Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends...
Andre Ethier pounded out two homers, with Matt Kemp and Orlando Hudson chipping in one each, allowing Dodgers' ace starter Chad Billingsley to move his season record to 8-3.
Four members of the bullpen toiled three-and-a-third innings to preserve the Dodgers' ninth win in their last 10 home games against the Friars.
Andre The Colossus
Ethier broke the tie for team home run leadership with Casey Blake by touching Padre starter Chris Young twice.
The first was a towering shot down the right field line that just stayed fair, while the second one was a no-doubter that landed about a third of the way up the right field pavilion.
Please note for the record this reporter will not sully Andre's reputation by referring to him with that cursed "g" word.
More From The Hit List
Kemp and Hudson flexed their muscles as well against the beleaguered Young in the fifth inning.
Kemp led off the inning by hitting the first offering from Young over the wall in left. After two outs, Hudson smoked a full count fastball deep to right-center.
Kemp's was his seventh of the season while O-Dog went yard for the fourth time.
Chad started out rather shaky, allowing three consecutive hits to open the game.
Tony Gwynn getting shot down at third helped, as did Adrian Gonzales striking out on a fastball at his eyes. Kevin Kouzmanoff fought off an inside fastball to single home the first two runs of the game before Bills would end the Dodger fans' early misery by striking out Chase Headley looking.
This was another less than dominating effort from Billingsley, turning in five and one third innings, surrendering three runs (all earned), eight hits, and two walks. He struck out five, throwing 74 strikes on 117 total pitches.
In addition to running his season record to 8-3, this win moved Billingsley's career record against San Diego to 8-3—a nice touch of symmetry.
In the sixth inning with two out and one on, Dodgers' manager Joe Torre called in Brent Leach to relieve Billingsley and face Padre pinch-hitter Will Venable. One pitch later, Venable had grounded into a bang-bang force play at second, with Hudson taking a toss from shortstop Rafael Furcal and just beating Nick Hundley to the keystone.
The previous day, Leach and his wife Sara hosted 34 youngsters on a half-day fishing trip. This is the third year the Dodgers have teamed up with the Daniel Hernandez Youth Foundation to give some inner-city kids the opportunity to experience the pleasure of fishing on the Pacific Ocean.
Previously, Brad Penny had hosted the outing.
Balance Of The Pen
After Leach, Torre continued draining Padre blood, calling on Ronald Belisario, Ramon Troncoso, and Jonathan Broxton to seal the victory.
Belisario pitched a perfect seventh, Troncoso worked out of a two-on, one-out jam by inducing a double play grounder out of former Dodger catcher Henry Blanco, while closer Broxton ran into a spot of trouble in the ninth.
With two out, Gwynn worked a walk and advanced to second on the accursed "fielder indifference," where he was cashed in on a single from David Eckstein. Broxton crushed Padre hopes of a comeback by striking out Brian Giles looking for his second whiff of the inning, leaving Adrian Gonzalez, the majors' top home run hitter on deck with nothing to do but turn and walk into the clubhouse.
Suspended Dodger outfielder Manny Ramirez spoke briefly with the media. In an unscheduled event, Ramirez gave his point of view publicly for the first time.
His comments come direct from the Dodgers' Web site.
"That's in the past," Ramirez said. "Whatever happened, that's in the past. I'm coming to play my game and move on. What happened, happened. I spoke to [owner] Frank McCourt, I apologized, I spoke to [manager] Joe Torre, my teammates and I'm ready to move on. I didn't kill nobody, I didn't rape nobody. That's it."
One can feel confident the reporters who cover the team will continue to pick away at Manny over the next month or so, looking for more nuggets of information as to the what, where, why, and how on this topic.
Dodgers' Top Selection A Lefty
With the 36th pick, the Dodgers tabbed a two-way player from Baylor, Aaron Miller. The team is looking at Miller to be a starting pitcher. Standing 6' 3", 205 pounds, the 21-year-old junior is a high school friend of Dodger starter Clayton Kershaw.
Three years ago, Miller was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 11th round, but spurrned their offer to be able to experience college life. Last year with Baylor, Miller went 3-3 and recorded a 5.12 ERA over 51 innings in 13 games, collecting 65 strikeouts along the way.
With the bat, he hit .310, drilled 12 homers with 47 RBI in 186 at-bats.
The Dodgers originally held the 16th overall pick, which was forfeited to the Arizona Diamondbacks for signing Orlando Hudson as a free agent, an exchange that is looking better all the time.
Logan White, the Dodgers' assistant general manager of scouting and the man in charge of the draft, has selected a pitcher with the first pick seven years in a row. The last non-pitcher drafted hangs out at first base and goes by the name of James Loney.
Miller indicated he looks forward to signing quickly as to "get innings under my belt," which would indicate Miller is not represented by Lucifer Boras.
The Prince Of Lies is sharpening his pitchfork to skewer the Washington Nationals, who selected San Diego State pitcher Stephen Strasburg with the first pick of the draft.
As if the Nationals didn't have enough trouble, currently.
Thanks to Emerson, Lake & Palmer for the continued enjoyment of their work, particularly "Karn Evil 9" from the Brain Salad Surgery LP.