Four homers sink Young, Padres
Kouzmanoff drives in two runs; Gwynn collects three hits
LOS ANGELES -- Though known as a fly-ball pitcher, Chris Young allowed just one home run in his first seven starts with the Padres this season.But the right-hander has been hurt by homers recently as he has allowed 10 in his past six starts, and it was homers that again plagued him against the Dodgers on Tuesday. Young tied a career-high with four home runs allowed against the Dodgers, who entered the game fourth to last in the Majors in homers, in the Padres' 6-4 loss at Dodger Stadium. "Chris is a high-ball pitcher and he throws the ball up in the strike zone and in most cases to his advantage, where he gets hitters to pop up," Padres manager Bud Black said. "But today, three fastballs, two up and one down, and two to a very hot hitter." That hot hitter was Andre Ethier, who entered the game batting .385 with four homers against Young in his career. Ethier added two more home runs against Young with one coming on a hanging breaking ball in the first inning and the second coming on a first-pitch fastball in the third. "He's a good hitter, first and foremost," Young said. "You've got to give him credit. He's a good Major Leaguer. But those balls hit out tonight were not well-executed pitches. I missed my spot on both pitches, and he hit mistakes, but that's what good hitters do." The Padres actually fared well against Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley as they banged out eight hits against him and forced him out in the sixth inning. The Padres jumped on Billingsley early, hitting three consecutive singles to open a game for the first time this season. Tony Gwynn, David Eckstein and Brian Giles all singled against Billingsley, but they did not score on Giles' single because Gwynn was caught trying to steal third base. Kevin Kouzmanoff, though, put the Padres on the board when he drove home two runs with a single to get the Padres out to an early 2-0 lead. "Kouz got a big hit there in the first inning," Black said. But Gwynn's baserunning mistake likely cost the team a run, and in the fourth inning, Chase Headley made a mistake when he got caught between second and third after Russell Martin fielded a pitch thrown in the dirt. "In Tony's case, he tried to make an aggressive play and Nick just got hung up," Black said. "But I don't think you can never speculate what can happen after an event takes place. The whole world changes. It's a different set of circumstances." The Dodgers, though, took advantage of Young missing his spots in the fifth when Matt Kemp hit a homer on a first-pitch fastball, and three batters later, Orlando Hudson homered on a 3-2 fastball. "Kemp, it was just a ball up over the plate on a first-pitch fastball," Black said. "And Hudson was late in the count on another fastball." Young, who allowed five runs on six hits over five innings, offered no excuses after the game, saying he simply didn't hit his spots. "I'm just not executing pitches," Young said. "The balls hit out tonight weren't good pitches and they're good hitters. That's the bottom line." Meanwhile, catcher Nick Hundley left the game in the sixth inning after getting hit on the left wrist by a 1-1 fastball by Billingsley. He's listed as day to day. "His hand is sore," Black said. "The initial diagnosis is that it isn't broken so hopefully it's a deep bruise. He'll get X-rays later." The Dodgers added an insurance run in the eighth against Cla Meredith when Rafael Furcal had an RBI single after Casey Blake and Martin walked. The Padres managed just two hits in 4 1/3 innings against Dodgers relievers and lost a chance to rally in the eighth when Henry Blanco, Hundley's replacement, grounded out into an inning-ending double play with runners at first and second. Gwynn was a bright spot for the Padres by tying a career high with three hits, including a double on the 10th pitch he saw from Billingsley in the fifth. He also walked in the ninth against Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton and scored on a single by David Eckstein after reaching second on defensive indifference. But Giles struck out looking with Eckstein on second to end the game. With the loss, the Padres fell to 2-7 against the Dodgers this season and are now a season-high 12 games behind the first-place Dodgers.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.