Jose De Leon Nearly Matches Los Angeles Franchise Record; Yasmani Grandal, Yasiel Puig Supply Power For Dodgers
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers turned a fifth rookie pitcher this season making his Major League debut, and Jose De Leon did not disappoint in the rubber match against the San Diego Padres.

De Leon fought off visible nerves and excitement in the first inning, retiring the first two batters faced. A Yangervis Solarte fly ball down the left-field line dropped between Justin Turner and Howie Kendrick for a two-out single.

Alex Dickerson was grazed by a pitch on his elbow, but De Leon ended a scoreless inning by striking out Ryan Schimpf.

Kiké Hernandez singled off Christian Friedrich with one out in the bottom of the first and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch.

Turner walked, but both runners were stranded by Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig. De Leon set the Padres down in order in the second, ending another inning with a strikeout.

Austin Barnes and Charlie Culberson connected on back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners with one out in the bottom of the second.

De Leon’s swinging bunt worked as a de facto sacrifice as it advanced Culberson to second base. Again, the Dodgers weren’t able to cash in, as Kendrick grounded out.

Travis Jankowski reached on a bunt single in the third, but it required the Padres to challenge the out call at first base. Two batters later, Solarte jumped on De Leon’s first pitch and crushed a two-run homer halfway up the pavilion in right field.

After Turner drew his second walk of the game, Gonzalez beat the Padres’ shift with a bunt single to third base. Puig turned on a 2-1 pitch from Friedrich and lined a three-run homer to left field, giving the Dodgers a 3-2 lead.

De Leon bookended a scoreless fourth inning with strikeouts to give him six punchouts up to that point. However, San Diego erased their deficit in the fifth inning. Alexi Amarista led off with a single to center field, and was moved into scoring position on Friedrich’s sacrifice bunt.

Jankowski also dropped a bunt down but De Leon threw wide of first base, allowing Amarista to score. The Padres took a 4-3 on an ensuing base hit and sacrifice fly. Turner forced Friedrich to throw 11 pitches in the process of working his third walk of the game.

After Friedrich struck out Gonzalez, he was replaced by Kevin Quackenbush. The right-hander walked Puig and gave up an RBI single to Chase Utley that tied the game. Pinch-hitter Yasmani Grandal drove in another run with a base hit to right field.

De Leon remained in the game in the sixth and struck out the side to finish with nine strikeouts and zero walks in his debut. Only Pedro Astacio (1992) and Kazuhisa Ishii (2002) had more strikeouts during an MLB debut in Los Angeles franchise history with 10.

Grant Dayton worked around a leadoff walk in the seventh to toss a scoreless inning out of the bullpen. Batting right-handed, Grandal added to the Dodgers’ lead with a two-run homer that was just out of the reach of Dickerson.

After Joe Blanton kept the Padres off the board in the eighth, Kenley Jansen entered in the ninth inning for a second consecutive appearance. Hector Sanchez lined a long one-out single off the wall in center field but was thrown out attempting to stretch it a double.

Jansen retired Oswaldo Arcia to earn the save in the Dodgers’ 7-4 victory. Coupled with the San Francisco Giants losing to the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles extended their lead in the National League West to three games.