06/30/10 9:16 PM ET
Furcal, Kemp lead Dodgers to sweep
Padilla allows one run in seven innings to earn 100th win
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
It was only Sunday night, but it seemed like a long time ago if you talked to the Dodgers after Wednesday's 8-2 rout of the Giants that completed a bounce-back series sweep and ran the Dodgers' record in the division to 21-5 after staggering to a 4-11 mark in Interleague Play.
"Coming in and playing well against a division opponent is more important than anything you could think about losing Sunday," said Jamey Carroll, who doubled twice, walked twice and scored two runs spelling third baseman Casey Blake. "We let that go pretty fast, as you can tell. It's a long season to let one game hold us down that long."
There are knocks on this Dodgers team, but one isn't dwelling on the past. This game included a combined seven hits by Rafael Furcal and Matt Kemp with a home run each, while Opening Day starter Vicente Padilla kept the game ball representing his 100th career victory and first since beating the Giants on April 16.
"This was a heck of a test for us after what happened Sunday night," said manager Joe Torre. "To come in and do what we did, obviously to win here is tough and it shows a lot of character."
The Dodgers played without Manny Ramirez, who strained a right hamstring Tuesday night and might go on the disabled list, and rested Blake, Andre Ethier and Blake Dewitt against Giants lefty Jonathan Sanchez.
Furcal is batting .471 (16-for-34) since returning after the death of his father less than two weeks ago. He had four hits (a homer and three singles) and scored three runs in this game. Torre said Furcal's energy when he's healthy elevates the play of the team, offensively and defensively.
"You can see, everybody can see, I get on base and anything can happen," said Furcal.
Kemp, starting for the first time since Saturday, homered and had a pair of singles for three RBIs.
"This is what he did last year," Torre said of Kemp, whose play has been scrutinized all season. "He was going through rough times, fighting himself. Maybe a few days away he realizes the game slows down."
Kemp, who also had two hits Tuesday night after taking over for Ramirez, said his swing is returning.
"Day by day, pitch by pitch," he said. "I felt pretty good at the plate and I hope it carries over to the next game in Arizona."
Padilla (2-2), making his third start since missing two months with an inflamed radial nerve in his right arm, pitched as if it was last year's stretch run. He allowed one run on three hits in seven innings and didn't even retaliate when Giants reliever Santiago Casilla buzzed a 96-mph fastball behind his head.
"You could say I'm really close to last year," said Padilla, who won four games down the stretch and helped win two postseason games for the Dodgers after being cut loose by Texas. "My velocity, my control are like last year and I made almost 100 pitches in seven innings."
Torre said Padilla complained of back stiffness while warming up before the game, but Padilla brushed it off.
"I'm not using that as an excuse," he said, as if he needed to make excuses.
Giants leadoff hitter Aaron Rowand, whose cheek was broken by a Padilla pitch when they met in April, got a measure of revenge with a solo home run off Padilla in the sixth inning, having already singled in the first.
The game included a staple for Padilla starts -- an umpire's warming to both clubs. With Padilla squaring to bunt in the seventh inning, Casilla threw behind Padilla's head. Although it was the first incident of the game, plate umpire Tom Hallion warned both benches. In Padilla's previous start, he hit Robinson Cano with a pitch and CC Sabathia hit Padilla with a pitch, drawing an umpire's warning.
"I respect their decision, whatever it was, that they have to protect their players," said Padilla. "I just want to say the pitch against Rowand was not intentional. They did what they had to do, but it would be different if they hit me in the head or eyes. Then my career is over."
Said Torre: "I heard a radio station said they thought Padilla should be hit, at least in the ribs. I thought that was a nice commentary. I'm sure that was the reason [for Casilla's pitch], the Rowand thing."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.