the Padres won the final game of the first series of the year 4-3. The two teams split the four games, but the Dodgers have to leave San Diego thinking they should be three and one.

Clayton Kershaw gave the Dodgers a solid five innings — throwing pitches that were alternately unhittable or well outside the strike zone.  For example, Kershaw had two first-inning strikeouts but threw 50 pitches to get through the first two innings. That was not helped by David Eckstein’s 13-pitch, nine foul-off at bat that ended in a double down the left field line in the third inning. But Kershaw got out of that jam as well and gave up just one run in five innings.

In third Kershaw helped his own cause with a single, followed a Blake DeWitt walk. Orlando Hudson moved the runners over on a groundout, then with first base open the Giants decided to pitch around Manny Ramirez and walked him to load the bases. The problem with pitching around someone can be getting your control back for the next batter. Padres starting pitcher Kevin Correia walked Andre Either on five pitches, Kershaw scored.

The Dodgers picked up two more in sixth inning when Matt Kemp his a hard shot off the glove of Edgar Gonzalez at third base and two more runs scored, giving the Dodgers a 3-1 lead. That usually would be good — the Padres were 5-83 last season when trailing after 7 innings.

But in the eighth, Adrian Gonzalez's hit an opposite field homer off Will Ohman, then Cory Wade came in for the Dodgers and gave up a triple and a single. Then Wade gave up a double to Luis Rodriguez that gave the Padres the 4-3 lead they never surrendered.

The Dodgers had a chance in the ninth, when Hudson led off with a triple. But this was not Manny’s big day, he grounded out. Then Either drew a walk, but Russell Martin grounded into a double play to end the game.

It’s one game, just the fourth of the season. But the Dodgers don’t want to see a lot more like this one this season.

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