MemberOctober 7, 2020 at 10:22 pm
With tensions through the roof, it’s the Los Angeles Dodgers who prevail, holding on to a 6-5 victory over the San Diego Padres in game two of the National League Division Series where the word entertaining would be a large understatement.
Hoping to build off of an extremely strong performance in game two of the Wild Card Series, it took Clayton Kershaw just one pitch to get a pop-out of Fernando Tatís Jr. to start the game. Kershaw proceeded to strike-out Manny Machado and work a ground-out of Eric Hosmer to complete the first frame with his pitch count still in single digits. Zach Davies went to work for the Padres and was welcomed by a Mookie Betts base hit through the hole. Davies responded with ground-outs of Corey Seager and Max Muncy, along with a strike-out of Justin Turner. Tommy Pham opened the second with a bloop single, and Wil Myers’ double into the gap brought home the game’s first run. Kershaw managed to keep Myers at 2nd with a pair of strike-outs and a ground-out. In the bottom half, Will Smith lined-out to the warning track, and Davies punched-out Cody Bellinger and Chris Taylor. Kershaw worked a seven-pitch top of the third, and AJ Pollock led-off the home half with a single the opposite way. After failing to lay a bunt down, Austin Barnes advanced Pollock to 3rd with a single. Betts ripped a line-drive that unfortunately was caught by a diving Machado, robbing Betts of extra bases. Seager, however, wasn’t robbed as his double down the line remained just fair to score a pair, giving the Dodgers the edge, 2-1. Turner grounded-out, but Muncy muscled a knock up the middle, allowing Seager to score and double LA’s advantage to 3-1. In the fourth, Kershaw struck-out Eric Hosmer and Myers, although Pham and Jake Cronenworth each singled. Kershaw, working a fly-out of Jurickson Profar, escaped unscathed. The Dodgers lead extended to 4-1 in their turn when Bellinger crushed a leadoff solo home run to center field. Taylor lined-out sharply prior to Barnes’ two-out knock. Betts then singled, but Barnes was cut down attempting to take 3rd to end the inning. In the midst of a clean frame in the fifth, Kershaw froze Trent Grisham with a beautiful curveball. Corey Seager began LA’s half with a double, but he was left stranded. In the sixth, Machado and Hosmer hit back-to-back homers off of Kershaw, pulling San Diego within a run, 4-3. Kershaw answered with three straight outs to conclude his solid day: 6IP, 3ER, 6H, 0BB, 6K and the W. Emilio Pagán relieved Davies and pitched a perfect frame to send the game to the seventh. Blake Treinen entered and got two outs quickly before hitting Grisham. Up came Tatís Jr., and Brusdar Graterol was called upon for the matchup. Tatís Jr. smashed a deep fly-ball to dead center field, and as the ball seemingly made its way over the wall, Bellinger leaped, reached over, and made an unbelievable game-saving catch to keep the Dodgers in front. Graterol threw his glove in celebration and in hopes of expressing his gratitude. Machado, who intensely batflipped earlier, yelled at Graterol to express his displeasure; however, Graterol, keeping his cool, only smiled and blew him a kiss as his teammates motioned Machado back to his dugout. The bottom frame commenced with a four-pitch walk to Barnes, followed by a one-out single by Seager. Barnes and Seager pulled off a successful double steal, leading to Turner’s sacrifice-fly. Muncy’s bloop base hit scored another, making it 6-3. Graterol got Machado to ground-out during a clean top of the eighth. LA went down in order offensively, and Kenley Jansen was given the ball in a save situation. He struck-out Myers on three pitches, but lost an eleven-pitch battle with Cronenworth, who singled. The pinch-hitting Mitch Moreland doubled into the gap, scoring Cronenworth and bringing the tying run to the plate. Jansen got a pop-out of Austin Nola, but Grisham singled to score Moreland and keep the Padres’ rally alive, pulling them back within a run. In a spot where he again failed to get the job done, Jansen was yanked, and Joe Kelly came in to face Tatís Jr.. For Jansen, there’s no more excuses — he must be removed from the closer role. Kelly walked Tatís Jr., and Machado was handed the baton. Machado then earned a walk, loading the bases and passing it to Hosmer. With nearly all hope lost, Kelly made some great pitches and won a chess match with Hosmer, getting a ground-ball to Kiké Hernàndez who fielded and threw to Muncy to end the ballgame.
The fired-up boys in blue barely, just barely, sneak out of Arlington with a game two victory in the NLDS, setting them up to clinch the series tomorrow. They’ll be right back in the same stadium in Arlington of course, however, they’ll switch dugouts with the Padres and bat in the top halves as the “away” team. The Dodgers won’t announce their starter until tomorrow, but the bulk of the innings are likely to belong to a combo between Tony Gonsolin, Julio Urías, and/or Dustin May. For San Diego, in a must-win, Adrian Morejon will get the ball. Morejon, a 22-year-old lefty, went 2-2 with a 4.66 ERA in the regular season. LA hopes for the sweep, but more importantly, they look to put the Pads away in a very possible momentum-shifter. 6pm first pitch. Go Dodgers!
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