Opening Take: Padres Earn Series Split with Dodgers

Darren FeeneyCorrespondent IApril 10, 2009

SAN DIEGO - APRIL 6:    The Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres stand on the baselines during openng day pregame ceremonies on April 6, 2009 at Petco Park in San Diego, California.   (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

If tying a series is like kissing your sister, San Diego is willing to do the dirty deed.

When Jake Peavy failed to get out of the first frame of the season, surrendering a two-out, two-run single to James Loney, Padres fans took a collective sigh.

The Padres when on to drop the game, but rebounded nicely winning two out of the next three and avoided losing an opening series for the first time since 2004.

The Dodgers' relievers defied expectations for the first three games of the series, pitching a combined nine scoreless innings. But leading 3-1 entering the eighth inning, Will Ohman and Cory Wade combined to give up four runs, an precursor that the club's fears about their question-mark-filled bullpen might realize themselves.

Ohman, signed a week before opening day, served up an opposite field home run to Adrian Gonzalez, triggering a three-run rally.

Gonzalez’s older brother, Edgar, hit his first big league triple, into the gap in left-center. Gonzalez then scored the tying run on Nick Hundley’s single, and Hundley scored the go-ahead run when Luis Rodriguez doubled to right-center.

Closer Heath Bell gave up a leadoff triple to Orlando Hudson, in the gap in right-center, then retired Manny Ramirez on a grounder to shortstop. Bell then walked Andre Ethier before getting Russell Martin to hit into a game-ending double play, notching his second save in as many chances.

Clayton Kershaw held the Padres to one run and two hits in five innings while striking out six and walking four.

The Friars were able to keep Manny Ramirez in check, finishing 3-for-17 (.176 avg) and three RBI in four games.

San Diego was just 5-83 when trailing after seven innings last year. With the National League West essentially up for grabs, this was a message sent by the Padres not only to the NL West, but themselves as well.

The Padres host the San Frasisco Giants this weekend in a three game set at PETCO Park. The Friars went 5-13 against the Giants last year.

San Diego matched up against National League Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum in six of those contests, with Lincecum going 3-0 with a 0.62 ERA. The Friars will face Lincecum in the Sunday’s matinee.