Walter Mencken 9:15 a.m., March 28
It's a box score you might see at your local little league field, with seven total errors including five from the Dodgers, but the Padres will take it. Those Dodgers errors combined with solid hitting and a crafty performance from Padres starter Jason Marquis led to a 7-2 victory for San Diego on Sunday afternoon.
Marquis got into some trouble early, when Tony Gwynn Jr. led off the bottom of the first inning with an infield single, and then stole second base. Mark Ellis walked, and then Matt Kemp, who feasts on Padres pitching, singled home Gwynn and the Dodgers led 1-0.
But Marquis pitched out of the inning without further damage, getting Bobby Abreu to ground out and then James Loney to hit into a double-play. All afternoon, Marquis demonstrated the ability to overcome most situations that called for the right pitch at the right time. Marquis had been up for much of the night before his start, battling stomach flu.
The Padres finally got to the Dodgers emergency starter Chris Capuano in the fourth inning, Capuano getting the start when the original starting pitcher for the Dodgers, Chad Billingsley, was scratched with a sore elbow. Logan Forsythe and Chase Headley hit back-to-back singles to open the frame, and then Carlos Quentin grounded to short stop in what appeared to be a taylor-made double-play, except that after forcing Headley at second base, Mark Ellis threw the ball away which allowed Forsythe to come around and score.
The score was tied 1-1 into the bottom of the sixth inning. Then the Dodgers got to Marquis one last time.
In the bottom of the sixth inning with one out, James Loney doubled to right and then Jerry Hairston drove Loney in with a single to center field. That would be the last damage that Hairston would do to the Padres on Sunday, the rest of the damage he did was done to his own club.
In the top of the seventh inning with two outs, Cameron Maybin reached first base after Hairston threw the ball away. Everth Cabrera then singled off of Capuano and John Baker walked to load the bases.
Hairston then committed his second error of the inning on a ball hit by pinch-hitter Yasmani Grandal, scoring Maybin and Cabrera with Baker taking third base and Grandal taking second, putting the Padres up 3-2. But the Padres weren't finished.
Josh Lindblom replaced Capuano on the mound for the Dodgers and Alexi Amarista pinch hit for Chris Denorfia. Amarista then hit an infield single to Hairston (who else?) which plated Baker and the Padres padded the lead to 4-2.
In the top of the eighth inning, the Padres tacked on an insurance run when Chase Headley homered to right field, his 10th of the season to make it 5-2. And then in the ninth inning, the Padres effectively put the game out of reach.
Jamey Wright took the hill for the Dodgers and was greeted by a double from Mark Kotsay who was pinch-hitting in the pitcher's spot. Alexi Amarista attempted to sacrifice Kotsay the third base but was safe at first when Wright failed to field the ball cleanly for another Dodgers error.
Amarista took second base on defensive indifference when Logan Forsythe came to the plate, but Forsythe grounded out. Wright then intentionally walked Chase Headley to load the bases and set up the double play.
Carlos Quentin had other ideas, and hit a sacrifice fly deep enough to score a tagging Kotsay from third base. Yonder Alonso then singled to right field, plating Amarista, and the score stood at 7-2. Dale Thayer came in to mop up in the last frame, and the Padres took two of the three games from the Dodgers in the series.
Beyond the old adage that one should never look a gift-horse in the mouth, perhaps it is appropriate to get on that horse and ride it for all that it's worth. The Padres certainly did that on Sunday afternoon, they rode it all over Chavez Ravine.
Nothing yet to report on the decisions for possible surgeries to Joe Wieland and Micah Owings. Likely those decisions will be revealed around 4PM PDST. A good guess would be that Wieland will have one, but with Owings it's a tougher decision for the veteran, who is an excellent hitter that could develop into a position player who could pitch when needed. More on that as it develops.
The Padres are back home now and ready to take on the Houston Astros for a four game series. Monday night, Houston will send J.A. Happ (6-9, 5.14) to take on the Padres Kip Wells (1-2, 2.50). Game time is set for 7:05 PM, and the usual suspects (Fox Sports San Diego for the visual and XX 1090 AM for the aural) will be broadcasting. For folks stuck with Time Warner, get yourself out to the park at Petco, the Astros aren't the biggest draw in baseball so there will be a lot of good seats available. Or else, you know, VH1 Classic can always soothe that savage breast. Whichever.