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Dodgers Comeback Falls Short
But with an overworked and injury-depleted bullpen at manager Don Mattingly's disposal, he was forced to use Matt Guerrier and John Ely late because Jamey Wright and Brandon League each worked two innings the previous game.
Logan Forsythe took full advantage, hitting a two-run single with the bases loaded in the 11th against Ely after Yasmani Grandal tied the score with a two-run homer in the eighth off Guerrier, and the San Diego Padres beat Los Angeles 6-3 Tuesday night.
''We're just at the point where we're kind of at the end of our rope after the last few days with guys unavailable in the bullpen,'' Mattingly said. ''But we have confidence in the guys that are here.''
The Dodgers wasted an excellent outing from ace Clayton Kershaw and dropped 1 1/2 games behind St. Louis in the race for the second NL wild card. They remained 4 1/2 games behind the NL West-leading Giants, who also lost in 11 innings at home, to Arizona.
''You've got to give a lot of credit to the Padres. They battled me all night and they put some great at-bats together,'' Kershaw said. ''It's definitely frustrating to lose like that. But at the same time, we've been playing well. Every game has been close, and you've just got to keep grinding. It's September. It's put up or shut up. We've got to win games no matter what.''
John Ely (0-1), working his second inning of relief, gave up a leadoff single to Cameron Maybin in the 11th. Everth Cabrera followed with a bunt single, and both runners took an extra base on third baseman Luis Cruz's throwing error to first.
Will Venable was intentionally walked with one out before Forsythe lined a 1-2 pitch to right-center. Chase Headley followed with an RBI single.
''My approach was just to see the ball deep and try to go back up the box with it,'' Forsythe said. ''Luckily, I got a pitch to do it with and stayed through it well enough to put us on the board.''
Padres rookie Tommy Layne (1-0) pitched a perfect inning for his first major league win, striking out Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez on 13 pitches. Luke Gregerson got three outs for his fourth save.
The Padres tied it 3-all in the eighth when Headley led off with a single and Grandal drove a 1-0 pitch to right-center for his seventh home run.
Guerrier had been limited to 8 2-3 innings all season due to elbow tendinitis. He took the loss last Friday night against Arizona when he served up a leadoff homer in the 11th inning to Jason Kubel in his first appearance since April 18.
''We've been pretty clutch the second half of the season, and tonight was my night to come through,'' Grandal said. ''Forsythe also did it in the 11th inning with a big clutch hit that got us a win.''
Kershaw pitched seven sharp innings and reached the 200-strikeout mark for the third straight season despite giving up a home run to Chris Denorfia on his first pitch of the game. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the seventh, when the Dodgers took a 3-1 lead with Shane Victorino's RBI single and Gonzalez's sacrifice fly.
Andre Ethier homered in support of Kershaw, who allowed five hits, struck out nine and walked three. The left-hander raised his season strikeout total to 201, joining Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Fernando Valenzuela and Hideo Nomo as the only Dodgers pitchers to whiff 200 or more batters in at least three consecutive seasons since the franchise relocated from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958.
Padres starter Eric Stults allowed a run and seven hits in six innings against his former team.
''Stultsie's been good for us - especially the last month,'' San Diego manager Bud Black said. ''Tonight he matched up with probably the best left-handed pitcher in the game and dueled him pitch for pitch. We've given him an opportunity to jump into a major league rotation and he's pitched extremely well for us.''
Denorfia's homer deep into the left-field pavilion was his sixth this season and third leading off a game. It was only the second time in Kershaw's 145 career starts that he gave up a home run to his first batter. Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins did it on Sept. 1, 2010.
''I don't know whether that home run heightened Kershaw's focus - because he doesn't ever look like it needs to be,'' Black said. ''We stressed him a couple of times and he rose to the occasion with strikeouts.''
Ethier tied it in the second with his 17th homer and third in four games, including a tying shot in the ninth inning against Gregerson on Monday.
NOTES: The Dodgers announced that closer Kenley Jansen, sidelined since Aug. 28 because of heart arrhythmia, will continue taking blood thinners for 10 more days with the hope of pitching again by Sept. 18 at the earliest. A club spokesman said Jansen might undergo a surgical procedure in the offseason - a cardiac ablation - which is designed to deaden scar tissue and change the heartbeat rate. Longtime team physician Frank Jobe, 87, had the same procedure 10 years ago and said Saturday that it saved his life. ... Dodgers RHP Chad Billingsley, who was 6-0 with a 1.80 ERA in his previous seven starts before landing on the DL with inflammation in his elbow, is scheduled to receive a second platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection on Tuesday. ... Headley was chosen NL player of the month for August after batting .308 with 10 homers and 31 RBIs - becoming the first Padres player to win the award since Tony Gwynn in May 1997. ... The Dodgers' bullpen took another hit when RHP Javy Guerra was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Sept. 3, because of a left oblique strain. RHP Josh Wall was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque.
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