Ralph, We Should Have Gone to the Movies

Rafael Furcal opened the game with a home run and Mark Hendrickson pitched four strong innings but that was about the only positive thing that happened Saturday night in Dodger Stadium. Chad Billingsley thought he was ready to pitch after an injured oblique muscle caused him to miss three starts. He wasn't.

But neither was Eric Stults and Tim Hamulak who followed him and the Dodgers trailed 11-1 after three and the game was pretty much played out at that point.

Philosophic as the 'Ol Professor, Casey Stengel, manager Grady Little summed thing up this way. "For a moment, it looked like a driving range out there. You gotta' laugh to keep from crying. But nobody got hurt and we'll be out there again tomorrow."

Clear thinking Dodger fans prepared to leave early as did most of the 1 1/2 game lead they enjoyed after Greg Maddux won the first game of the series.

Derek Lowe (14-8, 3.77) will be on the mound against Padres right-hander Chris Young (10-5, 3.77) this afternoon and the winner will be in first place in the National League West when the sun sets over the Pacific.

Billingsley, who hadn't pitched since Aug. 27, needed 40 pitches to get out of the first inning, if you could call it that, allowing three hits, three walks and three runs.

Thirty-nine year old Woody Williams (9-5) held the Dodgers to one run and five hits in six innings, with two walks and four strikeouts. He improved to 5-1 with a no-decision in his last seven starts.

Couple that with the fact that Eric Stults gave up four runs, including Mike Cameron's 20th homer and Hamulack gave up Todd Walker's eighth homer and Adrian Gonzalez's 22nd.

Sixteen of the first 23 Padres batters reached base, including Brian Giles three times. He drew his 1,000th career walk in the first, then doubled in the second and third innings.

With the 25th anniversary celebration of the 1981 World Championships, a number of fans were calling for Fernando Valenzuela in the middle of the third inning.

It was the Padres' 12th win in 16 games against Los Angeles this season and their sixth in seven games at Dodger Stadium.

The only bright spot out of the bullpen was Mark Hendrickson who held the Padres to one hit over four scoreless innings and matched his career high with eight strikeouts.

For those of a statistic bent, Furcal's homer, his 13th, was his fifth this season leading off a game and the 17th time he's done it in his career. He became the fourth player in franchise history to open a game with a home run as many as five times in a season, joining Carl Furillo (1951), Davey Lopes (1979, 1980), and Todd Hollandsworth (2000).

You don't often win a pennant when your hottest hitter is the leadoff man as a whopping crowd of 55,781 at Dodger Stadium realized quickly.

Billingsley struck out Dave Roberts in the bottom of the first but four of the next five Padres reached base on two walks, two singles and a double. The result was a 3-0 Padres lead.

Left-hander Eric Stults, who got throttled the Mets in his first major league start not long ago, worked a scoreless second inning before the roof fell in on him.

Stults gave up a two-run home run, a long double and an RBI single and left in favor of Tim Hamulack with two outs.

Hamulack followed Stults lead and quickly gave up an RBI and two-run home runs before ending the inning by striking out Cameron.

But by then it was all over but the final bookkeeping and the Padres rode their 11-1 lead to an easy win.

The best pitcher for the Dodgers on Saturday turned out to be Mark Hendrickson, who restored some semblance of order over his four innings between the fourth and seventh innings.

Hendrickson, who was acquired from Tampa Bay, has been pounded consistently and lost his starting spot. But he struck out the first three batters he faced, and finished with eight strikeouts and went on to put four scoreless innings in the book.

Elmer Dessens and Giovanni Carrara added scoreless innings to close out the game and Matt Kemp scored a meaningless run in the eighth inning.
  Score by innings
San Diego   308 000 000-11
Los Angeles 100 000 010- 2

  Dodgers      ab r h bi ave
Furcal, SS      2 1 1 1 .297
 Martinez, SS   2 0 0 0 .281
Lofton, CF      2 0 0 0 .300
 Kemp, CF       2 1 1 0 .262
Lugo, 2B        3 0 0 0 .286
 Robles, 2B     1 0 0 0 .172
Kent, 1B        2 0 2 0 .282
 Repko, RF-LF   2 0 0 0 .248
Drew, RF        0 0 0 0 .276
 Hendrickson, P 1 0 0 0 .000
 Young, RF      1 0 0 0 .000
Betemit, 3B     4 0 1 0 .269
Ethier, LF      3 0 1 0 .319
 Dessens, P     0 0 0 0 .000
 Carrara, P     0 0 0 0 .000
 Diaz, PH       1 0 1 0 .667
Martin, C       2 0 0 0 .287
 Hall, C        2 0 0 0 .253
Billingsley, P  0 0 0 0 .091
 Stults, P      1 0 1 0 .667
 Hamulack, P    0 0 0 0 .000
 Loney, 1B      3 0 0 0 .267
    Totals     34  2  8  1
    Padres     38 11 13 11 

  2B- Kemp (7). HR- Furcal (13). RBI- 
Furcal (59). LOB- Los Angeles 7, San 
Diego 5. DP- 2 (Stults, Martin and Kent, 
Robles, Martinez and Loney).

  Dodgers         in h r-er bb so era
Billingsley (5-4) 1.0 3 3-3 2 1 3.32
Stults            1.2 5 4-4 2 0 6.75
Hamulack          0.1 3 4-4 1 1 6.35
Hendrickson       4.0 1 0-0 0 8 4.28
Dessens           1.0 1 0-0 0 0 4.22
Carrara           1.0 0 0-0 0 1 4.85
  T- 2:48. Att- 55,781.
Ominous Blue Notes-- The Dodgers have faced five teams that currently would qualify for the playoffs- the Padres, Cardinals, Mets, Twins and Athletics. They have a losing record against each and are 7-29 against them overall. In the 36 games, L.A. has averaged 2.94 runs and batted .218. The Padres are 6-1 at Dodger Stadium, outscoring L.A. 50-22. Overall against San Diego, the Dodgers have batted .205 and averaged 3.14 runs. Padres pitchers have stifled two of the lineup's first three hitters- Kenny Lofton (.160 in 50 at-bats) and Drew (.114 in 44 at-bats). The Padres have held the Dodgers to a .271 on-base percentage, some 70 points under L.A.'s league-best mark.