Everything went well for the Dodgers on Sunday, except for that one little thing, and even that turned out OK.
They scored their first run without a hit, made several nice defensive plays and got another solid start from Brett Anderson. They also scored three insurance runs on a crazy throwing error, and won the game, 5-1, over the Padres at Petco Park.
It was their 11th victory in 13 games, raising their record to a season-high 20 games over .500 (78-58) and maintaining their 7½-game lead over the Giants in the National League West.
All very good for the Dodgers. Except there was a momentary scare.
With two outs in the sixth inning and two on, Anderson left the game because of an apparent left leg injury.
There was no obvious play or pitch that looked to cause the injury. Anderson left looking like he was having trouble putting weight on the leg. In July he had left a game with a sore Achilles.
The Dodgers, however, later announced what was about the best news they could manage -- Anderson left the game because of a cramp in his left calf. Presumably they’ll pour some sports drink down him and he’ll be good as new.
Anderson moved to 9-8 with the victory and lowered his earned-run average to 3.36. He has thrown 158 innings on the season, the most since his rookie season in 2009. In his 5 2/3 innings, he gave up one run on lots of fours -– four hits, four walks and four strikeouts.
The Dodgers opened the scoring with a run in the first, courtesy of Padres starting pitcher Andrew Cashner. Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez each walked and then Casher hit Justin Turner with a pitch to load the bases for Andre Ethier. He hit a sacrifice fly to score Crawford and it was 1-0 Dodgers.
The Padres tied it in the third on a home run by Jedd Gyorko. It was his third in the series.
The Dodgers went back up by a run in the top of the sixth inning after Turner doubled and Ethier dropped a hit beyond the reach of Gyorko at short. Turner had to hold on the play to see if the defensively challenged Padres could make the catch.
Center fielder Wil Myers actually made a nice running catch at the wall on a Corey Seager drive, with Turner tagging and advancing to third base. A.J. Ellis lined a single to left and the Dodgers were back up a run.
In the bottom of the inning after Anderson hobbled off, J.P. Howell took over and faced pinch-hitter Melvin Upton Jr. with runners at first and second base and two outs. Upton lined a ball off the glove of a diving Seager at third. The ball ricocheted to shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who fielded it and fired to first base in time to get Upton.
The Dodgers pulled away with three gift runs in the seventh. They loaded the bases on a hit batter, a single and an infield hit. Ethier then hit a tapper back to reliever Nick Vincent. It should have been an easy third out. He fielded it cleanly and then threw somewhere in the direction of the San Diego Zoo. Strange shrieks were heard from the gorilla exhibit.
It might as well have been a triple, all three runners scoring and Ethier hustling to third base. Free runs! Free runs!
Meanwhile, the Dodgers bullpen was back on the right kind of roll. Howell, Luis Avilan, Yimi Garcia and Pedro Baez held the Padres scoreless over the final 3 1/3 innings.
The Dodgers took three of four games in their series in San Diego. And for those who care about these things on Sept. 6, their magic number is now 19.
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