Padres rookies spoil Volquez's return

The SportsXchange

SAN DIEGO -- Rookies Jedd Gyorko and Robbie Erlin upstaged the return of former San Diego pitcher Edinson Volquez to Petco Park on Friday night.

Gyorko homered and Erlin delivered his best outing as a major leaguer, leading the Padres to a 2-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers before 34,986.

The Padres (72-81), who have won five of their last six, ended a five-game losing streak to the Dodgers (88-66), who were coming off Thursday's victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, which clinched the National League West title.

Gyorko became the fifth second baseman to hit 20 home runs in his rookie season when he took his former teammate Volquez deep in the fifth. Gyorko drilled a 2-0 fastball an estimated 417 feet to center off Volquez for his 20th home run, which also set a club record for home runs by a second baseman, breaking Bret Boone's mark of 19 set in 2000.

"As the season was kind of progressing, it was a number I wanted to get to," said Gyorko, who joined Florida's Dan Uggla (2006), Washington's Danny Espinosa (2011), Alexei Ramirez (2008) of the Chicago White Sox and Joe Gordon (1938) of the New York Yankees as first-year second baseman to accomplish the feat. Gyorko is four back of Nate Colbert's franchise mark for homers by a rookie with nine games to go.

"We've got a few more games, so hopefully I can add a couple of more," he said.

Erlin (3-3) shut down a lineup of Dodger reserves, limiting them to four hits and matching a career-best seven strikeouts in 7 2/3 scoreless innings, his longest outing in the big leagues. The left-hander walked one and threw 105 pitches (72 strikes). He said keeping his pitches down in the zone was a big key.

"Even if you miss over the plate and it's down, there's a shot you can get a ground ball," said Erlin, who improved to 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA in four starts since being recalled from Triple-A Tucson on Aug. 28.

"Everything felt the best. You always evaluate your outing based on execution. I felt like today's was the best it's been. I'm happy with it, but there's still room to improve."

Huston Street provided a little drama before putting the Dodgers away in the ninth. Street gave up a leadoff double to Skip Schumaker and a single to pinch-hitter Adrian Gonzalez with one out, putting runners at first and third. But the closer struck out pinch-hitters Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp for his 32nd save in 33 opportunities.

"The good thing is they don't have a lot of experience pinch-hitting, especially after a celebration," Street said.

Volquez was hoping to make a triumphant return and beat the club that gave up on him, but his defense and Gyorko wouldn't allow it.

"I was excited to come back here and pitch after playing here for almost two years," said Volquez, who was released by the Padres on Aug. 27. "I've got a lot of friends over there. But right now, I'm just trying to do my job."

Volquez (9-12) worked 6 1/3 innings, giving up two runs (one earned) and five hits with six strikeouts and four walks on 111 pitches (65 strikes). Volquez is 1-2 in his career against the Padres.

"You're always evaluating," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "I'm really happy with how he pitched."

The Padres took a 1-0 lead in the first when Chris Denorfia, who reached on a two-base error by shortstop Dee Gordon and stole third, scored on a groundout by Gyorko with two outs.

Gyorko's solo shot in the fifth capped the scoring.

NOTES: With the Dodgers clinching the National League West title on Thursday at Arizona, manager Don Mattingly didn't start any of his eight regular position players against San Diego. ... Dodgers OF Andre Ethier took batting practice but didn't play for the seventh consecutive game because of a sprained left ankle suffered a week ago. There is no timetable for his return, though Mattingly said he expects to give Ethier some playing time before the regular season ends. ... Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw (14-9, 1.94 ERA) will face Padres RHP Burch Smith (1-1, 6.57) on Saturday. ... If the Dodgers win the next two games, it will give them 400 wins against the Padres. Los Angeles is 398-361 against San Diego.
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