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Sunday, September 22, 2013
Relievers dominate in win over Padres

By Mark Saxon


SAN DIEGO -- The Los Angeles Dodgers' bullpen looked more than ready for the postseason in a 1-0 win over the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on Sunday, keeping alive the team's hopes of opening the playoffs at Dodger Stadium.

Closer Kenley Jansen struck out the side in the ninth, the fourth scoreless inning of relief by Dodgers relievers.

The Dodgers are barely in the hunt for the best record in the National League any more, but there are lesser prizes worth pursuing. The Atlanta Braves won, giving them a 2½-game lead over the Dodgers, who have only six games remaining.

The Dodgers could still begin the playoffs at home if they can finish with a better record than any of the teams in the National League Central. Entering their night game, the St. Louis Cardinals had a 1½-game lead over the Dodgers in that race.

Between Zack Greinke and Andrew Cashner, two of the hottest pitchers in baseball, the teams showed barely a hint they were going to score as the afternoon wore on. Finally, the Dodgers broke the ice in the seventh inning.

With two outs, Michael Young cracked a deep fly ball to right field. It sailed over Will Venable's head, but Adrian Gonzalez wouldn't have been able to lumber all the way around from first if Venable hadn't mishandled the ball.

San Diego put together a rally in the next half of the inning off reliever Chris Withrow but couldn't score. Logan Forsythe took a 95-mph fastball for strike three and pinch hitter Mark Kotsay taped one back to Withrow to end the inning.

The Dodgers pulled Greinke after just five innings and 72 pitches despite the fact he was cruising through San Diego's far-from-intimidating lineup. The Padres got two runners on with nobody out in the third inning, but after Cashner's bunt moved them over, Greinke coaxed an infield pop-up from Alexi Amarista and a groundout from Ronny Cedeno.

Greinke gave up only two hits and struck out three in his five innings. It's likely he was pulled early because of the upcoming playoffs, but the Dodgers allowed ace Clayton Kershaw to throw 99 pitches over seven innings Saturday night.