Jerry Hairston, filling in for third baseman Juan Uribe, made two difficult fielding plays, only to throw the ball away twice, resulting in three of six unearned runs. Uribe, filling in for shortstop Dee Gordon, who is on the disabled list, made a throwing error. So did second baseman Mark Ellis, his first this season. Reliever Jamey Wright dropped a bunt that led to two more unearned runs.
The day for the Dodgers began with news that scheduled starting pitcher Chad Billingsley was scratched with what he called a strained elbow flexor tendon, although he will undergo further tests Monday before the club reveals details and a prognosis.
Chris Capuano (9-5) stepped in and went 6 2/3 innings and allowed four unearned runs, drawing a loss that dropped the Dodgers 1 1/2 games out of first place.
Not only did the Dodgers not have Billingsley, they were resting regulars Matt Kemp, Juan Rivera, A.J. Ellis and Luis Cruz. That forced moving Bobby Abreu from leadoff the night before to cleanup, and their closer situation was up in the air with Jansen and Ronald Belisario having pitched the previous two nights and Javy Guerra on bereavement leave (he's expected to return Monday and be active Tuesday).
No wonder Mattingly, club president Stan Kasten and general manager Ned Colletti huddled after the game. The July 31 Trade Deadline won't come soon enough for the Dodgers, who need reinforcements even after the return of Kemp and Andre Ethier from the disabled list.
The Dodgers actually led this game 1-0 and 2-1 going into the top of the seventh. Capuano got the first two outs when, as Mattingly said, the floodgates opened.
Hairston, who had two hits and an RBI in a busy day, made a nice backhand play on Cameron Maybin's grounder but bounced his throw to first for his first error. Capuano got ahead of Everth Cabrera, 0-2, but ultimately lost him on a single to left. No 8 hitter John Baker walked to load the bases and Hairston made another nice backhand on pinch-hitter Yasmani Grandal's bouncer but overthrew first and the ball bounced into the stands as two runs scored.
"You'd like to get a better grip on the ball, but with him running down the line, sometimes you don't have that luxury," said Hairston, who hadn't committed an error at third base this season. "You just have to let it go. Really all day it was tough to get a grip for whatever reason.
"Third base is not easy. It's probably the hardest position on the field. I just had a tough inning. You hate to see it compounded and cost your team a game, but it did and it happened."
Josh Lindblom took over and got pinch-hitter Alexi Amarista to bounce to, of course, third base. Hairston made another clean grab and this time an accurate throw, but the speedy Amarista was safe on a head-first dive and another run scored.
"We did take advantage of a few things, but I think we had some good at-bats once we got deeper in the game," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "A couple big hits got us started and we capitalized on a few mistakes and kept adding on."
The mistakes weren't on Capuano, the Dodgers' All-Star snub.
"Cap was good. We didn't make any plays for him," said Mattingly.
Capuano said he was well rested, having last pitched five innings seven days earlier. He tried to be philosophical after a wasted solid effort.
"You really just have to judge yourself by how you execute your pitches," he said. "The wins and losses, there's a lot of other stuff that has to happen for you to get a win or a loss so I try to stay disciplined and how many pitches did I execute and that's it.
"You just keep making pitches no matter what. There's times out there when maybe you don't execute and get a win and there are times when you execute and don't get a win. That's it. Focus on making one pitch at a time."