Six in the Seventh Sinks Dodgers

The Dodgers and Padres were locked in a tight battle, with each club missing opportunities to put the game away early. Los Angeles finally took the lead on an old-fashioned suicide squeeze in the seventh but San Diego tagged James McDonald for six in the bottom of the inning to effectively sew up the win.

Hiroki Kuroda, making his third start of the season, took an 1.80 earned run average into the game against the Padres but he struggled, allowing a pair of two-out runs in the first and getting tagged for a monstrous home run in the third.

It was obvious that the veteran didn't have his "A" game this night, allowing nine baserunners in his four innings.

Rafael Furcal, hitting under .200 coming into the game, had a pair of RBI singles and Matt Kemp singled twice and knocked in a run.

Tied 3-3 in the top of the fourth Doug Mientkiewicz dropped a text-book bunt in front of the plate to scored Jason Repko with the tye-breaking run just before McDonald imploded.

L.A left the bases loaded in the first off starter Chris Young. They scored twice to tie the game in the second despite losing two baserunners.

In the good news department, Hong-Chih Kuo was smooth as silk in retiring all three Padres he faced and young (he won't be 21 until April 3) Chris Withrow forced his foot in the Dodgers' pitching door when he retired San Diego 1-2-3 in the eighth, striking out two.

Lost Opportunities
Matt Kemp opened the Dodgers first with a one-out single and moved to third on Andre Ethier's single to right field. Manny Ramirez was booed by the Padre crowd when his name was announced, booed when he fouled off a couple balls and booed even louder when he walked to load the bases.

Then Ronnie Belliard, making his first start at first base in place of James Loney, struck out on two straight changeups by San Diego starter Chris Young to leave the bases jammed.

Kuroda issued a one-out walk to David Eckstein and with two out, Kyle Blanks singled him over for the first run of the game. Chase Headley followed with a triple to right-center field wall to make it 2-0.

Kuroda was tagged for two more sharp singles in the bottom of the second and the final out was a line-drive directly back at him that he slowed down enough to allowed Furcal to turn it into a force play at second.

Carroll rammed a double into right and A.J. Ellis walked to lead off the second but when Kuroda bunted, Ellis was thrown out going into second base standing up.

Furcal singled on the ground into right to put Los Angeles on the scoreboard and Kemp singled, scoring Kuroda to tie the game. The Dodgers lost a second runner on the bases when Furcal, who hesitated rounding second, was thrown out at third.

After Eckstein beat out a perfect bunt in the third, Adrian Gonzales bounced to Belliard at first but he fumbled the double play chance. Jamey Carroll saved him by backing up the play and throwing to Kuroda for the out.

The Dodgers took the lead in the fourth. Ellis dropped a soft single into right with one out and Kuroda bunted him to second. With two out, Furcal's ground ball skimmed just under Eckstein's glove at second base and Ellis scored to make it 3-2. Furcal took second when Will Venable fumbled the ball and Kemp walked. Reed Johnson hit for Ethier with a chance to add to the lead but struck out.

On a 2-1 pitch to open the bottom of the fourth, Venable crushed a Kuroda fastball that bounced on the top the huge black backstop in center field.

The screen is 410 feet at each corner and the ball disappeared into the chilly night, apparently on it's way to Flagstaff. The crowd roared: Padre fans in joyous approval and Dodgers fans in complete disbelief. A San Diego official estimated the distance on the blast at 435-feet but it seemed even longer.

Everth Cabrera singled and Kuroda threw to first base four times before picking him off to end the inning.

Ramirez rolled a single into right field to open the fifth and rookie Preston Mattingly ran for him. Catcher Yorvit Torealba wasted no time in picking him off first on the initial pitch to Casey Blake.

After missing a chance to pitch in Taiwan because of a sore arm, his home country, Hong-Chih Kuo worked a 1-2-3 fifth. James McDonald followed him in the sixth and pitched around a single and a walk, allowing no runs.

Jason Repko took over for Kemp and walked to lead off the seventh. He stole second as Johnson struck out, then went to third when the catcher threw the ball into center field.

Doug Mientkiewicz, hitting for Mattingly who ran for Ramirez, dumped a perfect bunt in front of home plate to squeeze in Repko and put the Dodgers back in front 4-3.

It was the Dodgers fans turn to roar but that was the last time they had that opportunity.

McDonald, working his second inning, gave up a triple off the center field wall to Chris Denorfia and with the infield in, Tony Gwynn, Jr., singled just past a diving Mientkiewicz, tieing the game. Then Oscar Salazar doubled into the left field corner to put runners at second and third with none out.

Matt Antonelli singled to score Gwynn with the lead run and the Dodgers bullpen started to scurry around. A walk loaded the bases and McDonald, who only minutes before was in line for the win, now seemed in line to take the loss.

With the infield in again, a bouncer skipped off Nick Green's glove and he had to settle for the out at first as the third Padre run of the inning crossed the plate. Dusty Ryan then added to McDonald's pain with a home run into the Dodgers bullpen and he was replaced by 39-year-old Hyang-Nam Choi.

Choi had an exceptionally successful season at Albuquerque in 2009, going 9-2 with a 2.34 ERA over 55 games and this was his first appearance in the spring. He retired the next two Padres on ground balls.

In the top of the eighth, Timo Perez singled and Nick Green was awarded first base on catchers interference. With two out, Hu grounded a ball up the middle for an infield hit but Jason Repko's spring woes were compounded as he took a third strike and slid to 0-for-13.

Chris Withrow took over on the mound. Withrow, the Dodgers first round selection in 2007, worked 113.2 innings for Inland Empire and Chattangooga and struck out 131 batters last season.

He will turn 21 on April 1 and is was 18 years younger than his predecessor, Hyang-Nam Choi. The young man, making his second appearance of the spring, worked a 1-2-3 eighth with a pair of strikeouts, giving him five "Ks" in his two innings with the big club.

L.A. went quitely in the ninth.

L.A. Third in Home Attendance
The Cactus League 13,000+ crowd at Camelback against the Cubs pulled the Dodgers into third place in the National League with an 8,001 average home gate. They trail only Chicago (10,979) and Giants (9,478). L.A. is only 75 paid customers behind the first place Cubs as a draw on the road (8,279-8,204).

Happy Birthday Clayton Kershaw, who will turn 22 today (Saturday). The young lefty was the fourth-youngest starter in Los Angeles Dodgers history at the age of 20 years and 67 days when he made his Major League debut on May 25, 2008.

The Dodgers started a stretch of six games in four days including this, their first night game of the season against the Padres at Peoria. San Diego will return to Camelback Ranch tomorrow night (Saturday) to play the nightcap of a split squad contest after the Dodgers traveled to play Texas in the afternoon.

Probable Pitchers (split squad) vs Rangers (1:05) Ramon Ortiz, Josh Towers, Luis Ayala and Justin Miller. Vs. Padres (7:05) Vicente Padilla, Josh Lindblom, George Sherrill and Jonathan Broxton.

 Score by innings
Los Angeles	020 100 100-4
San Diego	200 100 60x-9

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	3  0  2  2  .241
 Hu ss	        2  0  1  0  .333
Kemp cf	        2  0  1  1  .300
 Repko cf	1  1  0  0  .000
 Withrow p	0  0  0  0  .000
Ethier rf	2  0  1  0  .000
 Johnson cf	3  0  0  0  .323
Ramirez lf	2  0  1  0  .259
 Mattingly pr	0  0  0  0  .333
 Mientkiewicz 1b 1  1  0  1  .316
Blake 3b	3  0  0  0  .400
 Berroa 3b	2  0  0  0  .429
Belliard 1b	3  0  0  0  .154
 Kuo p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 McDonald p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Choi p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Perez ph-lf	1  0  1  0  .250   
Carroll 2b	3  0  2  0  .333
 Green pr-2b	0  0  0  0  .200
Ellis c	        1  1  1  0  .300
 May c	        1  0  0  0  .250
Kuroda p	1  1  0  0  .000
 Paul cf	2  0  0  0  .231
 Totals	        33 4 11 4
 Padres	        35 9 13 9

 Two-base hits- Carroll (1). RBI- Furcal 2
(2), Kemp (6), Mientkiewicz (3). S- Kuroda,
Ellis, Mientkiewicz. LOB- Los Angeles 10, 
San Diego 5. RIPS- Los Angeles 4-for-14,
San Diego 4-for-9. SB- Repko (2). 
CS- Mattingly (1). 

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Kuroda	        4.0  7  3-3  1  3  4.00
Kuo	        1.0  0  0-0  0  0  0.00
McDonald (1-1)	1.1  6  6-6  2  1 20.25
Choi	        0.2  0  0-0  0  0  0.00
Withrow	        1.0  0  0-0  0  2  0.00
 T- 3:06. Att- 10,497.

Dodger Blue Notes-- The Dodgers optioned pitching prospect Javy Guerra to the minor leagues, leaving them with 45 players in camp not counting Belisario who seems to be caught in a Saragasso Sea between Venezuela and the United States.

LA Dodgers Insider Top Stories