Three months into the 2014 season and the Dodgers are still looking for their first four-game winning streak. Really, really looking.
They had a perfect opportunity in their fifth attempt at it Friday night in San Diego, but closer Kenley Jansen surrendered three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Padres pulled out a 6-5 victory at Petco Park.
They blew a sweet chance to pull within three games of the they-used-to-be Giants, who had lost earlier in the night. The Giants continue to try to help the Dodgers' cause, having lost six in a row and nine of their last 10.
There was another note of concern. Outfielder Yasiel Puig left the game with a sore hip. He’s been bothered by a hip flexor issue for the last few weeks.
The Dodgers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but acted like they would never have to look back. Dan Haren has been sharper, but he went 5 2/3 good-enough innings and left with a 5-3 lead. Haren gave up three runs on five hits and a pair of walks.
Dee Gordon led off the game with a triple and scored when second baseman Jace Peterson threw the relay to third base away for an error. The Dodgers added a second run against Ian Kennedy when Adrian Gonzalez doubled and scored on a Matt Kemp single.
Seth Smith got one run back in the bottom of the inning on a mammoth home run, starting what would prove a huge night for him. He hit another solo homer in the sixth, also off Haren, and doubled off the wall.
The Dodgers scored three times in the top of the fifth after Haren singled and Hanley Ramriez walked. A Kennedy wild pitch advanced the runners and a Puig single scored both. Puig went all the way to third on a throwing error by third baseman Alexi Amarista and scored on a Gonzalez sacrifice fly.
But the Dodgers could never add any separation, allowing the Padres to hang around until it finally proved costly.
The Dodgers held the 5-3 lead into the ninth and turned it over to Jansen, but nothing went right for the closer.
Amarista opened with a single and scored on a double by Carlos Quentin. Still with no outs, Will Venable doubled over center fielder Andre Ethier to drive in the tying run.
After Rene Rivera’s sacrifice bunt advanced Venable to third, the Dodgers elected to pitch to Everth Cabrera rather than walk the bases loaded. Cabrera flew out deep enough to right field to drive in Venabl with the winning run.
And a Padres team that had lost eight of its last 11 became the latest team to stop a Dodgers’ winning streak at three.