The Padres moved within a game and a half of the Dodgers in the NL West standings after a 7-2 win on Monday night in San Diego that had postseason vibes. The Dodgers, fueled by the return of Justin Turner and the best start of Tony Gonsolin‘s career, evened up the hyped series with a 3-1 late summer victory at Petco Park.
Mookie Betts started off the game with a leadoff single against Zach Davies, advancing to second on a Corey Seager grounder to short. Turner, in his first at-bat since returning from the injured list with a hamstring strain, drove in the first run of the game on a bloop single to right.
Turner has reached base in 22 straight games.
Gonsolin, coming off his worst outing of the season in an emergency relief appearance when Dustin May injured his foot on a liner, aimed for a bounce back start. It was more than that. He went seven efficient innings, allowing only one run on four hits with two strikeouts and no walks on 90 pitches (59 strikes).
Gonsolin opened his gem with a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the 1st, retiring Trent Grisham, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado in order. In the 2nd, Wil Myers drove a Gonsolin slider to right field for a two-out double, but the Pads failed to score.
The Dodgers added another run to their lead in the top of the 3rd. They had the Padres cornered with two outs when Turner singled and advanced to third on a Will Smith base hit. Then Cody Bellinger hit the third straight base hit vs. Davies in the frame to drive in Turner and make it 2-0. It’s Bellinger’s first run batted in for September.
AJ Pollock robbed Fernando Tatis Jr. of a home run by stretching his glove over the center field wall for the catch. Gonsolin battled Machado for the final out, escaping the inning without more damage.
Dave Roberts countered Jayce Tingler‘s bunting with some bunting of his own. Chris Taylor laid down a nice bunt single in the 4th, but the Dodgers’ offense wasted the opportunity. Pollock whiffed, and Joc Pederson grounded into a double play.
The Cat Man came back to pitch another 1-2-3 inning in the 4th.
Edwin Rios is hopefully back to hitting ginormous dongs after struggling at the plate this month (1-for-19). His 109 mph, 413 ft. solo shot in the 5th gave the good guys a 3-1 lead.
Turner’s third hit of the night was a long two-out single in the 5th.
Tim Hill came in to relieve Davies in the 7th. Davies allowed three runs on eight hits with five strikeouts against the Dodgers in 6 IP.
Gonsolin recorded an out in the 7th inning for the first time in his MLB career, striking out Austin Nola. He was locked in with excellent command of all his pitches. The Padres went 0-for-13 on against his four-seamer. He didn’t strike out a lot of guys, but he made a good case for a postseason start.
Caleb Ferguson took over for Gonsolin in the 8th, trying to get the Dodgers’ bullpen back on track. After he struck out Profar, Ferguson grimaced in pain and had to come out after one batter.
Update: It’s Ferguson’s elbow. Not good.
Kenley Jansen got his first chance at a save opportunity after blowing it in Houston on Saturday. The Padres loaded the bases against Jansen with one out. Tatis grounded out to short. Machado singled on a 3-2 count to bring the tying run to the plate with Mitch Moreland. Pollock was playing extremely deep in center and misread the ball. It dropped in front of him for a hit.
That brought up Myers with the bases loaded and one out. Jansen bore down and struck out Myers on three pitches. The big fella came back to make a lot of good pitches, and he struck out Jake Cronenworth to tie up the series.
Jansen was emotional on the postgame show when he talked with Alanna Rizzo.
“I’m not going to let stuff like that happen in the past define our season.”
The Dodgers are now 34-15 and 18-7 in away games, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Padres in the NL West with 11 games remaining in the regular season.
Next up: The Dodgers and Padres clash for the final time in the regular season with the rubber game Wednesday. Dustin May (1-1, 2.81 ERA, 4.52 FIP) starts for the first time since a liner hit his left foot early in his last outing. The Padres have yet to officially announce a starter. First pitch is at 1:10 PM PST on SNLA.