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Sunday, March 30, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Padres 3, Dodgers 1

By Mark Saxon


SAN DIEGO -- The Dodgers were well on their way to being 3-0 before 27 other teams had even suited up, but everything fell apart in the eighth inning.

After being held down for seven innings by Hyun-Jin Ryu, the San Diego Padres erupted for three runs off an uncharacteristically shaky Brian Wilson to win their home opener 3-1 Sunday night.

The Dodgers' bullpen was flawless on opening night in Australia, but the past two games have been rough. They nearly blew a 7-0 lead in the second game with a seemingly endless series of walks against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Wilson had a rough inning Sunday. The trouble was fanned by a couple of errors, one by Wilson, a former World Series closer working as the Dodgers' setup man.

How it happened: Pinch hitter Seth Smith led off the eighth with a deep home run to right field to tie the game. Wilson walked the next hitter, Yasmani Grandal, and then things really fell apart. Everth Cabrera bunted and Wilson bobbled it for an error. After a couple of Cabrera stolen bases, Chris Denorfia dribbled a two-run single up the middle.

Hits: Ryu wobbled through the first two innings but otherwise pitched masterfully, holding the Padres scoreless through seven innings. Ryu’s dominance was a reassuring sight for Dodgers fans after the team put Clayton Kershaw on the disabled list earlier in the day. Ryu has a 0.00 ERA after his first 12 innings of the season.

Misses: As Hanley Ramirez goes, the Dodgers tend to go. Or, at least that’s how things were in 2013. He was the most dangerous hitter in the National League when he was healthy, and his return from the disabled list launched the Dodgers’ turnaround. He hasn’t gotten on a roll in these early games. Ramirez smacked a hard line drive to right field, but went 0-for-4, and he’s 1-for-11 on the young season.

Stat of the game: Ryu retired 16 batters in a row starting in the second inning and ending in the seventh, when he walked Tommy Medica, opening the door for even a modest Dodger rally to win it.

Up next: After an off day, the teams resume the series Tuesday at 3:40 p.m. here at Petco Park. Zack Greinke pitches for the Dodgers, and Ian Kennedy goes for San Diego. Those were the two starting pitchers for the wild brawl between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks last June. Kennedy hit Greinke with a pitch in that game. Arizona traded Kennedy for reliever Joe Thatcher and a minor leaguer over the winter.