Mookie Betts provided an immediate spark in his return from the 10-day injured list but the Los Angeles Dodgers squandered multiple opportunities and it cost them as Craig Kimbrel blew his third save of the season in a 4-2 loss to the San Diego Padres.
It marked the first time the the Dodgers swept the Padres in a four-game series since April 30-May 3, 2009, which also occurred at Dodger Stadium.
Betts jumpstarted the offense on Sunday by roping a double down the left-field line in his first at-bat, and Trea Turner followed with his own extra-base hit to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. Their production was also noteworthy in that Turner was moved up to batting second, with Freddie Freeman placed third in the Dodgers’ lineup.
MacKenzie Gore hit Will Smith with a pitch and later walked Justin Turner, but stranded both runners to keep the damage at a minimum. That wound up being a theme for the Padres’ starter.
Betts and Trea Turner were left on base in the second inning after a walk and single, respectively. Then in the third, nothing came of a Smith pop-up that dropped between three Padres players for a leadoff single.
Betts walked again in the fourth inning and Turner was hit by a pitch to put two on with two outs. Freeman singled to left field but nothing came of it due to Jurickson Profar throwing out Betts at home plate.
Perhaps still wary of his fractured right rib that remains on the mend, Betts pulled up to avoid a collision since the ball beat him with ease.
The Dodgers didn’t threaten for the remainder of the game as their offense struggled to get to Gore and the Padres’ bullpen.
Dodgers bullpen lets Kershaw down
While the Dodgers weren’t able to add to their slim lead, Clayton Kershaw turned in seven scoreless innings on a season-high 98 pitches. Kershaw scattered four hits and stranded the leadoff man in three separate innings.
Kershaw lowered his career ERA against the Padres to 2.03 in the process.
Evan Phillips followed Kershaw with a clean inning, but Kimbrel couldn’t follow suit. He began the ninth by striking out Manny Machado, only to then take a comebacker between his shoulder blades.
Kimbrel initially remained in the game but proceeded to allow two runs. One came on a fly ball to left field that Gavin Lux appeared to have a read on but it hit high off the fence for a game-tying RBI double. Eric Hosmer’s base hit then gave the Padres a lead.
Ha-Seong Kim hit a two-run homer off Yency Almonte to provide the Padres with some breathing room that proved key as Freeman drove a run in on a sacrifice fly.
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