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LOS ANGELES -- With Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp returning to the Los Angeles Dodgers' lineup at the same time after stints on the disabled list, the home crowd was buzzing with the anticipation of seeing at least one of them hit a home run.
They got one all right -- albeit from another player in his first start at home in quite a while.
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"It was really fun to get a big hit like that, especially in front of the home crowd," said Ellis, who missed 43 games because of an injured left leg before returning for a three-game road series leading into the All-Star break. "Sometimes you rely too much on your 3-4 hitters. But as long as everybody has good at-bats, everything will take care of itself and we'll be fine."
Kemp was 2 for 4 with a double after missing 51 of the Dodgers' previous 53 games because of a left hamstring strain. Ethier, sidelined since June 28 because of an oblique strain on his left side, was 0 for 2 and got hit by a pitch following a two-game rehab stint with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga during the All-Star break.
Ethier acknowledged how much impact Kemp batting behind Ellis had on his fateful at-bat.
"You can see what a difference it makes having a guy like Matty in that lineup to help the guys in front of him," Ethier said. "Tonight he had two hits, and you see how it changes the game when you see him on deck. So you've got to be around the zone more with Mark up because you don't want to put another guy on base for Matt."
Clayton Kershaw (7-5) allowed a run, six hits and three walks over six difficult innings and struck out six. Last year's NL Cy Young winner, who threw 27 pitches during his one-inning scoreless stint in Tuesday's All-Star game, worked with runners on base in every inning and stranded eight before he was lifted for a pinch-hitter after 110 pitches with the Dodgers trailing 1-0.
"I didn't want to get pinch-hit for. I wanted to keep going, obviously, but I understand the situation," Kershaw said. "I definitely threw more pitches in the All-Star game than I would have liked, but I felt fine tonight.
"I felt like I was throwing my fastball pretty good, but I just threw too many pitches. Six innings and 110 pitches, that's never what you want to do. But give them some credit. They had some good at-bats and had guys on base all night, so I had to continue to make pitches."
Tony Gwynn Jr. led off the sixth with a bunt single while batting for Kershaw, triggering the pivotal rally. Padres pitcher Clayton Richard knocked down a vicious line drive by Jerry Hairston Jr. and threw to second for the force on Gwynn. Ellis, who was batting in front of Kemp, then drove a 1-2 pitch just inside the left field pole.
"It should have been down, but it was up a little bit and he put a good swing on it," Richard said. "It's disappointing to throw well and just come up a little bit short."
Javy Guerra and Ronald Belisario both pitched a scoreless inning and Kenley Jansen worked a hitless ninth for his 16th save in 19 attempts, helping the NL West-leading Dodgers send the Padres to their fourth straight loss following a season-high six-game winning streak.
Richard (6-10) allowed two runs and five hits in 7 1/3 innings, striking out two and walking none for the third time in four starts. The left-hander has allowed at least one homer in each of his last five outings.
"I just want to continue to progress and keep on getting better as a starting pitcher, get deep into games and give our team a chance to win," Richard said. "If you can do that, more often than not you're going to come out on top. Unfortunately, tonight wasn't one of those nights."
The Padres scratched out a run in the second after Yasmani Grandal led off with a bloop double to left-center that Kemp inadvertently kicked toward the infield after attempting to short-hop the ball. Grandal scored on a groundout by Everth Cabrera.
|The Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw allows one run and strikes out six in six innings to defeat the Padres. (US Presswire)|
|Players of the Game|
|San Diego Padres|
|Chris Denorfia, RF||3||0||0||0||0||2||0||.294|
|a- Alexi Amarista, PH-RF||1||0||1||0||1||0||0||.279|
|Logan Forsythe, 2B||5||0||2||0||0||1||2||.308|
|Chase Headley, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||0||3||.266|
|Carlos Quentin, LF||4||0||1||0||0||1||3||.267|
|Yasmani Grandal, C||4||1||2||0||0||1||2||.308|
|Yonder Alonso, 1B||2||0||0||0||2||0||0||.261|
|Cameron Maybin, CF||3||0||0||0||1||1||2||.210|
|Everth Cabrera, SS||4||0||0||1||0||1||3||.233|
|Clayton Richard, P||3||0||0||0||0||1||4||.105|
|Dale Thayer, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Mark Kotsay, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.288|
|a-singled for Denorfia in the 7th|
|b-popped out for Thayer in the 9th|
|2B - Logan Forsythe (4, Kershaw), Yasmani Grandal (2, Kershaw)|
|RBI - Everth Cabrera (12)|
|Team LOB - 10|
|DP - Cabrera-Forsythe-Alonso|
|San Diego Padres|
|Clayton Richard (L,6-10)||7.1||5||2||2||0||2||1||3.83|
|HBP - Ethier (by Clayton Richard)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Clayton Richard 96-63, Dale Thayer 9-5|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Clayton Richard 14-5, Dale Thayer 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Clayton Richard 27, Dale Thayer 3|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Jerry Hairston Jr., LF-3B||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.295|
|Mark Ellis, 2B||4||1||1||2||0||1||0||.270|
|Matt Kemp, CF||4||0||2||0||0||0||1||.360|
|Andre Ethier, RF||2||0||0||0||0||0||2||.289|
|Juan Rivera, 1B||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.253|
|A.J. Ellis, C||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.281|
|Juan Uribe, 3B||2||0||1||0||0||0||0||.198|
|Javy Guerra, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Bobby Abreu, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.261|
|Ronald Belisario, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Kenley Jansen, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Luis Cruz, SS||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.280|
|Clayton Kershaw, P||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.143|
|b- Tony Gwynn Jr., PH-LF||2||0||1||0||0||0||0||.242|
|a-grounded out for Guerra in the 7th|
|b-hit a bunt single for Kershaw in the 6th|
|2B - Matt Kemp (7, Richard), Juan Uribe (8, Richard)|
|HR - Mark Ellis (3, Richard)|
|RBI - Mark Ellis 2 (11)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Clayton Kershaw (W,7-5)||6||6||1||1||3||6||0||2.84|
|Javy Guerra (H,2)||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||3.00|
|Ronald Belisario (H,11)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||1.48|
|Kenley Jansen (S,16)||1||0||0||0||1||0||0||2.01|
|WP - Javy Guerra (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Clayton Kershaw 110-70, Javy Guerra 23-14, Ronald Belisario 10-8, Kenley Jansen 15-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Clayton Kershaw 7-5, Ronald Belisario 2-0, Kenley Jansen 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Clayton Kershaw 27, Javy Guerra 4, Ronald Belisario 3, Kenley Jansen 4|
|Attendance - 43873|
|Game Time - 2:39|
|Temperature - 76|
|Umpires - Home - Derryl Cousins, First Base - Greg Gibson, Second Base - Gerry Davis, Third Base - Phil Cuzzi|