Venable, Padres beat $215M Dodgers

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 10, 2013
The Los Angeles Dodgers are 4-3, and already they're being asked if they're pressing because of their $215 million payroll. Will Venable homered and hit a bases-loaded triple for the San Diego Padres, who rebounded from a dreadful six-game trip to win their home opener 9-3 against the rival Dodgers on Tuesday at reconfigured Petco Park. Adrian Gonzalez doesn't think the Dodgers are pressing. ''I think we are just playing the game,'' he said. ''We are trying our hardest. The pressure comes from wanting to win. Anything else, we all want to help the team out. We're all trying to do what we can and in that, sometimes you press a little. I wouldn't say pressing. It's just early. Guys are trying to get going and find their swing. I think it's more of that than pressing.'' After beating defending World Series champion San Francisco on opening day, the Dodgers lost two straight to the Giants and then swept the Pittsburgh Pirates in a three-game series. Venable tied his career-high with four RBIs. He homered in the first and his two-out triple highlighted a five-run eighth against three Dodgers relievers. The Padres sent 11 batters to the plate that inning, five of whom walked. Nick Hundley also homered off Josh Beckett for the Padres, who were outhomered 10-1 and outscored 40-14 in going 1-5 in a swing through New York and Colorado. The Padres spent between $2.5 million and $3.5 million to bring in the fences in an attempt to make the spacious downtown park play a little fairer. From the right-field porch to the right-center gap, the fence was moved in from 402 feet to 391 feet and lowered to just under 8 feet, matching the rest of the outfield wall. In left-center, the fence came in from 402 feet to 390 feet. That allowed the visiting team's bullpen to be relocated from right-field foul territory to behind the home bullpen. Venable's homer in the first landed in the seats behind the Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 Deck on top of the new right-field fence. It would have been a homer in the old configuration. Hundley homered leading off the fifth off the facade of the balcony on the second level of the Western Metal Supply Co. brick warehouse in the left-field corner. Juan Uribe of the Dodgers was the first player to benefit from the closer fences. He hit a two-run shot that landed on top of the new fence in the fourth, tying the game at 2. Gonzalez was aboard on a leadoff single. After Venable homered, Yonder Alonso doubled to right-center with two outs in the first and scored on rookie Jedd Gyorko's single. Hundley's homer gave San Diego a 3-2 lead. The Dodgers tied it in the seventh when Carl Crawford hit a leadoff single against Andrew Cashner, advanced on two groundouts and scored on Gonzalez's single. ''We could have done more,'' manager Don Mattingly said. ''We had some chances. Early on, for both teams, the ball was tough to see. San Diego regained the lead in the bottom half on pinch-hitter Mark Kotsay's RBI double. Cameron Maybin reached on a leadoff infield single and was sacrificed along by Hundley, setting up Kotsay. Venable was intentionally walked with two outs to get to Carlos Quentin, who was hit between his right wrist and forearm by a pitch from Ronald Belisario (0-1). Quentin, who's been slow to recover after offseason surgery on his right knee, immediately signaled for trainer Todd Hutcheson. After speaking for a few minutes with Hutcheson and manager Bud Black, Quentin came out. Yonder Alonso flied out to right to end the threat. Quentin had an X-ray ''and it came back looking good,'' manager Bud Black said. Luke Gregerson (1-0) got the last out of the seventh, the only batter he faced, for the win. Beckett allowed three runs and six hits in five innings, struck out four and walked one. Padres starter Clayton Richard also went five, allowing two runs and eight hits, with three strikeouts and three walks. NOTES: The Dodgers optioned C Tim Federowicz to Triple-A but have yet to make a corresponding move. ... Black used Eric Stults, who's scheduled to start Wednesday night, to pinch-hit for Richard in the fifth. Stults flied out. Black used Tyson Ross, who's scheduled to start Friday against Colorado, to pinch-run for Quentin in the in the seventh. The moves paid off as Black was able to save Kotsay to pinch-hit in the seventh and Chris Denorfia in the eighth. ... Padres 3B Chase Headley, who broke his left thumb in a spring game, hit balls off a tee and in soft toss, and took grounders. Black says there's no ETA for the return of Headley, whose breakout season of 2012 included 31 homers, an NL-high 115 RBIS, plus his first Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards. Black said Headley probably will go on a rehab assignment before being activated. ''It's healing like it's supposed to,'' Headley said. ''It feels good. They said that I can do as much or little as I want without pain.'' ... With the fences in right and right-center moved in, Black thinks Petco Park will surrender a total of 20 to 30 more homers this year. ... TaylorMade, which erected an 80-foot replica of a driver shaft along the right-field foul pole at in 2011 as part of a three-year sponsorship agreement with the Padres, has updated the graphics to a RocketBallz Stage 2 3-wood.
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