The Los Angeles Dodgers are in danger of losing a series to one of the worst teams in the major leagues and hope to bounce back today in the rubber match of a three-game set versus the San Diego Padres.
The Dodgers posted a 2-1 win in Friday's series opener at Chavez Ravine, but suffered a 7-6 setback last night. In a bizarre play in the top of the ninth, Everth Cabrera stole home when Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen turned his back and Will Venable came around to score on Jansen's errant throw to the plate.
"I don't know if he was going to clean his shoes or regrouping," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "It was just a crazy play after that."
Andre Ethier belted a two-run homer and finished with four RBI for the Dodgers, who lost for the fourth time in five contests and switched spots with San Francisco atop the NL West standings. The Giants are now one-half game ahead of LA in the division. Matt Kemp had three hits in defeat.
Jansen absorbed the loss and tried to explain his mental gaffe.
"I don't know what happened, but it won't happen again," Jansen said "When I saw Cabrera called out, I froze. Then he was called safe. Everything happened so fast. I'm glad it happened now and not in October. I'll learn from it."
Aaron Harang started for the Dodgers and allowed four runs -- three earned -- in seven innings. Los Angeles will host Philadelphia for three games after this afternoon's series finale.
The Dodgers will roll the dice with Chad Billingsley, who is 0-5 with a 6.21 ERA in his last five starts. Billingsley was roughed up his previous time out in a 5-3 loss at Arizona on July 7, when he surrendered four runs in six innings to fall to 4-9 in 18 starts with a 4.30 ERA.
Billingsley is only 1-4 in nine home starts this season and defeated San Diego in his 2012 debut back on April 6. The right-hander fired 8 1/3 shutout innings and struck out 11 batters in a 6-0 win at Petco Park, improving to 12-8 in 26 career games, 22 of which have been starts, against the Padres.
San Diego ended a four-game slide and won for the seventh time in 11 tries with Saturday's one-run triumph. Besides Cabrera and Venable pulling the wool over LA's eyes, Chase Headley and Carlos Quentin both homered and combined for five RBI.
Alex Hinshaw got the final two outs in the eighth for the win and Huston Street nailed down his 14th save in the ninth. Edinson Volquez avoided a decision and was tagged for four runs and eight hits in five innings.
The Padres will return to Petco Park for a seven-game homestand versus Houston and Colorado after today's bout with Los Angeles.
Jason Marquis's stint with San Diego hasn't gone so well as evidenced by his 1-5 record and 3.71 ERA in seven starts. Marquis, who gets the nod Sunday for the Padres, is 0-4 with a 4.60 earned run average in his last five starts and recently toed the rubber in a 4-2 setback versus Cincinnati on July 8. He allowed three runs in five innings.
Marquis has made 14 career appearances (13 starts) against the Dodgers and is 5-4 with a 2.55 ERA.
The Dodgers still own an 8-3 mark over the Padres so far this season, including a three-game sweep at home from April 13-15. They have taken 18 of the past 23 encounters overall and had won 10 in a row at home.
Since the beginning of last season, Los Angeles is 11-3 against San Diego at Dodger Stadium.