Dodgers blanked by Padres
Offense collects just four hits as eight-game win streak ends
SAN DIEGO -- Faced with the possibility that the Dodgers really can't win on the road, or that Monday night's 4-0 loss to the last-place Padres at PETCO Park was merely a one-day letdown after a perfect homestand, manager Joe Torre chose the latter.
"I reminded them before the game we might not have the same emotion, we won't have the home fans, plus we just played the team we were chasing and ran them down," Torre said. "It's a natural reaction. You're aware of it, conscious of it, but something happens. We [the Yankees] experienced it after a big series with the Red Sox, and all of a sudden you're a different club the next day. Even though you know, you don't feel the same and don't play the same game. It doesn't always happen that you lose or you flatten out, but we looked flat."
So the eight-game win streak came to a crashing halt as the offense suffered its 12th shutout on only four hits, three of them by torrid Andre Ethier. Two of those hits were doubles, but both were followed by strikeouts of Manny Ramirez, who went 0-for-4. With Arizona losing in San Francisco, though, the Dodgers retained their 1 1/2-game lead after sweeping the D-backs over the weekend.
Cha Seung Baek fired seven scoreless innings for the Padres, six days after getting whacked by the Dodgers for seven runs in 3 2/3 innings. Baek adjusted by throwing more fastballs at PETCO Park after relying on breaking balls at Dodger Stadium.
"We never got untracked," Torre said. "We never put any pressure on their pitcher."
Greg Maddux, acquired from San Diego for the stretch drive, is now 1-3 in it, with two of the losses coming against last-place teams (San Diego and Washington). After allowing his former teammates two runs in 5 2/3 innings in a win last week, Maddux allowed a two-run homer to Adrian Gonzalez in the first inning, two more runs over the next five innings and is now 7-12 on the season.
"I was OK with how I threw the ball tonight," Maddux said. "I left a ball up to Gonzalez. Other than that, I was OK with how I was throwing. I feel good with how I'm thinking and how I'm throwing. Maybe the results haven't been there, but I feel all right, the way the ball is coming out of my hand."
He wasn't all right with a couple calls by plate umpire Angel Hernandez, Maddux asking where the pitch was, Hernandez stepping menacingly toward Maddux and pointing his finger.
"The strike zone seemed to move around a lot," Torre said. "For someone who relies on command, it makes it tough. It looked like it wasn't consistent all night."
The Dodgers swept a three-game series from the Padres at home last week, but playing on the road has been an ordeal this year and playing in San Diego has always been fraught with peril, especially when the Padres are reduced to the spoiler role.
"There's a lot of hatred for the Dodgers down here," said Dodgers reserve Mark Sweeney, who had two stints playing for San Diego. "It's mainly with the fans, not in the clubhouse. But you do have guys playing for jobs for next year. You have other teams critical because they're not playing their best players. You hear that as a player, it can be frustrating. Then you hear that we're not even facing [Jake] Peavy and it should be an easy time for the Dodgers. That just adds fuel to the fire."
The Dodgers are 18-25 at PETCO Park, 160-171 all-time in San Diego and, alarmingly, 28-41 on the road this year. That includes the eight-game losing streak that opened the last 10-game trip. Since Aug. 5, the Dodgers are 15-3 at home and 4-13 on the road.
"Considering we started our eight-game win streak on the road with two in Arizona, I'm not really concerned," Torre said. "We don't seem bothered on the road. It's not only us. A lot of big league clubs are losing on the road. But we need to get straightened out if we're going to win this thing. We have to find a way to win on the road and to do it."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.