LOS ANGELES– Ross Stripling struck out a career-high 10 batters, Matt Kemp and Kike Hernandez hit home runs and the Dodgers beat the Padres 4-1 in front of 44,612 at Dodger Stadium.
Los Angeles improved to 23-27 while San Diego fell to 21-31.
First inning blues
The first inning turned out to be the most pivotal one of the night at Dodger Stadium– for both teams.
Following a ground out to open the game by Travis Jankowski, Eric Hosmer and Jose Pirela both hit opposite-field singles for the Padres. With Franchy Cordero coming to the plate, San Diego had a prime opportunity to get themselves an early advantage.
Dodgers starter Ross Stripling had other plans, inducing a pivotal 4-6-3 ground ball double play off the bat off Cordero to end the inning. The speedy Cordero almost beat it out, attempting a headfirst slide into first base. However, it was to no avail.
In the bottom of the first, Los Angeles did not miss out on their opportunity to take an early lead. Chris Taylor and Justin Turner each worked back-to-back walks to lead off the inning, and Padre-killer Matt Kemp brought them home with a 410-foot home run into left-center field.
It was a pivotal point of the game that went the Dodgers’ way, especially considering that the Padres were 16-3 when scoring first (compared to 5-27 when the opposition pushes across the first run) entering play.
Richard unable to continue streak
Clayton Richard entered Friday night’s start against the Dodgers with a streak of three consecutive starts in which he pitched more than seven innings. He had done it once before in his career, in 2012.
Unfortunately for Richard and the Padres, the left-hander was unable to replicate his recent success on Friday evening. Three batters into the game, the Dodgers had a 3-0 lead thanks to two walks and a three-run home run by Matt Kemp.
Richard was able to somewhat settle down after the tumultuous start, only allowing one more run in six complete innings. An opposite-field home run by Kike Hernandez in the third provided the fourth and final run for the home team off the 33-year-old.
“After the first three hitters, he was pretty good,” manager Andy Green stated after the loss. “For me, you give up three runs the first three hitters you face, and then you get through six innings. He gave us a chance.”
All in all, Richard threw the aforementioned six innings, allowing four hits and four earned runs. He struck out four and walked three while throwing 60 of his 102 pitches for strikes. He did not seem as comfortable as he had been in his three starts prior, and the Dodgers made him play. He induced only nine swinging strikes on the night.
After working his way out of danger in the first, Dodgers starter Ross Stripling got into a very nice groove the rest of the way. He had Padres hitters guessing all night to the tune of 15 whiffs, 18 called strikes, and a career-high 10 strikeouts.
“He did a really good job of keeping guys honest and getting them down below the zone late (in counts),” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
Stripling ended up going 6 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and one unearned run. Jose Pirela was seemingly the only Padre who could figure him out. The Venezuelan doubled twice and recorded three of the Padres’ six hits against him.
The dominance tonight was another step in what has been an impressive stretch for the 28-year-old Stripling. He has now struck out seven or more batters in three consecutive outings.
Kemp continues to rake against Padres pitching
Matt Kemp was 3-for-4 tonight against the Padres with a home run and three RBIs. This season, the former Friar is hitting an astounding .577 with four home runs and 12 RBIs against San Diego. He is slugging 1.077.
Strikeouts, strikeouts, strikeouts…
The Padres entered Friday night with 492 team strikeouts on the season. They have struck out the second-most times in all of baseball, only behind the Texas Rangers.
Against Dodgers pitching, they added 15 more to that total and did not walk once.
Friars continue to struggle at Dodger Stadium
With the loss, the Padres are now 8-22 in their last 30 games at Dodger Stadium.