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Young's wildness exploited by LA

Young's wildness exploited by LA

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers found themselves in the most pleasant of conundrums Sunday night at Chavez Ravine, not knowing whether to run or walk against the Padres.

In the end, both proved plenty effective, as the Dodgers used their legs as much as their bats in a 9-3 victory over the Padres before a sold-out Dodger Stadium crowd of 55,298.

San Diego pitchers issued a season-high seven walks, including five by starting pitcher Chris Young, who was uncharacteristically wild and ineffective in slowing the Dodgers' running game, as the Padres allowed five stolen bases.

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That all but assured that this would be Young's earliest, non-injury related exit during his young Major League career, as he lasted just two-plus innings, allowing four earned runs.

Four consecutive hits and a walk to begin the third inning not only ended Young's night, but also unceremoniously ended the Major League record-tying streak of 25 consecutive road starts without a loss that he shared with Allie Reynolds.

"I was terrible," Young said, flatly. "I never found my rhythm, never found my groove. Sometimes you can figure it out and find it. I couldn't make the adjustment. I dug us in too deep."

Before a nationally televised audience on ESPN, Young -- who last week signed a four-year, $14.5 million contract -- walked three batters in the second inning alone, which is something not often seen from the 6-foot-10 right-hander.

In fact, Young walked more than three batters just twice in any of his 31 starts in 2006. During that second inning, Young threw 42 pitches, which didn't include two pickoff attempts at first base.

"It takes a lot out of you when you throw that many pitches," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "You start to tire. It's physically tough. It's uncharacteristic of Chris to walk five guys. ... I don't think we'll see that again."

As for the abundance of stolen bases on Sunday, some of that had to do with the burners that the Dodgers have in their lineup, mainly Rafael Furcal, who swiped two bases, and Juan Pierre, who accounted for another steal.

Another reason for the stolen bases -- and one that bears watching as the Padres (7-5) go forward -- is Young's lengthened delivery to the plate that often allows a baserunner to get a good jump. When that happens, it doesn't matter how good of an arm your catcher has.

"They're aggressive and they've got two of the premier basestealers in Furcal and Pierre," Black said. "Chris is working awfully hard in holding runners, but those guys are fast. They get them off everybody."

The ability of teams to run on Young had not been an issue before Sunday for the simple reason that he hadn't allowed many baserunners. In his last start, Young threw seven scoreless innings against the Giants.

While the Dodgers (8-4) essentially ran rampant on the basepaths, San Diego was having difficulty in getting much going against Los Angeles starting pitcher Randy Wolf (1-1), who allowed three runs on six hits over six innings.

"He had pretty good deception," said Padres left fielder Jose Cruz Jr., who drilled a solo home run over the fence in left field in the sixth inning off Wolf. "He was changing speeds and coming at you. He threw good strikes."

That's something the Padres certainly didn't do enough of Sunday, as Young issued five walks and relief pitchers Kevin Cameron and Doug Brocail each added a free pass.

Cameron kept his scoreless-inning streak intact, tossing three scoreless innings with three strikeouts in relief of Young. The rookie right-hander hasn't allowed a run over eight innings this season.

But Cameron's outing was about the lone bright spot Sunday, as San Diego dropped its first series of the season, losing two of three at Chavez Ravine after opening the season with series victories over San Francisco (twice) and Colorado.

In their two victories this weekend, the Dodgers scored a combined 18 runs off a Padres pitching staff that that had largely dominated opponents.

"I would think with both pitching staffs that you wouldn't see what you saw here," Black said.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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