Amarista, Norris homer to back Morrow as Padres top Dodgers
SAN DIEGO (AP) The San Diego Padres avoided a sweep at the hands of the rival Los Angeles Dodgers thanks to a mighty mite shortstop who drove a ball 398 feet and a pitcher who made only one mistake.
Brandon Morrow pitched seven strong innings to earn his first win with San Diego and Alexi Amarista and Derek Norris homered and the Padres beat the NL West-leading Dodgers 3-1 Sunday to snap a four-game losing streak.
A night after the Padres allowed four home runs, Morrow gave up only one long ball, a leadoff shot in the fifth by Alex Guerrero. The rookie has five homers and 13 RBIs since making his season debut on April 11.
The 5-foot-6, 159-pound Amarista gave the Padres a 1-0 lead when he drove a 3-2 pitch from Scott Baker into the seats in right field leading off the third, his first. It came on the 10th pitch of the at-bat.
''We all know Alexi, man; he's a hard-nosed player,'' manager Bud Black said. ''He's in every pitch. But that was a good one. Not that that set the tone, but that loosened up the dugout a little bit, even though it's only one run.
''In these games, against division rivals, the Dodgers, a lot of it is momentum. A lot of that is from what happens offensively. Obviously Brandon did his part to keep the momentum on our side, but that was a really good at-bat by one of our guys who fights every day for us.''
Dodgers starter Scott Baker ''left it in the middle of the plate and I put a good swing on it,'' Amarista said through translator Jose Valentin, the first base coach.
Morrow (1-0), signed as a free agent in December, held the Dodgers to one run and five hits and striking out four and walking one. He had no-decisions in his first three starts.
Adrian Gonzalez, who hit a three-run shot in Saturday night's 11-8 Dodgers win for his sixth homer against the Padres this season, didn't hit a ball out of the infield in going 0 for 3 against Morrow and 0 for 4 overall.
''I think we just made better pitches,'' Black said.
Morrow went up the ladder to strike out Gonzalez in the first inning.
''I've always worked up and down. I like to change the eye level,'' Morrow said. ''You go up there to change the eyesight.
''I feel I'm really throwing well,'' he said. ''It was a big day for us all around to avoid the sweep.''
Said Norris: ''He had the ability when he needed to have some high heat to get it by him. It was crucial to get one game out of this series. That was the game we needed.''
Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth for his sixth save in as many chances, striking out Andre Ethier and Gonzalez, and getting Yasmani Grandal to foul out.
The teams combined to hit 10 homers in two games and 11 in the series.
Scott Baker (0-1) lost his Dodgers debut after they selected his contract from Triple-A Oklahoma City. He signed with the club on April 5 after being released by the New York Yankees at the end of spring training
Baker gave up three runs and four hits in seven innings.
''I got a little excited. I was a little jumpy at first but I felt like I settled down,'' Baker said. ''There were a couple of pitches that I would like to have back. I didn't mind the Amarista home run but a couple of two-strike pitches that I think I could have executed better.''
Norris, acquired from Oakland during San Diego's December roster revamp, homered to left with one out in the seventh, his first with the Padres. Norris also had an RBI single in the fourth.
Norris threw out Jimmy Rollins trying to steal second in the first. He's already thrown out eight baserunners.
San Diego's Yangervis Solarte was thrown out trying to score from first on Matt Kemp's double to center field in the first inning. He slid head-first and appeared to injure his left wrist but he stayed in the game.
Dodgers: RF Yasiel Puig (strained left hamstring) and reliever Joel Peralta (neck) were placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Dodgers: LHP Brett Anderson (1-1, 5.40) faces the Giants for the second straight start after losing Tuesday at San Francisco. The Giants counter with LHP Madison Bumgarner (1-1, 4.63).
Padres: Ace James Shields (2-0, 3.24) is scheduled to start the opener of a three-game series against AL West leader Houston, which counters with RHP Collin McHugh (3-0, 2.41).