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Saturday, April 7th, 2012

Luebke loses season debut

From Associated Press

San Diego's Cory Luebke fires a pitch during Friday's game with Los Angeles. Lue. . .

By BERNIE WILSON
AP Sports Writer
SAN DIEGO - The San Diego Padres appear to have picked up right where they left off last year, when they were 71-91 and last in the NL West.
Chad Billingsley came within two outs of a complete game, striking out 11 and allowing only three hits in the Los Angeles Dodgers' 6-0 victory over the Padres on Friday night.
The impressive start by Billingsley (1-0) came a day after reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw came out after three innings because of the stomach flu in the Dodgers' 5-3 season-opening win.
Billingsley retired pinch-hitter Jeremy Hermida leading off the ninth before allowing Cameron Maybin's single to left. Manager Don Mattingly came out to get Billingsley, accompanied by boos from Dodgers fans. Jamey Wright got the final two outs.
Billingsley walked one and reached double digits in strikeouts for the ninth time in his career. He was on from the start, striking out the side in the first inning and again in the third. He had at least one strikeout in every inning except the eighth and ninth.
Andre Ethier drove in four runs with a double and triple.
The Padres committed two more errors, giving them five in the first two games. They've struck out 18 times in 18 innings.
After being shut out 19 times last year, the most in the majors, they were blanked on the season's second day. The Padres have lost 12 of their last 14 games against the Dodgers.
"I put us behind the 8-ball," said Cory Luebke, who allowed Ethier's big hits. "As bad as it was, if I take care of Ethier, it would be a different outcome."
Ethier lined a double into the gap in right-center with two outs in the first to bring in Mark Ellis and Juan Rivera, who singled.
With two outs in the fifth, Ethier tripled off the fence in right-center to score Matt Kemp, who had singled, and Rivera, who walked. That gave the Dodgers a 6-0 lead and chased Luebke (0-1), who agreed late in spring training to a contract that could be worth $27.75 million if the Padres exercise his options for 2016 and 2017.
"Ethier got him with two sliders that stayed in the middle of the zone," manager Bud Black said. "That's what was his undoing. He had a couple of opportunities to limit the damage. But those two breaking balls to Ethier stayed in the middle of the plate and really cost him."
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