Los Angeles – It was an abnormally cool 71° July afternoon at Dodger Stadium on Sunday as the Dodgers and Padres wrapped up the final game of the first half. The Dodgers’ offense has cooled off this last week going into the break. They seem to be in All-Star break mode already. The Boys in Blue dropped their third straight game after the 5-3 loss to San Diego. It’s the first series loss at home since early April, and the first time they’ve lost three straight at Dodger Stadium since August 2018.
The Padres wasted no time. Leadoff hitter Fernando Tatis Jr. took Ross Stripling‘s fastball for a ride in the first frame. Another solo shot, a Manuel Margot dinger off the top of the center field wall, put San Diego up 2-0 in the second inning.
The first run of the day for the Dodgers was thanks to All-Star Max Muncy. He hit his 22nd dong of the year vs. Joey Lucchesi in the home half of the second inning, a first-pitch solo homer.
A little preview from All-Star, @maxmuncy9. pic.twitter.com/GlXvL6dSoa— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 7, 2019
Chris Taylor singled with one out in the fourth and stole second, but the Dodgers weren’t able to cash him in. Enrique Hernandez and Justin Turner both lined out to strand CT3 in scoring position.
It was a bit of an embarrassing moment for Muncy in the top of the fifth when he lost a high Austin Hedges pop-up in the sun. The ball bounced off his back for a double. Dave Roberts hooked Stripling after that play which gave the Padres runners at second and third with one out.
In his defense, the sun in LA is REALLY bright. pic.twitter.com/AjVeh54JMo— Cut4 (@Cut4) July 7, 2019
Pedro Baez took over from Stripling who went 4.1 innings and allowed four earned runs on six hits with three strikeouts and no walks on 71 pitches (49 strikes). Tatis Jr. then struck again, but this time it was a three-run homer off Baez. The Padres took a 5-1 lead after the bonk and the bomb. That was the first homer Baez allowed since March 31.
The second run of the game for the Dodgers was another solo home run, a first-pitch dong by Turner in the sixth.
No. 10 for 10. pic.twitter.com/k9adcmKW8h— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 7, 2019
The Dodgers scored again in the seventh. Edwin Rios hit a pinch-hit ground-rule double to leadoff, and he came around to score on Alex Verdugo‘s RBI single. The Dodgers pulled within two runs of the Pads. That would be it for Lucchesi who went 6.1 innings and allowed three runs on six hits with four strikeouts and no walks on 91 pitches (59 strikes).
Dylan Floro, JT Chargois, Julio Urias and Kenley Jansen all came in to pitch after Baez to get some work in before the break. Jansen pitched a 1-2-3 ninth. None of the four aforementioned relievers allowed a run after the Tatis tater in the Padres’ three-run fifth inning.
The Dodgers were looking for some more of that bottom of the ninth home magic, but they came up short this time going quietly down in order.
Roberts answered some questions briefly after the game.
“I thought Ross was good today. I thought he pitched well. Unfortunately we lost a ball in the sun, and that happened and so that inning kind of spun out a little bit out of control. We had our best reliever in that spot as far as mid-relief. Nine times out of 10, he’s going to limit damage. Petey left a pitch out over, and Tatis’s obviously a very talented player and put a good swing on it. We kept it close, had a chance to win. You got to give the credit to the Padres, the way they got big hits. They pitched us well. Now you gotta reset. I think our guys need the break to mentally, physically recharge.”
The Dodgers finish the first half with a record of 60-32 and 37-12 at home. They’re still 13.5 games up in the NL West. Although the three losses at home to finish up the first half leaves a sour note that’ll linger until Friday, there’s a lot to be positive about in the first 92 games and 146 dongs.
Speaking of dongs, you can watch Joc Pederson in the Home Run Derby tomorrow at 5 PM PT on ESPN. The Dodgers’ NL-best quintet of All-Stars will participate in the Midsummer Classic at Progressive Field on Tuesday at 5 PM PT on FOX.
The Dodgers kick off the second half on Friday, July 12 in Boston.