The Dodgers had a prime opportunity tonight to put their foot on the necks of the Padres to start the NLDS, but instead the Padres fought and took advantage of every mistake the Dodgers made to tie the series and send the Dodgers heading to San Diego with a 5-3 loss.
Less than ideal.
The Padres ended up striking first in the 1st with a Manny Machado solo shot to give them a 1-0 lead.
But the Dodgers answered right back in their half of the 1st behind Freddie Freeman‘s own solo shot to tie things up at 1-1.
The Dodgers then actually controversially took the lead, controversial because Darvish seemed to strikeout Max Muncy on an 0-2 pitch, but it was called a ball, and after working the count to 2-2 he drilled a homer to make it 2-1.
While he didn’t give up any runs, Kershaw labored in the 2nd, giving up a pair of singles and uncorking a wild pitch that put two into scoring position. However, he managed to escape with back-to-back strikeouts.
The real trouble came in the 3rd. A roller to third led to a Ha-Seong Kim infield single and Juan Soto followed with a single of his own to put a pair on. Machado then ripped a double down the line to left to score Kim and tie the game, and while Kershaw got a strikeout, Jake Cronenworth battled after getting into an 0-2 hole and grounded out to first to give the Padres a 3-2 lead.
Kershaw did well to escape that jam and not allow things to escalate, and he actually closed very strong, retiring the last nine batters he faced to get through the 5th inning.
Could’ve been worse, I suppose: 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 6 K, 80 Pitches.
Like I said though, it was a back-and-forth affair, and the Dodgers came back in the 3rd behind Trea Turner‘s second homer of the series. Unfortunately only another solo shot, but a 3-3 tie nevertheless.
He also faced trouble in the 4th after a one-out walk to Justin Turner and a Gavin Lux single, but Darvish bounced back with strikeouts against the struggling bottom of the order. In the 5th he seemed to be in trouble after Mookie Betts walked (given his stolen base threat), but Aaron Nola got him at second, the first caught stealing for the Dodgers against the Padres all year.
With Kershaw out of the game, the first arm out of the pen was Brusdar Graterol. Brandon Drury greeted him with a jam-shot single and Graterol then got consecutive routine grounders, but the second one was muffed at short by Trea and two were on with one out. Jurickson Profar naturally took advantage with a groundball single to score a run and make it 4-3 for the Padres.
Back-to-back stellar defensive plays from Brusdar against a Trent Grisham safety squeeze and then a Cody Bellinger catch on a liner to center prevented further damage, making it just one unearned run for Graterol.
Surprisingly, Darvish continued in the 6th, but he exited quickly after a Will Smith single and then Muncy one-hopping the wall that only resulted in a single and runners at the corners because Smith and/or Muncy got deke’d by Soto.
That proved important as Robert Suarez entered and struck out JT and then rolled a double play from Lux to keep the Padres lead at 1.
Unfortunately, a similar story played out in the 7th, with the Dodgers getting two on with one out after a Bellinger soft single and a Mookie double that evaded the glove of Grisham. But Trea grounded out sharply to Machado for an out, then after an intentional walk to Freddie to load the bases, Will flew out to center to end that chance as well.
Meanwhile, Yency Almonte was perfect in the 7th, striking out the side in order. However, Blake Treinen could not keep the deficit at one, as he gave up a towering no-doubt homer to Cronenworth to push the Padres lead to 5-3. He also gave up a walk and a steal, then an intentional walk before he was able to get through the 8th. Tommy Kahnle then got the 9th clean by striking out the side in order.
Too bad the Dodger bats kept getting chances and kept failing to cash them in. In the 8th, they got a two-out rally with a Lux single, which led to Josh Hader entering. He then walked Trayce Thompson to put the tying run on base, but Dave Roberts decided … Austin Barnes was the best pinch-hitting option for Bellinger, and he flew out to center to end the threat.
Hader continued in the 9th, cruising through the first two batters but then giving up a double to Freeman before getting Will to fly out to end it on a 3-2 count.
They went 0-for-8 with RISP and left 10 on base.
The NLDS is now tied 1-1, which is not devastating in itself, but they had every chance to win it and couldn’t get it done.
The Dodgers will now travel to San Diego for Game 3 against the Padres at 2:37 PM HT/5:37 PM PT/8:37 PM ET on FS1. In that game the Dodgers are remaining mum on the starter, but it’ll probably be Tyler Anderson against Blake Snell.