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Andre Ethier is only real highlight for Dodgers in loss to Padres

Outfielder extends hitting streak to 26 games, but little else turns out well for L.A.

April 30, 2011|By Jim Peltz
  • Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier follows through on a hit in the fourth inning during the Dodgers' 5-2 loss to the visiting San Diego Padres on Saturday.
Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier follows through on a hit in the fourth…

Andre Ethier extended his hitting streak to 26 games Saturday night but, unfortunately for the Dodgers, that was one of their few batting highlights of the game.

As a result, the San Diego Padres — scoring three times in the eighth inning against normally untouchable reliever Matt Guerrier — defeated the Dodgers, 5-2, at Dodger Stadium, with the Dodgers wasting a strong effort by starter Hiroki Kuroda.

"We just didn't seem to be able to get the hits we needed," Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said. As for Guerrier's outing, Mattingly said "he didn't seem to be a sharp tonight, but he's been our guy all year and has done the job for us."

Ethier provided solace for the announced crowd of 34,453 with a single to left field in the fourth inning against starter Tim Stauffer. In the eighth inning, Ethier had an infield single against Mike Adams.

That gave Ethier the second-longest streak since the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1958; the record of 31 was set by Willie Davis in 1969.

The second-longest streak in franchise history is 29 games by Zack Wheat of the Brooklyn Robins in 1916.

In addition, Ethier had 40 hits in April, tying the club record for that month shared by Rafael Furcal (2008) and Mike Piazza (1996).

Ethier had set the major league record for the longest hitting streak in the month of April, passing Joe Torre's 22-game streak in April 1971.

When he got his first hit of the night, Ethier said, "I was going up there just [trying] to get things rolling."

"I take pride" in moving closer to Davis' mark, Ethier said. "It's something special. I'm just enjoying it and having fun."

The other batting highlight came from Tony Gwynn Jr., who 24 hours earlier had saved the Dodgers' win over the Padres with a great catch. This time, he stroked a pinch-hit single in the seventh inning to drive in Russ Mitchell and tie the score, 2-2.

But Guerrier, who had not given up a run in 11 of his prior 12 appearances, then was tagged by San Diego and by his own mistake.

Will Venable and Jason Bartlett singled, and after they moved up on Ryan Ludwick's sacrifice bunt, Chase Headley was given an intentional walk to load the bases.

Guerrier got Nick Hundley to pop out. But as former Dodger Orlando Hudson batted, Guerrier threw a wild pitch that enabled Venable to score and give San Diego the lead.

Hudson then drew an intentional walk as well and Cameron Maybin delivered the lethal blow with a single that drove in two runs.

Guerrier said the wild pitch "just got away."

Ethier's first hit also led to the Dodgers' first run. Matt Kemp singled, Juan Uribe walked to load the bases and Ethier tagged up and scored when James Loney flied out to left field.

Kuroda pitched well. The Japanese right-hander gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings and struck out seven against the weak-hitting Padres, who began the game batting .210, last in the National League.

The Dodgers' frustration was evident in the sixth inning when Kemp hit a sharp, two-out grounder that caromed off Stauffer's leg and was fielded by Headley, the third baseman. The umpire ruled that Headley's throw beat Kemp by a whisker and Kemp, thinking he was safe, slammed his helmet to the ground after crossing the bag.

Brad Hawpe got San Diego's first hit in the third inning, no surprise given that Hawpe began the game with a .361 career batting average at Dodger Stadium, second only to Roberto Clemente's .377, based on a minimum of 120 plate appearances.

james.peltz@latimes.com

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