Dodgers survive another blow, beat Padres 5-4 in 12 innings

Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Baseball

LOS ANGELES -- The afternoon could not have been more carefree.

Dave Roberts and Yasiel Puig wore T-shirts with the inscription "World Series attitude." Tyler Toffoli, one of four L.A. Kings players in attendance, stepped into the batter's box to see exactly how fast a Ross Stripling fastball was. Manny Machado spotted a kid wearing a Machado jersey, played catch with him, then autographed the ball and sent him home with it.

Roberts' 13-year-old daughter, Emme, sang the national anthem Saturday, so brilliantly that the Dodgers would do well to book her every night, in place of the usual previously televised suspects. Roberts bounded over to give her a hug, but he had to wait because Bailey was giving her one.

Bailey is the Kings' mascot, an enormous lion.

Then the game started, and the suspense returned, just as soon as the bullpen gate swung open.

And, for the third consecutive game, All-Star closer Kenley Jansen failed to deliver a scoreless inning.

The Dodgers won anyway, in the 12th inning. Matt Kemp drew a four-pitch walk from Padres rookie Robert Stock. Enrique Hernandez sacrificed Kemp to second and -- after the second power outage this season -- Justin Turner blooped a double that scored Kemp for a 5-4 victory over the San Diego Padres.

The Arizona Diamondbacks lost, so the Dodgers moved within 2 1/2 games of first place.

After Clayton Kershaw had held the Padres at bay for eight innings, Jansen inherited a 4-3 lead. He needed three outs to preserve the victory. He got one before he blew the lead, surrendering a tying home run to Austin Hedges. When Jansen returned to the dugout, he let out his frustration by overturning a container of gum.

For the first time in his career, the All-Star closer has given up a home run in three consecutive appearances.

In three appearances since returning from the disabled list Monday, he has two losses and a blown save. In a total of three innings, he has given up seven hits, including four home runs. In 2016, Jansen gave up four home runs in 68 2/3 innings.

Kershaw took a 4-2 lead into the eighth inning. The Padres scored one run, made possible by a throwing error by Machado. They might have scored the tying run, had not a scorching line drive by Hunter Renfroe not slammed into Wil Myers as he departed second base.

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The Dodgers, who got a three-run homer from Machado in the first inning, might have scored some insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth, ones that would have enabled Jansen to escape with the save, had they not failed to score when they had runners on second and third and none out. When even an out could have produced a run, Yasmani Grandal and Chris Taylor struck out.

The National League Cy Young debate rages, with Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom and Aaron Nola the leading contenders. Still, Roberts scoffed at the notion that Kershaw's performance might be a bit under the radar this year.

"It's hard to imagine Clayton going under the radar," Roberts said.

Kershaw, the Dodgers' three-time Cy Young winner, has been effectively removed from the discussion because of his two stints on the disabled list, not his performance.

"You look at his performance, it's been pretty remarkable since he came back," Roberts said. "It's not lost on us."

On Saturday, Kershaw pitched eight innings, his third consecutive start of at least seven innings, in these days the mark of a throwback pitcher. He struck out nine, walked none and made 107 pitches.

In 12 starts since most recently coming off the disabled list, he is 5-1 with a 2.15 ERA, with nine walks and 71 strikeouts.

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