Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis is thrown out at the plate while trying to score… (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )
Make no mistake: the Dodgers will one day make the San Diego Padres pay for what Carlos Quentin did to Zack Greinke.
This is baseball. It will happen. Manager Don Mattingly hinted as much a couple of days ago.
But if only for an evening, the Dodgers weren't thinking about revenge.
Not on Monday, not with Jackie Robinson Day being celebrated at Dodger Stadium and news of devastation flooding in from Boston.
Against this solemn backdrop, the Dodgers and Padres set aside their books of unwritten rules and played an uneventful game that the visitors from San Diego won, 6-3.
"There's more to life than retaliating for something that, when you look at it and the things that Jackie did for us and what he had to go through, really isn't that big of a deal," Kemp said.
Kemp was particularly reflective on this day, as he talked about his admiration for Robinson and remorse for his actions on the day Quentin charged the mound and fractured Greinke's collarbone in San Diego.
Of the racial abuse Robinson endured while breaking baseball's color barrier, Kemp said, "He knew how to turn the other cheek. He knew how to walk away from situations, unlike myself at times."
When Kemp doesn't, he hears from his mother and grandmother, who remind him that children who idolize him are watching.
Thursday was one such day. Enraged by how Quentin charged Greinke on the mound after being hit by a pitch, Kemp was ejected for his role in the bench-clearing brawl. He later ran into Quentin in a stadium hallway, got in his face and threatened him.
"I probably could have handled that situation a little bit differently," Kemp said.
Former Dodgers manager Joe Torre, who now oversees on-field discipline for the commissioner's office, made certain there wouldn't be a repeat of last week. Torre called the two managers, reminding them this was a day to honor Robinson and not to fight.
Quentin helped matters by dropping his appeal of the eight-game suspension he received from the league office.
With Quentin at home in San Diego, boos were directed at his teammates during pregame introductions. But whatever vitriol there was in the stadium evaporated once the Dodgers held a moment of silence for the bombing victims in Boston.
From there on, this game was like any other, which meant the Dodgers left more men on base.
The Dodgers began the game batting .167 with runners in scoring position. Carl Crawford and Mark Ellis led off the first inning with consecutive singles, but Kemp flied out to center field and Adrian Gonzalez popped up to shortstop. Andre Ethier struck out with the bases loaded.
This was no way to pay homage to Robinson, who was a .308 hitter with runners in scoring position.
Pitcher Eric Stults made the Dodgers immediately regret the lost opportunities, hitting a three-run home run to center field against Chad Billingsley that put San Diego ahead, 3-0.
Gonzalez closed the gap to 3-1 when his third-inning ground-rule double drove in Crawford. Crawford singled in Luis Cruz in the fourth inning and A.J. Ellis singled in Kemp in the fifth to tie the score, 3-3.
But Ronald Belisario, making his team-leading seventh pitching appearance for the Dodgers, loaded the bases in the seventh inning. Left-hander Paco Rodriguez walked in a run and got a double play that produced another run. The Dodgers were down, 5-3.