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MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

Dodgers fall to Padres, 4-3

L.A. continues to waste chances to gain ground on the Giants and on the wild-card chase with time running out.

September 05, 2012|By Bill Shaikin

Magic Johnson dropped in on his old friend Jay Leno on Wednesday. Johnson tweeted about the Dallas Cowboys' victory in the NFL opener, about former President Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention, and about what he said was his 23rd appearance on Leno's show.

"Tonight might have been the most fun yet," Johnson tweeted.

Johnson's baseball team? Not too much fun.

As the days of the pennant stretch dwindle to a precious few, the Dodgers lost a chance to gain ground in the National League West and wild-card races. The Dodgers lost a game and a series to the San Diego Padres, with Wednesday's 4-3 defeat the latest evidence that the revamped offense might not be all that.

The Dodgers concluded a seven-game homestand with three victories, all by one run. They scored a total of 20 runs on the homestand.

The Dodgers take Thursday off, then open a showdown series against the first-place Giants on Friday in San Francisco.

"Every series is a must-win series in September," Matt Kemp said. "We've got to play every game like it's our last game."

If the Dodgers had beaten the Padres on Tuesday and Wednesday, they would have been in position to seize first place with a sweep of the Giants. Instead, the Dodgers are 41/2 games behind San Francisco, with 24 to play. The Dodgers also are 11/2 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the second and final NL wild-card spot.

The Dodgers are 27-31 against the NL West. The Giants are 28-19 against the NL West, and they do not play outside the division for the rest of the season.

The Dodgers would have won the game had Cameron Maybin not leaped above the center-field wall to steal a home run from Kemp.

"I think we all get frustrated when we lose games," Kemp said.

The frustration might be greatest for Kemp, who was hitless in four at-bats and batted .120 (three for 25) on the homestand. He would not say whether he remains bothered by his left shoulder after crashing into the outfield fence in Colorado last week.

"No excuses," Kemp said. "I've got to get better."

Manager Don Mattingly said the offense appeared a bit better Wednesday, but not quite good enough. He said the woes extend beyond Kemp.

"We haven't done enough offensively," Mattingly said. "That's not on any one guy."

Mattingly said he could not have forecast that a lineup featuring Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier could be so unproductive.

"I'm a little bit, I shouldn't say shocked, but a little bewildered," Mattingly said.

The Dodgers got 10 hits Wednesday, but none for extra bases. They did get run-scoring singles from Gonzalez, Ramirez and Luis Cruz.

By the time the Padres sent their sixth man to the plate, they already had a 3-0 lead against Aaron Harang.

The Dodgers scrambled back to tie the score, 3-3, after five innings. In the seventh inning, however, the Padres scored the go-ahead run, tagging rookie Shawn Tolleson with his first loss.

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

twitter.com/BillShaikin

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