Baseball / Sports

Offense shrivels, lead shrinks for Dodgers

SAN DIEGO -- The Los Angeles Dodgers have spent the last five weeks in first place in the National League West, yet their lead remains uncomfortably small.

In the wake of a 10-inning, 2-1 loss to the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on Saturday night, the Dodgers' edge over the second-place San Francisco Giants was reduced to 21/2 games.

The Giants won their fifth consecutive game, 3-1 over the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Dodgers have 26 regular-season games left, the Giants 27. Six games will be against each other.

With no guarantee of a division title, the Dodgers remain in search of reinforcements.

Some of them will be players returning from injuries, such as Hyun-Jin Ryu, who is scheduled to be activated from the disabled list Sunday to start to the series finale against the Padres.

Others will come from the minor leagues starting Monday, when major league rosters can expand by as many as 15 players.

Help could also come from the outside, if the Dodgers can claim a player on waivers or trade for a player who has cleared waivers. For a player to eligible for postseason play, he would have to be in the organization by Sunday.

The Dodgers have already received some uplifting news. Hanley Ramirez returned to the lineup Saturday, a day after tightness in his left leg forced him to make an early departure from Friday's series-opening defeat.

Ramirez initially wasn't listed as a starter by Manager Don Mattingly, who figured the shortstop was unlikely to be sufficiently recovered. But Ramirez worked out on the warning track at Petco Park under the supervision of team trainers and Mattingly.

"He obviously looked really good," Mattingly said. "Everything was easy."

That being the case, Mattingly rewrote his lineup and slotted Ramirez into the No. 2 spot. Yasiel Puig, who started the day in an 0-for-19 slump, was dropped to fifth in the order.

"I want to get Hanley the extra at-bat," Mattingly said.

Before Ramirez was removed from Friday's game, he was three for four with a home run and a double.

"I thought he looked good," Mattingly said. "I think it's the first time we've seen him with better timing since he's been back. To me, it looks like he's swinging better."

Others could also be returning, starting with Ryu, who has been sidelined by a strained buttock muscle.

Juan Uribe also could be activated Sunday. The third baseman went on the disabled list Aug. 16 because of a strained right hamstring.

If Uribe doesn't return Sunday, he'll be back Monday, when rosters expand. Delaying Uribe's comeback would spare the Dodgers from having to send Darwin Barney or Miguel Rojas to the minor leagues. A player who is demoted wouldn't be eligible to return to the majors until the minor league season is over.

Whenever Uribe is activated, Mattingly said he will be the team's everyday third baseman.

Justin Turner, who before Saturday was batting .375 since the All-Star break, will return to a utility role. Mattingly said he wants to prevent Turner from wearing down.

Reliever Chris Perez, who has been battling bone spurs in his ankle, is expected back Monday. Left-hander Paco Rodriguez, who is dealing with a strained back muscle, is aiming to return some time in September.

The Dodgers will round out their roster with a handful of minor league players, among them triple-A outfielder Joc Pederson, who was the most valuable player of the Pacific Coast League.

Others who could be promoted include infielders Alex Guerrero, Erisbel Arruebarrena and Carlos Triunfel, catcher Tim Federowicz and reliever Yimi Garcia.

Padres 2, Dodgers 1 (10 innings)

KEY MOMENT: Jamey Wright gave up a leadoff single in the 10th inning to Will Venable, who stole second base. Venable scored the winning run on a single to center field by Alexi Amarista.

ON THE MOUND: Zack Greinke limited the Padres to a run and four hits over eight innings. He struck out eight and walked two. Greinke has pitched seven or more innings in five of his last seven starts. With the game tied, 1-1, J.P. Howell uncharacteristically allowed the first two batters he faced to reach base, as he gave up a hit to Abraham Almonte and walked Seth Smith. Howell forced Yasmani Grandal to line into a double play. Brian Wilson recorded the final out of the inning to send the game into extra innings.

AT THE PLATE: Adrian Gonzalez tied the game, 1-1, in the sixth inning with his team-leading 19th home run. The home run was Gonzalez's 61st at Petco Park, the most of any player in history. No other player has hit more than 38. The Dodgers had only one hit in the first five innings, a fifth-inning single by Carl Crawford. The left fielder stole second base and reached third on a fly ball to center field by Justin Turner. But Drew Butera struck out with Crawford on third base, setting up an inning-ending fly out by Greinke. Padres starter Ian Kennedy held the Dodgers to a run and four hits over seven innings.

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