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Erlin tosses solid outing as Padres drop Dodgers

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The Canadian Press
9/21/2013 1:50:52 AM
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SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Padres didn't get the Los Angeles Dodgers' best shot. It might not have mattered.

While the Dodgers are preparing for the playoffs, the Padres showed their future has promise behind two rookies.

Robbie Erlin allowed four hits over 7 2-3 innings and fellow rookie Jedd Gyorko hit his 20th homer to lead the Padres to a 2-0 victory over the NL West champions on Friday night.

"Hopefully it is a sign of good things to come," Gyorko said. "Robbie has pitched well the last couple of starts and has to be impressing the coaches. Hopefully I can keep swinging it well and stay hot."

The Dodgers, fresh from clinching the division title on Thursday at Arizona, let their backups get the playing time. No Dodgers regulars were in the starting lineup after they secured their 12th NL West championship since divisional play started in 1969.

Erlin (3-3) matched his career-high with seven strikeouts as only three Dodgers reached second base against him.

Gyorko homered in the fifth inning, becoming the fifth rookie second baseman ever to reach that milestone. Gyorko gave the Padres a 2-0 lead when he hit a fastball from Edinson Volquez (9-12) 417 feet to centre field.

Gyorko, who had the game's only RBIs, is the first second baseman to hit 20 homers in franchise history.

"Jedd thinks he can hit anything," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Twenty homers as a rookie? That's real and good stuff."

Erlin is 2-1 with a 1.82 ERA in four starts since being recalled on Aug. 25, his fourth stint with the Padres. He's improved the command of his fastball by getting it lower in the zone, and complementing it with a curveball and change-up.

"I'm just keeping it down because even if you miss over the plate and it's down, there's a shot you can get a ground ball," Erlin said.

Huston Street worked the ninth to notch his 32nd save in 33 chances after Luke Gregerson recorded an out in the eighth.

The Dodgers had runners on first and third in the ninth but Street struck out pinch-hitters Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp.

"They don't have much experience pinch-hitting," Street said. "Especially after a well-deserved celebration. They swung and missed and I was happy."

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said while catching the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals for home-field advantage in the playoffs would be beneficial, that didn't trump resting his starters.

"The biggest thing we wanted to do was to give guys that have been just grinding it out for months, and are pretty banged up, they just needed a day off," Mattingly said.

Volquez pitched well going against his former team, allowing one earned run over 6 1-3 innings. Volquez was the Padres' opening day starter the second consecutive season before being released on Aug. 27.

"I was excited to come back here and pitch after playing here for almost two years," he said. "I've got a lot of friends over there. But right now, I'm just trying to do my job."

While entering the contest 10 games under .500, the Padres had been playing the NL's top teams tough. They were coming off a 6-4 trip in which they took five of seven against the Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Padres scored in the first on Chris Denorfia's aggressive base-running.

Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon's two-base throwing error placed Denorfia at second with one out. Denorfia stole third before Gyorko grounded out to third baseman Jerry Hairston.

Hairston looked Denorfia back, then threw to first baseman Drew Butera. Denorfia broke for the plate when Hairston let the ball go and Butera's relay was just late to get him.

"It was a good baseball play," Black said. "That's good instincts by Deno."

Skip Shumaker had three of the Dodgers' six hits, including two doubles.

NOTES: Mattingly will employ a six-man rotation over the final nine games. LHP Clayton Kershaw, who was pushed back from his regular turn, starts Saturday against the Padres. ... Dodgers OF Andre Either missed his seventh straight game with a sprained ankle. Either did take batting practice. ... Dodgers 1B Adrian Gonzalez was out of the starting lineup with a tender quad. ... Dodgers SS Hanley Ramirez was rested because of sore hamstring and back. ... Before the game the Padres honoured the Municipal de Tijuana Seleccionados which recently finished third in the Little League World Series.

Robbie Erlin (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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