Gonzo’s homer helps Padres beat Mad Dog, Dodgers
Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer off Maddux in the first inning and the Padres beat the Dodgers 4-0 on Monday night, snapping Los Angeles’ eight-game winning streak.
The Dodgers retained their 1 1/2 -game lead atop the NL West because Arizona lost 6-2 at San Francisco. Los Angeles leapfrogged Arizona into the division lead with a three-game weekend sweep at Dodger Stadium. San Diego (56-88) staved off mathematical elimination.
“Gonzo got me. Baek threw a good game. You hate to tip your cap this late in the game but you have to tonight,” Maddux said. “I put us down early by giving up two runs. That helps the other pitcher settle down.”
The Dodgers play 12 of their final 18 games on the road. All 18 are against teams with losing records.
“We don’t seem to be bothered by the road,” manager Joe Torre said. “But if we are going to win this thing we are going to have to do so on the road.”
Each starter had a different result than last week during a series at Dodger Stadium. Maddux beat the Padres and Baek was roughed up by the Dodgers.
Mad Dog must have felt like he never left San Diego. While with the Padres, he went 14 starts without a win, from May 15-July 23, the longest streak of his career. That span included plenty of nights with little run support. Overall, Maddux is 3-5 in 15 starts at Petco Park this year.
Brian Giles doubled on Maddux’s first pitch of the night and came in on Gonzalez’s two-out, opposite-field homer to left. It was Gonzalez’s 29th homer, but his first since Aug. 9, a span of 96 at-bats.
Gonzalez said it didn’t matter that it was Maddux who surrendered the homer, just that he connected.
“I’ve always been a streaky hitter,” he said. “For the most part, when my home runs come, they come in bunches. So hopefully I’ll be able to get in a good little streak here in the last two weeks of the season. It’s been tough for me lately because teams haven’t really been pitching to me. Teams we’ve been playing are in the pennant race and I’ve just been chasing pitches out of the zone that I shouldn’t be swinging at.”
Maddux (7-12) beat the Padres 5-2 last week in L.A. for his 354th career win, tying him with Roger Clemens for eighth place on the all-time list. Maddux was traded from the San Diego to Los Angeles on Aug. 19 after Brad Penny went on the disabled list with a shoulder injury.
Maddux allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings. He had words with home plate umpire Angel Hernandez after falling behind Will Venable 3-0 in the sixth.
The 42-year-old Maddux started his 30th game for the 13th straight season. His 305 starts are the most since the start of the 2000 season.
While Maddux dropped to 1-3 with the Dodgers, Baek (5-9) got enough run support to win at home for the first time this season. Acquired from Seattle in late May, Baek had been 0-7 with a 5.94 ERA at Petco Park. He allowed three hits in seven innings.
“Finally,” Baek said. He added that the loss in Los Angeles last week “gave me a lot of homework.”
Ethier said the Dodgers “just didn’t put a lot of pressure on him and make him work like we did up there. We just need to put this one to rest and go out and win tomorrow.”
Kevin Kouzmanoff provided the rest of San Diego’s offense, hitting a sacrifice fly in the third and an RBI single in the fifth.
Padres rookie Chase Headley struck out four times. … Torre said he got a call Monday from Yankees general manager Brian Cashman “wishing me good luck. We talk from time to time,” said Torre, who resigned as manager of the Yankees in October. The Yankees opened a series at Anaheim on Monday night. … Manny Ramirez, making his first visit to Petco Park since being traded from Boston to L.A., was booed every time he came to bat. He was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, stranding three runners. … Dodgers RHP Jason Schmidt is scheduled for yet another surgery, this one an arthroscopic procedure on Wednesday on his right shoulder to clean up some scar tissue. He’s expected to resume throwing within six weeks. … Dodgers 2B Jeff Kent developed a sore calf after having arthroscopic surgery on his left knee last week and the team decided it would be best if he stayed home to rehab rather than travel with the team, trainer Stan Conte said. Kent might be able to return to action this month. … Penny threw 40 pitches in the bullpen and 30 more in a simulated game on Monday. He could be activated Friday, and would pitch out of the bullpen, Torre said.