SAN DIEGO -- Casey Kelly was never naive enough to think that as a 22-year-old that he could reach the big leagues only discover that he had all the answers and had faced every notable hurdle he needed to face while pitching in the Minor Leagues.
On Thursday, Kelly was tested again, this time as a momentary lapse in command proved his downfall, as the Dodgers ran away with an 8-4 decision over the Padres before a crowd of 32,403 at Petco Park.
Oddly enough, Kelly's demise against the Dodgers didn't involve him walking a batter or allowing a hit of any length, short or far.
Instead, it was the two consecutive batters Kelly hit with pitches in the Dodgers' four-run, fifth inning, as each came when Kelly had two strikes on Hanley Ramirez and then Shane Victorino. This paved the way for a big inning.
"That's kind of uncharacteristic," Kelly said. "It's definitely frustrating. I think I could have gotten out of that inning if I didn't hit those guys in that situation."
The Dodgers (81-75) turned a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning into a 5-0 bulge, even after Kelly got two quick outs to start the inning.
Matt Kemp doubled to center field and Kelly intentionally walked Adrian Gonzalez. Kelly then plunked Ramirez to load the bases and then did the same to Victorino on a 2-2 pitch to force in a run. Reliever Nick Vincent then allowed three runs, two on Luis Cruz's third hit of the game, a single to center field. All three runs were charged to Kelly.
Kelly struck out Ramirez twice in his first two at-bats and was trying to set him up for a curveball when he lost control of a fastball.
"If I get him to chase up and change his eye level, then I would have come back with the curveball," Kelly said.
All told, Kelly (2-3) allowed five runs on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
"I saw a good curveball and a lot of swings and misses on it," Padres manager Bud Black said. "The fastball had [good] velocity. But again, he's a guy who hasn't logged a lot of innings. He's cutting his teeth."
Across the way, Dodgers starting pitcher Chris Capuano (12-11) was mostly cruising. He took a shutout into the sixth inning, though he managed to get one out before departing. He allowed five hits and one run in 5 1/3 innings, walking four with two strikeouts.
"I didn't have great command, but I made big pitches in big situations and the defense stepped up," Capuano said.
The Padres (74-82) apparently saved their most productive at-bats later in the game, as they missed on two big scoring opportunities earlier in the game against Capuano.
With the bases loaded in the second inning, Kelly bounced into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. In the fifth inning, with two on and one out, Cameron Maybin hit into a double play as well.
The Padres got a run back in the sixth inning when Dodgers reliever Jamey Wright hit pinch-hitter Carlos Quentin with a pitch with the bases loaded.
Pinch-hitter Mark Kotsay had a two-run double to center field in the eighth inning, and another pinch-hitter, Will Venable, had an RBI single later in the inning. Kotsay's double scored Everth Cabrera and Yonder Alonso, who had three hits in the game, including two doubles.
Alonso has 37 doubles this season, the most of any rookie in the National League this season.
"We kept getting a little closer and then they nicked us. We just couldn't hold them down," Black said.
With the loss, the Padres finished the season with a 7-11 record against the Dodgers. The team opens a three-game series against the Giants at 7:05 p.m. PT on Friday. It's the last home series of the season before the Padres end the regular season in Milwaukee next week.