SAN DIEGO -- The Dodgers broke open a tense affair Sunday afternoon on a ground ball that traveled about 45 feet.
A seventh-inning throwing error by Padres reliever Nick Vincent allowed three runners to score, and the Dodgers cruised from there, winning their third straight over the Padres, 5-1, and maintaining their 7 1/2-game lead in the National League West over the Giants, who beat the Rockies, 7-4, on Sunday.
Los Angeles loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh for right fielder Andre Ethier, who bounced a slow roller up the first-base line. Vincent fielded the ball cleanly, but lollipopped the short throw into right field. Second baseman Alexi Amarista was late to back up, and the ball squirted past his glove and dribbled into the right-field corner.
"It's a funny game," Ethier said. "You swing, you square it up, and you get out. Then, you hit a little three-hopper down the line and somehow clear the bases."
Padres interim manager Pat Murphy contested that Ethier had left the baseline, obstructing the throw, but his case fell on deaf ears. Wil Myers, who had moved from center field to first base earlier in the game, didn't provide Vincent the best angle either.
Padres starter Andrew Cashner picked up yet another tough-luck loss. He gave up two earned runs on five hits over six innings, while striking out five. Cashner allowed the go-ahead run in the sixth inning when A.J. Ellis' single bounced out of the glove of a diving Justin Upton.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Ailing Anderson: Dodgers starter Brett Anderson exited in the sixth inning with a left-calf cramp. Anderson's leash was probably short anyway, however, as he had reached 95 pitches. Reliever J.P. Howell replaced Anderson and ended the frame by getting Melvin Upton Jr. to smack a grounder to third. The ball hit off the glove of Corey Seager and ricocheted right to Jimmy Rollins, who got the out at first. More >
"I know I'm a sweater," said Anderson, who remains on track to make his next start. "So I have to drink more fluids than most people, and I usually start two or three days before. I guess I just didn't get enough fluids. My stuff was not very good, but I battled."
Gyorko goes long: In the third inning, Jedd Gyorko hit his 13th homer of the year, a 404-foot blast to left-center field. Gyorko had three home runs in this series. Gyorko is one of six Padres to hit three home runs in a series against the Dodgers, matching San Diego's franchise record.
Now that's a first: The Dodgers plated a run in the first inning without recording a hit. (They used two walks, a hit by pitch and a sac fly.) Then, with a man on first base in the bottom of the frame, Justin Upton launched a rocket to straightaway center. The ball hit three-quarters of the way up the wall, but Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson played the carom perfectly and fired the ball in, preventing a run and holding Upton to a single. Myers would bounce back to the pitcher to end the threat.
Myers back in action: Myers, who started for the third time since coming back for the disabled list after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, made a few standout plays in center field Saturday, providing damage control. In the the second inning with runners on first and second, Myers had a nice over-the-head running catch, to rob Carl Crawford of a hit. More >
"The way this team is put together, we're supposed to win every series. the talent in this room and the quality of players in this room, we should be vying to win every single series." -- Ellis, who went 2-for-3 with a walkMore >
"It's a good lesson for young people out there that even big leaguers can botch that play. Both of them could have did something to help, ultimately you can't throw the ball over a guy's head from that short of a distance. It happened it costs us three runs, it made the lead difficult to come back … ultimately that play made a difference in the game, I won't say it decided the game, but it sure had big impact." -- Murphy on Vincent's error
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Dodgers stole three bases on Sunday, the fifth time they've done so since Aug. 9. Prior to that, they hadn't swiped three bags in a game all season.
"I'm not managing really any differently," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. "It's just we're running the bases better."
In the seventh inning with a runner on first base, the Dodgers challenged the call that pitcher Marcos Mateo hit Adrian Gonzalez with a pitch. The call stood and on the next pitch, Gonzalez hit a single to right field.
WHAT'S NEXT Dodgers:Zack Greinke faces the Angels, as the Dodgers go for their sixth straight win in the Freeway Series at 6:05 p.m. PT. Greinke has allowed five runs in his past five starts and figures to be the leading candidate for the National League Cy Young Award. He's first in the Majors in ERA and WHIP.
Padres: The Padres welcome the Rockies to San Diego for a four-game series starting Monday at 1:10 p.m. PT. The series was originally slated for three games, but Thursday will be a make-up game for the rainout on July 19. Ian Kennedy will take the mound for the Padres. The right-hander has been strong since the All-Star break, posting a 2.35 ERA.