Chase Headley took care of two opening-week frustrations with one swing.
Headley hit a grand slam, his first hit of the season, to help carry the San Diego Padres to an 8-4 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday and avoid a four-game sweep.( Mon Apr 09 08:00:28 PDT 2012 $__output )
Clayton Richard and two relievers combined on a four-hitter and Andy Parrino had his first big league homer for the Padres.
"We really didn't play how we're capable of playing or how we wanted to play, but I think we averted disaster," Headley said. "If you lose the first four, you really put yourself behind the 8-ball. So it's good to get that first win out of the way, and hopefully we can refocus and play better going forward."
Headley's second career slam, off Scott Elbert in the eighth, ended his 0-for-12 slump to start the season. Headley also walked three times.
He knew he was eventually going to get a hit.
"I was starting to wonder, though," Headley said. "It happens two or three times a year, but when you start a season that way, you're just sitting there and it's like, man, did I forget how to do this? It was nice to get the monkey off the back, and obviously, the same thing with getting the first win out of the way."
Headley's slam came on an 0-1 slider.
"I felt like I was seeing the ball a lot better today," he said. "All day I had better at-bats, letting the ball come to me. I finally got a pitch I could handle and put a good swing on it."
Still, the Padres had their second three-error game of the series and have committed eight in four games. Richard made two errors, one on a routine throw to first and the other while covering the bag.
Richard's only other mistake in seven dominant innings was allowing Matt Kemp's two-run homer to straightaway center field with two outs in the sixth. Pinch-hitter Mark Ellis was aboard on a leadoff error by right fielder Will Venable.
Kemp has two homers and eight RBIs after four games. Andre Ethier also hit a two-run homer, his first, off Ernesto Frieri in the ninth. Ethier has eight RBIs as well.
Richard was making his first start since July 4. He had season-ending shoulder surgery on July 29.
"It was fun. Winning baseball games is fun," Richard said. "We were able to do that today so we'll move forward with a smile on our faces"
Richard (1-0) allowed just one other hit, struck out three and walked none. The two runs he allowed were unearned.
Richard didn't allow a runner until his fielding error let Dee Gordon reach leading off the fourth, and didn't give up a hit until Juan Uribe singled to right in the fifth.
Richard said the key was throwing strikes early in the count.
"You know the middle of their order is extremely talented, so you don't want to fall behind those guys," he said.
The Padres, bedeviled in the first three games by errors, strikeouts and a lack of hitting, took their first lead of the season on Jesus Guzman's RBI single with one out in the first off former teammate Aaron Harang. It scored leadoff batter Cameron Maybin, who was hit by a pitch and stole second. Yonder Alonso followed with a sacrifice fly.
The Padres added an unearned run in the third when Guzman reached on Uribe's error at shortstop and eventually scored on John Baker's single.
Parrino homered for a 4-0 lead in the fourth, an opposite-field shot for the switch-hitter that landed in the Padres' bullpen beyond the fence in left-center.
Harang (0-1), who led his hometown Padres with 14 wins last year before signing with the Dodgers as a free agent, had a rough return to Petco Park. He allowed four runs, three earned, on seven hits in 4 1-3 innings while walking five and striking out six.
"There was a little anxiety being able to come here and pitch, but I always felt I was pitching just tense out there," Harang said. "When you do that, you're going to scuffle. And when you do stuff wrong and miss location and you're up and down in the zone, one thing led to another. I was pressing too much."
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