SAN DIEGO — In their first game since clinching the NL West title, the Los Angeles Dodgers were no match for Padres rookie Hunter Renfroe.
The newcomer hit his first career grand slam and also had a three-run shot to drive in all of San Diego’s runs Tuesday night in a 7-1 victory against the Dodgers.
Los Angeles fell two games behind the NL East champion Washington Nationals for home-field advantage in their Division Series matchup.
Renfroe, the MVP of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, was called up last Wednesday. He hit a high, arcing, three-run homer to left field off Kenta Maeda with two outs in the first inning. Renfroe’s grand slam to straightaway center came on a full-count pitch from Louis Coleman with two outs in the eighth. The young outfielder has three homers in six games.
Dodgers rookie manager Dave Roberts was on the Padres’ staff the last several years, so he knows about Renfroe
“He’s got big power,” Roberts said. “We left some balls out over the plate and elevated to him, and do that with a power hitter and that can happen. He had a big day.”
Roberts didn’t think there was any hangover from the Dodgers clinching the division crown at home on Sunday.
“I thought we were ready to go. We got behind the 8-ball with that three-run first inning,” he said.
“After the first inning, Kenta was good. He was missing with his breaking ball and fastball a little and he left a breaking ball up to Renfroe. Outside of that, he got his strikeouts and soft contact. I told him I thought it was a positive outing.”
Maeda had faced the Padres three times earlier this year, but they have a lot of new players since his last start against San Diego on July 10.
“It wasn’t miscommunication as much as it was facing these new hitters and I wasn’t familiar with them,” he said through a translator.
Maeda (16-10), who beat the Padres 7-0 at Petco Park in his big league debut on April 6, had his start moved up one day so he’ll get another one before the playoffs begin.
Paul Clemens (4-5) held the Dodgers to one run and three hits in five innings. He struck out two and walked one.
Chase Utley homered for the Dodgers in the third, his 13th.
Dodgers: 1B Adrian Gonzalez left the game with a sinus infection. Roberts said he doesn’t think it’s serious.
Dodgers: Rookie RHP Jose De Leon (2-0, 5.52) had his start pushed back from Tuesday to Wednesday. He beat the Padres 7-4 in his major league debut on Sept. 4 at Dodger Stadium.
Padres: Rookie RHP Luis Perdomo (8-10, 5.59) is scheduled to make his 20th start for San Diego.