After dropping the opener, the Los Angeles Dodgers responded with back-to-back wins, including a 7-5 victory on Wednesday afternoon, to earn a series victory over the San Diego Padres at Petco Park in what was touted as the biggest matchup of the season.
With the win, the Dodgers became the first team in baseball to clinch a postseason berth and also expanded their National League West lead to 3.5 games. Furthermore, their magic number to clinch the division was lowered to six.
In the series finale, the Dodgers got on the scoreboard first in the second inning when AJ Pollock slugged a solo home run to center, his 11th of the season. Pollock finished the game 1-for-3 before being removed with hamstring tightness, which is considered to be very minor and more of a cramp than strain.
The Dodgers then got two more runs in the third inning, both coming with two outs and Max Muncy doubled home a run and Will Smith brought one home with a single. Smith then broke the game open with a two-run double in the fifth, making it 5-1.
L.A.’s final run of the game came in the sixth inning when Chris Taylor launched a solo home run to the second deck in left field for his sixth home run of the year.
Mookie Betts also had a solid day for the Dodgers, going 2-for-5 and tying a career high with three stolen bases. He outplayed Fernando Tatis Jr. by a wide margin this series in what was a battle between two of the leading NL MVP candidates.
May turns in solid outing out of bullpen
It was Dustin May’s turn to start for the Dodgers, although manager Dave Roberts went with a different approach, starting Brusday Graterol and eventually bringing May out of the bullpen.
That didn’t affect the young right-hander at all as he still turned in 5.1 strong innings, giving up three hits and three runs (one earned) while striking out six and walking one to lower his season ERA to an impressive 2.68.
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