Dodgers complete sweep of the Giants with 8-2 win
The sky was falling. The Four Horsemen were on their way.
The Dodgers couldn’t hit. On the days they could, they often couldn’t pitch. The result was that they couldn’t win.
A return to the National League West solved everything.
The Dodgers completed a mood-altering three-game sweep of the San Francisco Giants with an 8-2 victory Wednesday, as Vicente Padilla pitched a seven-inning gem, shortstop Rafael Furcal continued his weeklong tear and center fielder Matt Kemp started to climb out of Manager Joe Torre’s doghouse by smacking his 13th home run.
“It was great, it was great,” Torre said. “It was a heck of a test for us after what happened on Sunday night.”
What happened Sunday night was that the Dodgers blew a four-run lead in the ninth inning at home against the New York Yankees and lost in the 10th, dropping their interleague record to 4-11.
“We let that go pretty fast, as you can tell,” third baseman Jamey Carroll said.
The Dodgers are proving to be as formidable in their division as they were feeble against American League teams.
They are 21-5 in games within their division, including 11-1 on the road.
Next for the Dodgers is a three-game series that starts Friday against the worst team in the NL West, the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Dodgers could open the series without left fielder Manny Ramirez, who could land on the disabled list for the second time this season, this time because of a strained right hamstring.
Ramirez was out of the lineup Wednesday, as were right fielder Andre Ethier and third baseman Casey Blake, but Furcal and Kemp ensured that wouldn’t be a factor.
Furcal and Kemp blew open the game in the fifth inning when they hit home runs against starter Jonathan Sanchez to increase the Dodgers lead from 2-0 to 5-0.
Furcal was four for five, scored three runs and drove in two. In the eight games Furcal has played since his father passed away, he is 16 for 34 with 11 runs and seven runs batted in.
“When you’re on base, things can happen,” he said.
Out of the lineup for the previous three days because Torre perceived he was ignoring the instructions of coaches, Kemp was three for four and drove in three runs. Kemp remained silent on what was said in his meeting with Torre on Tuesday or anything related to the reasons behind his benching, but said the rest helped.
“Anybody who plays every day and gets some days off, their body gets pretty good,” he said.
Padilla, who was five days removed from a two-run, seven-inning start against the Yankees, pitched another seven innings and held the modestly talented Giants lineup to one run and three hits.
In what appeared to be a retaliatory act for the beaning of outfielder Aaron Rowand in April, reliever Santiago Casilla threw a pitch behind Padilla as he squared up to bunt in the seventh inning. Padilla didn’t have much of a reaction, on the field or later in the clubhouse.
“What happened last time was unintentional,” Padilla said. “It wasn’t personal. What they did today, I understand. They have to protect their players. I respect their decision.”
Torre was upset as he recalled how in the last couple of days he had heard someone say on a local television station that Padilla should at least be hit in the ribs for fracturing Rowand’s cheekbones.
Rowand, who had three hits, and Manager Bruce Bochy refused to talk about Padilla. Casilla said he didn’t know of Rowand’s history with Padilla, noting that he was at triple-A Fresno in April.
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