SAN DIEGO — His roster already limited because of an injury to Carlos Quentin, Padres manager Bud Black had Yonder Alonso moving all over the infield in a crazy ninth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night.
Mark Kotsay pinch-hit for second baseman Alexi Amarista in the eighth and then stayed in the game at first base, forcing Alonso to move to second base. After Adrian Gonzalez singled to right past a diving Alonso, he and third baseman Jedd Gyorko switched positions.
After Andre Ethier was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Alonso and Gyorko swapped spots again.
"When we pinch-hit Kots, it kind of called for desperate measures," Black said. "That's what we thought we had to do to win."
The Padres did keep the Dodgers from adding on to their 4-1 lead.
"I knew it was going to happen because Buddy had given me a warning it could happen," Alonso said. "I was ready for it. It wasn't anything out of the ordinary. It wasn't like I was playing center field. I was still playing the infield."
Black said the Padres didn't know where Gonzalez might hit the ball. But with Ethier at bat and runners on first and third, "if Ethier was going to hit a ground ball and there was a good chance for us to turn a double play, we'd rather have Gyorko at second," Black said.
Carl Crawford led off with an opposite-field homer and A.J. Ellis added a two-run shot to back Chad Billingsley's strong season debut.
Billingsley (1-0) opened the season on the disabled list after bruising his right index finger during a bunting drill on March 15. He held San Diego to one run and five hits in six innings, with three strikeouts and three walks.
Crawford homered to left field on the second pitch from Eric Stults (1-1). He tripled off the left-field wall with one out in the fifth and scored on Mark Ellis' single through a drawn-in infield to make it 4-1.
A.J. Ellis homered to left with one out in the second. Luis Cruz was aboard on a single.
Brandon League earned his third save in as many chances, but only after allowing two runs on three hits in the ninth. The second run that inning scored when Chris Denorfia struck out but reached on a passed ball by A.J. Ellis.
The Padres have given up 13 homers in eight games.
San Diego's Nick Hundley had four hits to tie his career high.
Stults allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings, struck out four and walked none. Every Dodgers regular except Gonzalez had at least one hit off Stults.
Billingsley's only rough inning was the fourth. Will Venable drew a leadoff walk and scored on an RBI double by Denorfia. Alonso walked but was erased on a double play and Amarista flied out to end the inning.
Denorfia started in place of left fielder Quentin, who was hit by a pitch on the right forearm in San Diego's 9-3 win Tuesday.
NOTES: Black said Quentin was still a little sore Wednesday. ... After sitting out the last two games, Cruz singled in the second to snap an 0-for-17 slump to start the season. ... Ethier has a hit in his first seven games this season to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. ... It was Crawford's fourth consecutive game with multiple hits and his sixth in seven starts this season. ... Padres 3B Chase Headley took batting practice for the first time since breaking his left thumb in a spring game on March 17. He said he felt no pain. Headley will likely go on a rehab assignment in the minors before being activated. ... The series concludes Thursday night when Dodgers RHP Zack Greinke (1-0, 0.00 ERA) faces RHP Jason Marquis (0-1, 3.00).