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LAD@SD: Harang fans six Padres in his Dodgers debut

SAN DIEGO -- For the Dodgers to get two-run blasts from Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier in Petco Park without winning can only mean pitching issues.

It doesn't show in the standings, where the Dodgers are playing .750 ball even after Sunday's 8-4 loss to the Padres, but even writing off Clayton Kershaw's three-inning outing to the flu, the Dodgers saw Aaron Harang join fellow rotation newcomer Chris Capuano fail to get out of the fifth inning.

"We're definitely counting on more than that," manager Don Mattingly said. "'Cap' was really good, just one bad inning. This was the first time I've seen Aaron behind in the count. We're going to have to get more than that."

Harang said he was fine physically but not so much in mental approach.

"I was just pressing too much," Harang said after returning to his home park of last season (where he had a 3.05 ERA) and pitching like a stranger in a strange land. He allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings with five walks. The Dodgers staff walked eight after issuing 10 Saturday night.

"I felt I was pitching kind of tight," Harang said a day after Capuano said he wasn't aggressive enough attacking hitters. "I was tense or something. I put a lot of pressure on myself and just wasn't able to locate. You fall behind and got to throw strikes and that's when they get hits. I wasn't making the pitches, that's what it comes down to."

Harang admitted there was "anxiety coming back to pitch here. I was just tense out there, and when you do that, you scuffle and mechanically you do stuff wrong."

The home runs by Kemp and Ethier would have made the game winnable except for the erratic and already well-used Dodgers bullpen, as Scott Elbert allowed an eighth-inning grand slam to Chase Headley, two of the scoring runners having been inherited from Todd Coffey.

The slam came one batter after Elbert and catcher Matt Treanor miscommunicated on Will Venable's sacrifice bunt attempt that went for a single.

"If we had gotten an out on the bunt, we can pick and choose who we want [to pitch to]," said Mattingly. "We didn't and Scotty got behind and had to throw a strike and got the slider up."

A pitching bright spot was reliever Josh Lindblom, who wouldn't have made the club out of Spring Training if Ted Lilly hadn't injured his neck. While Lilly was pitching a rehab game for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Sunday, Lindblom was making his second scoreless two-inning appearance of the weekend. He wasn't expecting to pitch more innings this series than his buddy, Kershaw.

"I love to be busy," said Lindblom. "As a reliever, the thing I love is having an opportunity to pitch every single day and have an impact on every game. Whether you do good or bad, the very next day you might have another opportunity."

Jamey Wright, who threw eight consecutive balls Saturday night, threw two more with the bases loaded in relief of Harang before getting an inning-ending double-play grounder from Richard to close the fifth inning.

Lindblom then kept the game close, but the Dodgers struggled to make it matter. Padres starter Clayton Richard, in his first regular-season game since July shoulder surgery, didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning.

"I was just throwing strikes early in the count," Richard said. "With their lineup, you don't want to fall behind to these guys. The more pitches they see, the better they hit."

San Diego committed fielding errors on the first Dodgers batter in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, but the Dodgers cashed in only the last one on Kemp's home run. Ethier's blast came in the ninth, after the Padres had blown it open with Headley's grand slam. The Dodgers finished with only four hits.

"We didn't do enough today offensively," Mattingly said. "Early on, we had good at-bats but hit balls right at people and didn't scratch anything together. I thought the second time through [the order] we'd be better, but we weren't any better. We got guys on base, they gave us chances to get something going and we really didn't."

Kemp already has two home runs and eight RBIs, a 16-game hitting streak dating back to last year, and is picking up where he left off last season.

"Today they just out-hit us and scored more runs, but we won three games, we battled to win in extra innings, we tried to fight back in this game and showed our character," Kemp said. "We're strong and never give up." Comments