SAN DIEGO — Ross Stripling got past the San Diego Padres despite not having his best stuff and now can look forward to his first All-Star Game.
And his defending NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers grabbed sole possession of first place in the NL West for the first time this season, by a half-game over the Arizona Diamondbacks, after beating San Diego 3-2 on Thursday night.
The Dodgers spent much of April and May in fourth place. They were tied for first on July 5, an off day.
“It beats being in second place,” manager Dave Roberts said. “Outside of that, we’re going to focus on the Angels and try to finish these next three games out with wins. We made it a little tough on ourselves early but we righted the ship. But we’ve got a long way to go.”
Andrew Toles broke a scoreless tie with an RBI single off Tyson Ross in the seventh inning and the Dodgers took three of four from the last-place Padres.
Stripling (8-2) held the Padres to six hits in six scoreless innings, struck out five and walked one. He was added to the NL All-Star roster Wednesday in place of St. Louis right-hander Miles Mikolas, who is scheduled to start Sunday.
“I watched Mookie Betts hit a grand slam today, so I’ll try not to throw that pitch,” Stripling joked. “But yeah, looking forward to it. Now I can get this one behind me and worry about getting my family to D.C. and my wife and some friends and get some logistics figured out.”
He said his outing “was just kind of a battle. I feel they put together a bunch of ABs; definitely was not missing a bunch of barrels. Little bit of luck on my end tonight. Overall, we’ll take it.”
Stripling said it’ll be more important if the Dodgers are still in first place on Sunday.
“If we can be in first place in three days heading into the All-Star break, that’s a good feeling,” he said. “Obviously the Diamondbacks have put a good season together, but we’ve been grinding along with them and able to hold our heads and get into first place is cool.”
Ross (5-8) took a one-hit shutout into the seventh before it fell apart. Chris Taylor doubled with one out and manager Andy Green came out to check on the big right-hander. Green let Ross stay in, but he allowed Toles’ single on his 101st pitch and was pulled.
“Sometimes you execute and they get enough of it, and that’s what happened tonight,” Ross said.
“He was really good tonight,” Green said. “He threw the ball great. Got pitches in all day when he wanted to. Slider was back, had some depth and bite to it. Got some punch-outs again. He was very much himself today. … I hate that it ended that way for him today, but he was really good.”
Craig Stammen loaded the bases by hitting Enrique Hernandez and Chase Utley with pitches before pinch-hitter Matt Kemp, voted to start in the All-Star Game, singled to bring in Toles. Hernandez was thrown out trying to score from second. Joc Pederson followed with an RBI single.
All-Star closer Kenley Jansen pitched the ninth for his 26th save.
San Diego’s Wil Myers hit a two-run double off Scott Alexander with two outs in the seventh. The runs were charged to Daniel Hudson, who walked Austin Hedges leading off the inning and then allowed a single to pinch-hitter Franmil Reyes before making way for Alexander.
Ross no doubt boosted his trade value after two rough starts. He has been rumored to be on the trading block, along with All-Star closer Brad Hand. Ross allowed two runs and three hits, struck out five and walked three.
The Padres optioned rookie left-hander Joey Lucchesi to Triple-A El Paso and recalled catcher Raffy Lopez. That will allow Lucchesi to make a minor league start during the All-Star break and then it’s expected he’ll be recalled and put in the back end of the rotation. He lasted only four innings in a 4-2 loss Wednesday night.
Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler (4-2, 3.44 ERA) is scheduled to start the opener of the second round of the Freeway Series against the Angels at Dodger Stadium on Friday night. It’ll be his first start since being placed on the 10-day DL with right ribcage soreness on June 29. The Angels will go with Felix Pena (1-0, 3.63).
Padres: LHP Clayton Richard (7-8, 4.50) starts the opener of a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs, who counter with RHP Tyler Chatwood (3-5, 5.01).
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