Padres allow the Dodgers to tie the game at two in the eighth inning but hold on with a game-winning sac-fly from Austin Nola.
The San Diego Padres had a different mentality heading into the 2022 season, especially when it came to playing the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 2021, it seemed like every game was energy-filled and was like a playoff game. While it would be unfair to say that it affected their season, it definitely added pressure to the team that was looking to make a name for themselves against their Los Angeles rivals.
While the first game of the series did not go the Padres’ way, game two certainly had the feel of a game from 2021. Not a good or a bad thing, but the Padres had revenge on their mind after dropping game one 6-1.
In front of a sold-out crowd of 44,444 at Petco Park, the Padres delivered. Albeit in a more dramatic fashion than they would have liked, but delivered nonetheless.
Yu Darvish was spectacular for San Diego, going six scoreless innings while allowing one hit and striking out seven. Darvish labored in the first couple innings, throwing 51 pitches to get through the first two frames. However, after that, he settled down and dominated Los Angeles, needing just 39 pitches to get through the next four innings.
“He had thrown a ton of pitches in those first couple innings, but man, once he settled in, it was pretty special to watch,” said Jake Cronenworth after the game.
To end his night, Darvish sat down the final 13 batters that he faced. In fact, the Padres retired 16 Dodgers in a row when Steven Wilson followed Darvish in the seventh with a 1-2-3 inning.
Offensively, Cronenworth finally arrived for the Padres with a 2-for-3 night, including a solo home run to right field, his first of the season. The Padres and Cronenworth had been waiting for him to bust out of an uncharacteristic slump, which saw him go 0-for-23 heading into Saturday’s game. Cronenworth, however, did not have much concern over the slump.
“I was having some good at-bats, just wasn’t getting the results I want. Tonight it seemed to turn around,” said Cronenworth about his slump and then his big game Saturday.
Heading into the bottom of the eighth, the Padres held a 2-0 lead, which was not safe for long. After a pair of singles put two runners on for the Dodgers, Luis Garcia threw a wild pitch that allowed Chris Taylor to advance to third, with still nobody out.
Garcia then had a big strikeout of Mookie Betts before being pulled for Padres’ closer Taylor Rogers. Rogers looked good early, striking out Freddie Freeman, but couldn’t close the door on the inning, allowing a game-tying double to Trea Turner.
The game would head to extra innings, tied 2-2, when the real magic began for the Padres. With the extra-inning rule of a runner beginning the inning on second base, the Padres were immediately in a tough spot. The leadoff hitter, Gavin Lux, struck the ball to Jurickson Profar in left field, who caught the ball and threw a bullet to Manny Machado at third base with Taylor tagging, making for one of the more exciting double plays you will see all season given the stakes and the energy of the game.
The Padres would get out of the inning with the score still tied at two and won in the bottom of the tenth with fundamental baseball. With C.J. Abrams starting the inning on second base, Trent Grisham came off the bench to put down a well-placed sacrifice bunt that moved Abrams to third with one out. Catcher Austin Nola followed with a game-winning sacrifice fly, scoring Abrams and tying the three-game series at one with the 3-2 victory.
“We have to do those things right now. Until we start hitting on all cylinders and swinging the bats throughout the entire lineup, those are types of things we have to do, and we’ve been doing. It’s contributing to wins like this. Good pitching, good defense,” said manager Bob Melvin about the way the Padres are winning games because the pitching and defense is holding the team down while the offense is working through early struggles.
The Padres will look to win the series tomorrow afternoon with a great pitching matchup setup. Lefties Clayton Kershaw (2-0, 3.00 ERA) faces off against Sean Manaea with a chance to take the first series of the year between the two clubs.
While the Padres continue with the mantra that the games against the Dodgers are just one of 162, and rightly so, this game seemed like an important one for the Padres, who scrapped their way to a big win.