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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — As Baseball celebrated Jackie Robinson Day in ballparks across the nation, the Dodgers found little else to celebrate, dropping the first of a three-game series to the Padres 6-3 before a sellout crowd.
The crowd on-hand was treated to appearances before the game by Robinson’s daughter, Sharon, and wife, Rachel. Harrison Ford, who played baseball pioneer and Brooklyn Dodger general manager and president Branch Rickey in the film 42, threw out the ceremonial opening pitch.
The Dodgers had an opportunity to blow the game open early after loading the bases in the bottom of the first inning, but Andre Ethier struck out looking to end the inning.
Chad Billingsley got his second start of the season, coming off a win in San Diego on April 10. Billingsley surrendered a three-run home run in the second to San Diego’s pitcher, Eric Stults, the first homer of his career.
The Dodgers would fight back over the next three innings, eventually tying the game at three runs each in the fifth inning.
That was when the Dodger bullpen, who was so dominant in the opening week, stumbled again.
Ronald Belisario came into the game in relief of Billingsley in the seventh inning, promptly giving up two walks and a single. Paco Rodriguez inherited a bases loaded situation with no outs. Rodriguez walked Chris Denorfia to score a run, and then forced a double play that scored Yonder Alonso.
The Dodgers had another opportunity in the eighth inning, after A.J. Ellis reached on an infield single, and Ethier walked, representing the tying run. Luis Cruz moved both runners into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt, but Skip Schumaker, who came in to pinch hit for Justin Sellers, grounded into a double play after Ellis hesitated his advance from third base.
The first three batters in the lineup – Carl Crawford, Mark Ellis, and Matt Kemp – had seven hits together, but the rest of the lineup added just four runs collectively, despite the fact that the Dodgers got their lead-off man on base seven out of nine innings.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly went through a total of six different Dodger pitchers on the night.
From the plate, the Dodgers left eight runners on base, batting 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position. The team has had difficulty so far this season scoring runs, ranking second-to-last in the league in runs scored at 2.83 – second only to the Miami Marlins, at 1.77.
Carl Crawford went 3-for-5, posting his 8th multi-hit game in just 11 outings this season.
“We’re getting plenty of hits, plenty of guys out on bases, just haven’t been effective once their out there,” Mattingly said after the game. “If we continue to put runners out there the way we have, I really feel like we’re going to start scoring a lot of runs.”