Dodgers fall, 7-2, to San Diego Padres

Reporting from San Diego

These aren't the best of days for Dodgers owner Frank McCourt.

Already the target of widespread criticism for the way he responded to the beating of a fan in the Dodger Stadium parking lot, McCourt is unlikely to make any gains in public opinion based on the way his team is performing on the field.

Falling to the San Diego Padres, 7-2, on Sunday at Petco Park, the Dodgers departed for San Francisco with a ho-hum 5-4 record. They start a three-game series against the Giants on Monday.

Clayton Kershaw, who starts the first game of the series, has looked solid. So have Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, who are hitting .438 and .353, respectively.

Beyond that, the cash-strapped Dodgers have looked like a cash-strapped team.

While certainly opportunistic — one of the two runs the Dodgers scored on Sunday was on a Padres throwing error — the imbalanced lineup has failed to produce with any kind of regularity.

The Dodgers have been held to four or fewer runs in seven of their nine games. They have been shut out twice.

"We have to be better," Manager Don Mattingly said. "We have to be more consistent."

Mattingly specifically pointed to the two hitters he has alternated in the fifth and sixth spots of the lineup, James Loney and Juan Uribe.

Loney, who was 0 for 4 on Sunday, is hitting .143. Uribe, who was 0 for 2, is hitting .111.

Both likable and carefree characters, Loney and Uribe didn't sound particularly bothered by their slow starts.

"It is what it is," Loney said. "Pop up some balls, get on top of some balls. I have to hit the ones in the middle."

A free swinger who hit 24 home runs and drove in 85 runs last season, Uribe acknowledged that his plate discipline has been an issue.

"I've taken some bad swings," said Uribe, who is in the first year of a three-year, $21-million contract. "I've swung at a lot of balls. But it's a couple of games, you know?"

They aren't the only ones who aren't hitting.

Rafael Furcal is batting .208 and missed the last two games because of a sore wrist. Rod Barajas is hitting .222.

Asked how he felt about where his team stood, Mattingly said, "I feel OK. I think guys are playing hard. Obviously, I'd like to be 9-0. We haven't stumbled out of the gate; we haven't flown out of the gate. We've shown at times what kind of club we're going to be."

Over the next three days in San Francisco, the Dodgers will face Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Jonathan Sanchez. They won't see the one pitcher from the Giants' rotation they hit well in their opening series, Barry Zito.

"It's always pretty electric, so I expect it to be that way," Mattingly said of AT&T Park. "It's one of the rowdiest places to play."

But considering that the fan who was beaten in the Dodger Stadium parking lot was a Giants fan, did Mattingly think the atmosphere could turn ugly?

"I hope not," Mattingly said. "I think what happened in L.A. is something that I don't think any fan can say, 'That's OK.' I don't care how heated the rivalry is. It's unacceptable stuff. It's never OK."

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