SAN DIEGO (AP) - Chase Headley, the San Diego Padres' $10.5 million man, is struggling.
Two games into the season, he's 0 for 8 with three strikeouts and has stranded three runners in scoring position. In Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, he grounded into double plays in consecutive at_bats.
'It's frustrating but you just keep going,' Headley said.
Headley was slowed in spring training by a strained calf, but he said he was able to get enough at_bats, mostly in minor league games.
'Over the course of a long season, when you are swinging at pitches you are supposed to and taking good swings, those things are going to go your way,' Headley said. 'Unfortunately, the first two games, they haven't necessarily gone our way.'
Headley and the Padres failed for the second straight offseason to agree to a long-term contract. He is eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.
Headley and the Padres agreed to a $10,525,000, one-year deal in January to avoid arbitration.
Yasiel Puig hit a 410-foot drive for a two-run homer and Zack Greinke won his season debut for the Dodgers.
Carl Crawford started the game with a base hit and Puig then drove a 2-1 pitch from Ian Kennedy into the balcony on the third deck of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building in the left-field corner. It was his first homer.
'At the time, when it happens so fast, I don't know if I caught too much plate,' Kennedy said. 'He did a really good job of getting his hands up. He's a really good hitter. Puig did a good job of hitting what I thought was a good pitch. But he's one of the best hitters in the National League.'
It was the second time Kennedy faced the Dodgers since June 11, when, while with Arizona, he hit Puig and Greinke with pitches, inciting a brawl at Dodger Stadium. Kennedy was suspended 10 games. He was traded to the Padres on July 31.
San Diego loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth against Kenley Jansen, on singles by Yonder Alonso and Will Venable, and a walk to Yasmani Grandal. The closer then struck out pinch-hitter Nick Hundley to earn his second save in two chances.
Greinke retired his first 10 batters before Seth Smith homered into a party deck atop the right-field wall, trimming San Diego's deficit to 3-1. Smith earned the start in left field against the right-handed Greinke after homering to start an eighth-inning rally in a 3-1 win Sunday night.
Greinke (1-0) went five innings, allowing two runs and two hits while striking out five and walking two.
'That's a pretty good pitcher and he was competing and we were competing against him,' Headley said. 'It was encouraging that we gave ourselves some chances. You'd like to get the big hit and come through. When you are on the other end of that, it doesn't feel good.'
The Dodgers took a 3-0 lead in the fourth when Dee Gordon singled in Juan Uribe. Uribe doubled to right-center with two outs and took third on second baseman Jedd Gyorko's error.
Gyorko had gone into the shallow outfield to take the throw from right fielder Chris Denorfia. He turned and started to throw, but apparently realized there was no play at third and tried to hold up, losing his grip on the ball. That allowed Uribe to advance.
San Diego pulled to 3-2 in the fifth when Gyorko drew a leadoff walk and eventually scored on wild pitch.
Kennedy (0-1) allowed three runs and five hits in five innings.
Greinke was making his third start in San Diego since the Dodgers and Padres brawled here on April 11. That melee started after Greinke hit Carlos Quentin with a pitch. Quentin rushed the mound and slammed into Greinke, whose left collarbone was broken. Quentin started this season on the disabled list with a bone bruise in his left knee.
NOTES: Reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw won't be ready to come off the disabled list when he's eligible to be activated on April 14. 'This thing is going to take some time,' manager Don Mattingly said. ... Mattingly said OF Matt Kemp is close to coming off the disabled list, but he'll have to prove that he's not afraid to slide into a base or stop quickly while rounding a base. ... The series concludes Wednesday night when Dan Haren of the Dodgers and Tyson Ross of the Padres make their 2014 debuts. ... To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Petco Park opening, David Wells (first start), Brian Giles (first hit) and Mark Loretta (first Padres' home run) threw out ceremonial first pitches.
The Associated Press News Service
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