Walker Buehler struggles in second start as Dodgers lose series in San Diego – Orange County Register

SAN DIEGO – The Dodgers had to know Walker Buehler’s return from a second Tommy John surgery, flexor tendon repair and nearly two years away from major-league competition probably wouldn’t go smoothly.

In that respect, he has met expectations.

Buehler gave up back-to-back home runs in the first inning and left with the bases loaded in the fourth inning as the Dodgers lost to the San Diego Padres 4-0 on Sunday afternoon at Petco Park.

The Padres took two of three games in the weekend series, drawing three sellout crowds and a total of 133,970 fans – a Petco Park record for a three-game series. The Seoul-mates split their two-game series in South Korea but the Dodgers have now lost two series to the Padres, one in Los Angeles and one in San Diego.

Buehler made his return to the Dodgers’ rotation last week at home against the Miami Marlins, going four innings and allowing three runs on six hits. His last two innings in that comeback start were his best and there was optimism that he would continue to progress on Sunday.

That optimism took a 1-2 punch in the first inning when Fernando Tatis Jr. crushed a Buehler fastball, sending it 442 feet over the center field fence. The next batter, Jake Cronenworth, did a shorter version of the same thing.

After a walk and a stolen base, Buehler got out of the first then avoided more damage in the second inning despite an infield single by Jackson Merrill and a double by Luis Arraez.

Buehler retired the side in order in the third but ran into more trouble in the fourth.

The Padres loaded the bases with one out on a single, walk and hit batter, Buehler sending Ha-Seong Kim reeling with a fastball to the hand.

That was the end of Buehler’s day. Ryan Yarbrough minimized the damage, allowing just one run to score after Buehler left the scene.

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