Reporting from San Diego — And here to jumpstart the Dodgers offense … Scott Podsednik?
Their once high-scoring lineup mired in a two-week slump and Manny Ramirez's return date unknown, the Dodgers weren't about to sit around and wait for something to suddenly change.
So General Manager Ned Colletti did what he does at this time of the year and Wednesday sent two minor players to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for Podsednik, a fleet-footed .310 hitter.
As if on cue, Colletti's team promptly offered a nine-inning explanation as to why the deal might have been a necessity instead of a luxury, falling to the first-place San Diego Padres, 6-1, to drop six games back in the National League West.
"He's a player that makes things happen," Manager Joe Torre said. "He gives us a presence who can stimulate us out there."
Podsednik, who isn't expected to be at Petco Park in time to start the series finale Thursday, might not be Ramirez. But he is on a 15-game hitting streak and whatever momentum he has figures to be a welcome addition to a Dodgers offense that has none.
In their 13 games since the All-Star break, the Dodgers have scored only 28 runs. They have been held to two runs or less nine times in that span.
"It's been weird with this team," third baseman Casey Blake said. "The offense just comes and goes. It seems like we score runs in bunches or we don't score them at all. We'd like to be able to use the excuse that we've been facing good pitching, and that's true. But even with good pitching, you get runners on and have opportunities to score runs. We need more chances, more opportunities to do some damage."
The only inning the Dodgers had men in scoring position, they scored. Rafael Furcal's two-out walk advanced Blake DeWitt to second base and set up a single by Jamey Carroll that drove in the Dodgers' run.
The run provided starter Hiroki Kuroda with a 1-0 lead.
And considering the way the Dodgers had pitched lately, the lead wasn't an insignificant one.
But reality hit after Kuroda held the Padres scoreless through five innings to extend to 30 innings the scoreless streak by Dodgers pitchers.
Pinch-hitter Tony Gwynn Jr. led off the sixth inning with a single and stole second base. Chris Denorfia drew a one-out walk to set up a run-scoring single by Adrian Gonzalez that tied the score, 1-1.
The Padres took a 2-1 lead when Denorfia scored on a sacrifice fly by Nick Hundley.
Kuroda said Denorfia's walk particularly hurt him.
"I was in a defensive mind-set," Kuroda said. "I didn't want to let them score and I think that manifested itself in that walk."
The Padres increased their lead an inning later. A leadoff single by Scott Hairston prompted Torre to pull Kuroda and replace him with George Sherrill. The embattled left-hander did his job, retiring the two batters he faced.
But with two outs and Scott Hairston on second base, Torre called on Jeff Weaver, who served up a run-scoring double to Jerry Hairston. Denorfia followed with a single that extended the Padres' lead to 4-1.
The game was pretty much over at that point.
Padres setup man Luke Gregorson struck out two batters in a perfect eighth inning.
The Padres added two runs in the bottom half of the eighth inning, making it unnecessary for closer Heath Bell to be used in the ninth inning.
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