The Los Angeles Dodgers used two huge innings to beat the San Diego Padres 9-4 on Sunday night at Chavez Ravine. Will Smith homered in the fourth, his second in consecutive nights and Trayce Thompson put the game away with a three-run homer in the seventh.
The Dodgers improved to 92-41 and are nine wins away from clinching the National League West. San Diego fell to 74-61 on the season and finished 1-2 in the weekend series against Los Angeles.
“I didn’t realize (the magic number) was nine. It was a good series,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “It was good to see us play well and win a series. Still a lot of baseball, but just encouraged. It wasn’t a clean game, but the way we responded after they put runs on the board was good to see.”
Caleb Ferguson started on the mound for the Dodgers and tallied three early strikeouts before being replaced by Ryan Pepiot. Los Angeles had planned for Pepiot to get most of the work, but he struggled in the second with catching a rhythm and walked four in two innings.
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“He just really didn’t have enough to put those guys away,” Roberts said. “So to go two-plus, we had to cover some innings.”
Alex Vesia retired three batters in the third and recorded two strikeouts while moving to 4-0 on the season for the Dodgers.
Padres starting pitcher Mike Clevinger stayed on the mound until the bottom half of the fourth and struggled, allowing a leadoff homer from Smith and walked Cody Bellinger with the bases-loaded. Mookie Betts had a sac fly and Trea Turner recorded a two-run double to right to give the Dodgers a 5-1 advantage.
It marked the 18th time this season the Dodgers were able to score five or more runs in an inning.
However, San Diego responded in the top of the seventh and scored three runs after big hits from Jurickson Profar and Jake Cronenworth. Profar doubled to right field, sending Josh Bell and Juan Soto home only before Cronenworth doubled to right while bringing Profar home to get back within one run, 5-4.
“That was huge,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “We really thought we had a chance to come back and win this game. … We gave up four the next inning.”
Justin Turner started off strong in the bottom of the seventh with a double to left, bringing Max Muncy past home plate and the Dodgers quickly put the game away with its four-run inning as the Padres had no response for Thompsons three-run pinch-hit homer that lifted LA to a 9-4 win.
“Depth is huge, especially going into these playoff series and whatnot, playing a long season,” said Betts on Thompsons clutch performance. “He’s been huge. Playing great defense. Timely hitting. He’s been hitting all year. It’s not luck. He’s a really good player.”
“The game was probably closer than the outcome looked,” Melvin said. ”But, you know what, they are the best team in the league right now and we just have to beat these guys if we’re gonna go where we want to go.”
Los Angeles will next prepare for a three-game homestand against the San Francisco Giants (64-68) beginning on Monday at 7:10 p.m.
“We’ve put ourselves in a good spot,” Roberts said. “The challenge is to go out there and play with urgency and keep the bar high.”