Padres End Dodgers Nine-Game Streak

San Diego cut the Dodgers nine-game winning streak off and sailed to a 10-5 victory behind John Garland, a Dodger reject who is now 5-2. It was the Padres bullpen who came through this time, stopping a Los Angeles lineup limited by a broken little finger (Andre Ethier) and a sore little toe (Manny Ramirez). Ramon Ortiz was banged around for a second consecutive start and took the loss.

The Dodgers, already without major league batting leader Andre Ethier for an undetermined time because of a broken bone in his right hand, was also without Manny Ramirez who injured his toe just before the game. In addition, shortstop Rafael Furcal seems to be improving but is still not ready for prime time.

Ethier is out with a broken little finger; Ramirez missed the game after he hit his little toe on a table in the trainer's room while warming up. The injury is not serious and he was able to pinch-hit in the fifth.

Xavier Paul, Reed Johnson and Jamey Carroll filled in form them and went a combined 5-for-11 with two RBI, so the problem was actually more the pitching staff than the sick list.

Ramon Ortiz coughed up a 3-1 lead in the third inning and was back on the bench after retiring one Padre in the fourth. He finished his abbreviated start by allowing eight hits and five runs, his ERA swelling to 6.30. Los Angeles had not allowed more than three runs in any game during its longest winning streak since 2006.

The San Diego first baseman did much of the damage, knocking in six runs during the evening. He singled in a two runs in the third off Ortiz, homered with two on off Ramon Troncoso in the seventh and then singled home a run off George Sherrill in the ninth.

Despite Gonzalez, the Dodgers had an even dozen hits but were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left nine overall on base. San Diego helped themselves with four stolen bases.

Casey Blake, now with his normal beard, rapped out three hits including a solo home run in the fifth inning. Paul singled and doubled, driving in a pair of runs and Reed Johnson added two singles. Russell Martin went 1-for-3 to extend his career-high hitting streak to 14 games.

John Garland allowed nine hits and four runs and ran his record to 5-0, 1.67 over his last six starts. The Dodgers obtained from Arizona for infielder Tony Abreu late in the 2009 season. He started six games down the stretch and was 3-2 with a 2.72 earned run average but the Dodgers did not put him on the post season roster and refused to offer arbitration after the season. He signed with San Diego for $6.2 million

Ortiz surrendered a triple to the Padres leadoff man and he scored on a round ball. Martin doubled and scored on Matt Kemp's single in the bottom of the first to tie the game.

The Dodgers brief lead came after Blake DeWitt doubled to lead off the second and Martin walked. DeWitt scored on a wild pitch and Paul doubled into right-center to drive in Martin for a 3-1 margin.

In the fourth, Ortiz gave up double, a sacrifice bunt and a single and was removed in favor of Troncoso. He allowed a single, then a three-run homer to Gonzalez and a solo shot to Chris Headley and suddenly, the Padres were up 8-4.

Singles by Carroll and Jeff Weaver and a walk to Martin loaded the bases in the fourth but the Dodgers came out of that with just one run, driven in by Paul with a ground ball. Kemp and James Loney left the other two on base. Blake's homer in the seventh cut the Padres margin to 8-5 but two runs off Sherrill in the ninth clinched the deal.

The Dodgers, who had a chance to take over first place with a win, slipped to 22-18 and two games behind. San Francisco (22-17) is in second place, 1 1/2 back of the Padres who are 24-16.

Over their nine-game winning streak, the Dodgers went from 13-17 and six games behind to 22-17 and just 1/2 out of first place. Even with the loss they are 12-4 against the National League West.

Amezaga Healthy
Veteran infielder Alfredo Amezaga may be added to the Dodgers' roster within the next few weeks. Amezaga, who signed to a minor league contract on Feb. 2 while recovering from microfracture surgery on his left knee, played in his first game in 366 days on Monday night when he went 2 for 2 with a walk in three plate appearances for Double-A Chattanooga.

Amezaga was held out of the lineup on Tuesday and Wednesday night at Mobile because of inclement weather.

Amezaga, 32, spent the past four seasons with the Florida Marlins, but he missed most of last year with the knee problem.

The versatile Amezaga has played every position in his career except pitcher and catcher. He will receive a prorated share of a $650,000 base salary for any time he spends on the active, major league roster, and his contract also contains several incentives based on plate appearances and games played.

Tonight, Padres ace RHP Kevin Correia (4-3, 4.35) will oppose LHP Clayton Kershaw (3-2, 3.55) in the final game of the series.
Then it is interleague time and Detroit's LHP Dontrelle Willis (1-1, 4.68) will face RHP Chad Billingsley (4-2, 4.03).
Saturday, RHP Armando Galarraga (1-0, 1.59) and RHP John Ely (2-1, 3.51) will square off and Sunday it will be RHP Rick Porcello (3-4, 5.93) vs. RHP Hiroki Kuroda (5-1, 2.87). The Dodgers will have Monday off.    

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