Even after being demoted from the closer’s role last week, Craig Kimbrel blew another game for the Dodgers on Tuesday night.
The left-handed right-hander was the sole culprit in the Dodgers’ 4-3 loss to the San Diego Padres at Petco Park, in which a shaky defense contributed to the Padres’ first three runs and the Dodgers’ one. for 17 with runners. in scoring position.
But it was Kimbrel’s blunders that proved fatal in the 10th: a pair of two-out walks, including a free pass to Jorge Alfaro, that gave the Padres their third walk-off win over the Dodgers this year and fourth. they scored the go-ahead run in the ninth inning or later.
“I just missed some fastballs and threw some uncompetitive pitches,” Kimbrel said. “Men walked in.”
To get even in the 10th inning, the Dodgers, who have a club winning record of just 106-48 to chase the stretch, and the Padres, who are 86-68 and still trying to clinch a playoff spot, did trade a series of miscues and mistakes.
The hosts opened the scoring in a two-run first inning that was extended when third baseman Justin Turner was dropped by a potential inning-ending double play pitch – the only run the Padres scored against left-hander Tyler Anderson in a strong inning. it starts.
The Dodgers tied the score at 2-2 in the sixth after the Padres failed to convert a potential inning-ending double play, turning the sequence too late to get Max Muncy out at first base.
The Padres regained the lead in the eighth after Chris Taylor dropped a running catch to left to start the inning and Turner – who came up limping after sliding into second on Muncy’s grounder in the sixth – committed an error another with two outs and the bases loaded.
Then, with the Dodgers down to their last out in the ninth, Trea Turner (who had three hits, including a leadoff double in the ninth) scored on a passed ball by Alfaro.
“It was a little sloppy,” Turner said. “But it happens sometimes.”
Something that’s happened far too many times this year: Kimbrel giving a game away late, with the former eight-time All-Star now sporting a 6-7 record and 4.02 ERA.
His 10th inning collapse was almost averted when he struck out Manny Machado with runners on the corners for the second out of the inning – which currently felt like one of his best series of the season.
“It’s just a good battle right there,” Roberts said. “Craig made pitches when he needed to.”
A moment later, however, the old Kimbrel reappeared.
After getting Brandon Drury in a 1-and-2 hole, Kimbrel missed with two fastballs and curved all over his glove side.
Next up was Alfaro, a right-handed hitting bully who had just 10 walks this season and none over 63 plate appearances since mid-July.
“I mean, it’s not a secret,” Alfaro told reporters after the game.
However, Kimbrel was unable to locate the area. Four times, Kimbrel attempted to land a fastball beyond the outer edge of the zone. Four times, he missed again, the last coming in a 3-and-2 count that Alfaro took before hitting the baseline.
“I just looked at the dugout,” Alfaro said. “I’m like, Oh, s–t, I walked!”
Kimbrel’s response was no different.
he shouted in anger. He looked down as he left the mound. Then he tried to grasp whatever confidence he had left after the game.
“I think so,” he said when asked if he could still contribute to the Dodgers in the playoffs. “I think I have some good pitching to do in the next few days to prove that. I really think I know I can. I don’t think I can. I know I can. You just have to do it.”
“Like I said, every day is a test,” the manager replied when asked a similar question. “He has to get out there. I’ll continue to figure it out there when it makes sense and we’ll make decisions as we go down the line.”
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.