Padres spoil Dodgers' chance to add to NL West lead
By Jack Baer and AJ Cassavell
LOS ANGELES -- Yangervis Solarte's solo homer broke a tie in the eighth inning as the Padres bounced back from a sweep at the hands of the Braves with a 4-2 win over Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium on Friday night.
Solarte's homer off Adam Liberatore, who has allowed seven earned runs in five innings since returning from the DL, and Derek Norris' two-run double in the sixth drove an offensive performance that was good enough to capitalize on a frustrating night at the plate for the Dodgers.
While Howie Kendrick registered his fifth four-hit game of the season, tied for most in the National League, Los Angeles left 11 players on base. Yasiel Puig, in his first game back in the Majors, had two singles, but grounded out with the bases loaded and two outs in the third inning. With left-hander Clayton Richard starting for the Padres, it continued a trend of poor hitting by the Dodgers against left-handed pitchers. The team entered Friday with an MLB-worst .636 OPS against left handers.
"The hits are certainly progress because I think Clayton Richard threw the ball well, kept the ball down all night, was getting the low strike," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "To get that hit to clear the bases, I think that's the next layer. That's something we need to try to build on."
Both starting pitchers had short but solid nights. Richard allowed one run while striking out four, scattering nine hits and a walk over five innings. He was removed after just 82 pitches -- which Richard said was a savvy decision by his skipper, Andy Green, as the back-end of the Padres' bullpen shut down the Dodgers.
"Andy had a really good pulse on the game," Richard said. "I think the fifth inning might've been my sloppiest inning. The command wasn't there, and I think Andy picked up on that and made the call, and it was the right call."
Julio Urias lost a scoreless outing in the sixth when he exited early and watched Norris plate two inherited runners off Jesse Chavez. After not hitting a batter in the first 63 MLB innings of his career, Urias plunked three as he struggled with his command for most of the night. Urias received X-rays on his left hand after the game due to a ball hitting his fingers on a bunt attempt in the fourth inning.
"Those were misses he was trying to go in and it just nicked those guys," Roberts said. "A little bit of the command wasn't there. The last one, I don't know if it was because of the finger. Very uncharacteristic."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Sol power: Solarte's eighth-inning homer was his 14th of the season -- half of which have either tied the game or given the Padres the lead. He took advantage of a grooved 1-1 fastball from Liberatore, launching just his third homer this year from the right side. "I was trying to get a hit leading off the inning, first of all," Solarte said. "But I was able to stay aggressive, make some good contact, and it just ended up going out."
Slump breaker:Joc Pederson entered Friday on a 14-game streak without an extra-base hit. He snapped that in the sixth inning with a no-doubt solo shot down the right-field line to even the score at 2. Add that to an RBI single in the fourth inning, and Pederson had both of the Dodgers' RBIs Friday.
D-No delivers: It's been a rough season for Norris, but he did his part Friday night, launching a two-out, two-run double to left in the sixth that put the Padres on top, 2-1. Despite his struggles at the dish this year, Norris has always hit well at Dodger Stadium, where he's slashing .302/.373/.434.
"It's big for him," Green said. "I know he's got a real strong desire to finish well. He's grinded hard all year, and it hasn't really been the kind of season he set out for at the beginning of the year. ... There's some signs he's coming to life, and that'd be big for us."
Puig returns: His one-month tenure at Triple-A Oklahoma City over, Puig was back in the Dodgers' lineup batting fifth and playing right field. He recorded an out in his first two at-bats, including a groundout in the third inning with the bases loaded, but he got singles in his final two plate appearances.
"I was very happy for the opportunity," Puig said through an interpreter. "The first two times at bat were hard, it was a difficult pitcher, but as it went on, I was able to feel a little bit more comfortable and have better at-bats." More >
"I don't know if it's health, if it's mechanics, but if you look since he's come back, the numbers, the effectiveness he had before the break, they're not matching up." -- Roberts on Liberatore since returning from the DL in mid-August
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Padres left-hander Brad Hand escaped a two-on, one-out jam in the sixth before striking out the side in the seventh. Since the All-Star break, left-handed batters are 1-for-25 with 16 strikeouts against Hand -- and he's whiffed each of the last eight lefties he's faced. More >
With two outs in the top of the first, Urias came up and in on Padres cleanup man Alex Dickerson. Initially, the pitch was ruled to have grazed Dickerson's bat for a foul tip and strike three. But the Padres challenged the ruling, and replay showed that the ball actually hit Dickerson's hand. The overturned call cost Urias seven extra pitches, but no further damage was done.
WHAT'S NEXT Padres: Coming off the first complete game of his young career, righty Luis Perdomo takes the hill Saturday at Dodger Stadium with first pitch slated for 6:10 p.m. PT. Perdomo, a Rule 5 rookie who has practically locked up his spot in the rotation next season, leads the National League in ground-ball rate among pitchers with at least 100 innings.
Dodgers:Rich Hill had his second scheduled start for the Dodgers rained out Tuesday and was unable to start the next day due to tenderness with a blister on his left hand. He'll instead start Saturday hoping to follow up a debut of six scoreless innings, with first pitch scheduled for 6:10 p.m. PT.