LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers ended April with a six-game losing streak, and yet still find themselves tied for the division lead despite an offense that has sputtered badly under first-year manager Dave Roberts.
A 5-2 loss to the San Diego Padres on Saturday night dropped the Dodgers to a tie with San Francisco at 12-13 — just percentage points ahead of Colorado. The three-time defending NL West champions have totaled just 11 runs over their last six games since beating the Rockies 12-10 at Coors Field on April 24.
"It's going to turn," Roberts said. "Our goal is to win the division, and we still have an opportunity to do that. If you would have asked any one of us when the season started if we'd be happy with being in first place — our record notwithstanding — I think we'd all sign on for that."
The Dodgers began the season with a three-game sweep of the Padres in which they outscored them 25-0. They are now batting a collective .241 with 200 strikeouts.
"These are our guys. I believe in them and I know they're going to come out of it," Roberts said. "You look at tonight and you don't see a whole lot of signs that it's going to turn. It looks lackluster and low-energy, but that's the perception that comes with any team that's struggling offensively.
"They're still confident and they're trying their tails off, so you've got to stick with them. I'm not going to put too much weight into a week of not hitting."
Ross Stripling (0-1) gave up five runs and seven hits through 4 2/3 innings, striking out six and walking two in his fifth big league start. The 26-year-old right-hander, who held San Francisco hitless through 7 1/3 innings in his big league debut on April 8, was coming off a 3-2 loss to Miami on Monday.
"He's got good stuff," Upton said. "We grinded out at-bats against him, drew some walks and came up with some big hits."
The score was tied 2-all when Stripling walked Wil Myers and Matt Kemp with two out in the fifth. It appeared that Stripling was squeezed by umpire Mark Wegner on a 2-2 pitch to Upton, who drove the next one to right-center to score both runners.
Alexei Ramirez followed with an RBI single that chased Stripling and gave San Diego a 5-2 lead.
The Padres grabbed a 2-0 lead in the third with doubles by Jon Jay, Myers and Kemp on three consecutive pitches with one out.
The Dodgers tied it in the bottom half against Colin Rea (2-1) when Chase Utley drove a 3-1 pitch into the right field pavilion for his first homer of the season, after a leadoff walk to Stripling. Utley's 237 career homers are second among active second basemen.
"The walk to the pitcher wasn't ideal in that situation after we scored two," Rea said. "Then falling behind Utley in the count isn't what you want, but I just tried to flush it out of myself and it ended up working out."
Rea allowed two runs and four hits over six innings in his Dodger Stadium debut. Fernando Rodney got three outs for his fourth save in four chances.
Padres: 3B Adam Rosales struck out all four times up, raising his season total to 19 in 47 at-bats. ... Kemp,who hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the eighth inning of Friday's series-opening 5-1 victory is hitting .316 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in 21 games against the Dodgers since they traded him to San Diego in a multiplayer deal that brought Yasmani Grandal to Los Angeles. . Since July 2014, the Padres have won 101 consecutive games in which they led after eight innings.
Dodgers: Utley had started only 11 games in the leadoff spot during his 13 previous big league seasons. This year, he has batted first in 21 games (19 starts) and is batting .289 with seven RBIs. ... Carl Crawford, who leads all active players in triples, hit the 123rd of his career with two out in the fourth. But Rea struck out Stripling on a pitch in the dirt after an intentional walk to Joc Pederson.
Padres: LHP Drew Pomeranz (2-2) will be matched up against a left-hander for the fourth time in his first five starts when he opposes Clayton Kershaw in Sunday's series finale. The only other time they started against each other was May 2, 2012, when Pomeranz allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings and Kershaw gave up five runs over 7 1/3. Neither got a decision, as the Colorado Rockies won 8-5 at Coors Field.
Dodgers: Kershaw (2-1, 2.43 ERA) is 13-6 with a 2.16 ERA in 28 career starts against the Padres. The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner and 2014 MVP has won his last five outings against them, allowing just five runs in 39 innings during that stretch while striking out 49. Kershaw threw seven innings of one-hit ball at San Diego on opening day in a 15-0 victory.