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Scott Ellis 5:15 a.m., Aug. 5
No one could have considered that there would have been a brawl on Thursday in the rubber match between the Dodgers and the Padres. There were other concerns and questions before the game to ponder, questions that could possibly shape the outcome of the contest.
With the marine layer rolling in a full two hours before first pitch at Petco Park on Thursday evening, the game between the Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers would seem to lend itself to be a low scoring affair. The ball doesn’t usually carry well in April when the cold damp ocean air thickens the atmosphere, but is that true regardless of the new ballpark configuration with the right and center field fences in a little bit?
Another concern for the Padres and manager Buddy Black has been the inability of starting pitching to go deep into games, which taxes the bullpen. At what point would Buddy need to make some adjustments by shuffling relievers up from the minor leagues to give some other relievers on the 25-man roster a few days of rest?
“It can’t continue at this rate,” Buddy said before the game on Thursday. “If this happens over time, this usage, then we’ll have to make some adjustments.”
Padres starter Jason Marquis opened the top of the first inning giving up a single to the red-hot Carl Crawford. Two outs later, former Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez belted a hanging slider over the right field wall, a home run that easily would have cleared the wall last season.
Marquis then gave up a two-out walk to Andre Ethier and a single to right field to A.J. Ellis. Although Jason got Luis Cruz to ground out to shortstop, he had a 26-pitch first inning and the Padres were down 2-0 to the Dodgers before even coming to the plate.
So much for the marine layer holding anything in; so much for Marquis being able to go long without encountering some very pitch-thrifty innings.
Meanwhile, through three innings, Dodgers starter Zach Greinke was entirely effective, shutting down the Padres on three hits with 41 total pitches. Through three, Marquis was already at 67 pitches including three walks and six hits to go with the two runs.
The Padres fought back in the bottom of the fourth inning with two outs. After Greinke walked Jedd Gyorko, Nick Hundley hit a pitch down the left field line, sending Gyorko to third.
Gyorko then scored on a wild pitch, and the Padres only trailed by a run. For Hundley, going back to Wednesday’s game, it was his sixth straight hit in as many plate appearances.
Jason Marquis went five innings on 102 pitches and was relieved by Andrew Cashner. After Cashner retired the side, Zack Greinke came back out to pitch the bottom half of the sixth inning.
With a full count on Carlos Quentin, Greinke hit Quentin high on the left shoulder with a fastball, and Carlos took exception to it and charged the mound and the benches and bullpens cleared and a good-sized brawl ensued, lasting for several minutes. When the brawl seemed to be ending, Matt Kemp took exception to the fact that Greinke appeared to have been injured in the melee and went after the Padres bench and had to be restrained.
Finally after the players were separated and began to slowly shuffle back to their respective bullpens and dugouts, former Padre Jerry Hairston, Jr. came out and walked toward the Padres dugout and went after the bench. Out came everyone and it started all over again.
This time, order was restored a bit quicker, but there was a price to pay for it all. Ejected for the Padres was Carlos Quentin. Ejected for the Dodgers were Jerry Hairston Jr., and Matt Kemp. Play resumed after a lengthy delay, with Alexi Amarista pinch running for the ejected Carlos Quentin.
Chris Capuano took over for an injured Greinke and Capuano uncorked a wild pitch sending Amarista to second base. Yonder Alonso then singled, scoring Amarista and the teams were tied 2-2 after six innings.
In the top of the eighth inning with one out and Luke Gregerson pitching Juan Uribe untied the score. With a full count, Uribe smacked a Gregerson slider over the right field wall for a 3-2 lead, which held up.
In the Padres eighth, Jedd Gyorko singled off of Ron Belisario but couldn’t be advanced. Kenley Jansen came in to retire the Padres in order in the ninth inning to notch his first save of the season.
Luke Gregerson took the loss to even his record at 1-1 while Matt Guerrier got his first win to go 1-0. Los Angeles improves to 6-3 while the Padres fall to 2-7 this year.
The construction of the new double bullpen behind left-center field, where both the Padres and their opponents warm up pitchers before and during the game, has also meant that the infamous pepper garden is gone now. Some players might mourn the loss, but not Andrew Cashner. “I’m glad there’s no more peppers back there, so we don’t have to eat them. If they ever plant anything else back there, maybe they should plant strawberries, or maybe raspberries. Some sort of fruit,” Andrew said casually in the dugout before the game.
Chase Headley took more batting practice before warm-ups on Thursday and hit the ball very well. The contact was solid and there were no issues. He then took fielding practice at third base with no issues. Manager Buddy Black said that there should be a timeline of rehab in the minors set for Chase within three or four days.
On Friday, the Colorado Rockies come to town, a week after the Padres were swept in Colorado. Jon Garland (1-0, 3.00) will start for the Rockies while Tyson Ross (0-1, 4.50) gets the nod for the Padres. Game time is at 7:10 PDST and the usual suspects will broadcast the contest, 1090 AM on radio and on Fox Sports San Diego for your viewing pleasure.