Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis, left, watches as San Diego catcher Yasmani… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)
The third time, the magic wasn't to be for the Dodgers. It was there for the taking, almost teasing them, but this time they were unable to come up with the dramatics.
After winning their last two games with walk-off hits, the Dodgers again went into extra innings Tuesday, at which point a walk-off was the only way they could win.
Only this time it was the Padres who came up big, scoring three times in the 11th inning to earn a 6-3 victory before an announced crowd of 40,619 at Dodger Stadium.
John Ely, making his first appearance of the season, allowed four hits in the 11th. Sandwiched around a throwing error from third baseman Luis Cruz and an intentional walk, it was enough to snap the Dodgers' three-game winning streak.
The Padres got a two-run, bases-loaded single from Logan Forsythe and an RBI base hit from Chase Headley to win it.
The last time the Dodgers managed three consecutive walk-off victories was May 31-June 2, 2010, all against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Clayton Kershaw started and pitched another terrific game, making only one mistake, but making it in a hurry.
Kershaw's very first pitch of the game was hammered into the left-field pavilion by Chris Denorfia for his sixth home run of the season.
After that, Kershaw pitched tough all night. He seemed to particularly bear down when the Padres threatened, pitching out of jams in the fourth and fifth innings.
He was not involved in the decision, holding the Padres to one run on five hits in his seven innings. He struck out nine, the sixth time a Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher has struck out at least 200 batters in three consecutive seasons.
But matching him, at least in runs allowed, was ex-Dodger Eric Stults.
Stults, 32, was caught in a numbers crunch in the spring of 2010, or at least the Dodgers thought at the time, and sold to the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. He returned the next season, and since has pitched for the White Sox, the Rockies and now the Padres. With San Diego, he's gone 5-2 with a 2.38 ERA.
The Dodgers tied it against Stults in the second when Andre Ethier's career 1,000th hit went over the right-field wall. It was Ethier's 17th home run of the season, and third in four games.
But after that, Stults kept the Dodgers off-balance. He went six innings, holding them to the one run on seven hits. He only struck out one (Kershaw), but only walked one.
The Dodgers finally broke the 1-1 deadlock with a pair of runs in the seventh after A.J. Ellis was able to beat out an infield single. Really. Adam Kennedy's bunt sacrificed him to second and then Mark Ellis blooped a hit that landed just inside the right-field line.
A.J. Ellis had to hold up, waiting to see if Denorfia would make the catch on the blooper and held at third on the double. Shane Victorino, who had just three hits in 22 at-bats on the homestand, then laced a sharp single to center to score Ellis. Adrian Gonzalez lifted a sacrifice fly to left to score Mark Ellis and the Dodgers had a 3-1 lead.
Which seemed to last about two seconds.
Matt Guerrier took over for Kershaw to start the eighth, gave a leadoff single to Headley and then a two-run homer to Yasmani Grandal to tie it.