Petco Park- San Diego, California
As the San Diego Padres have mostly done all season, they relied on the long ball, got a great pitching performance from their starter, were hurt by a big error from their star shortstop, sent out Mark Melancon for the ninth, and found a way to win a tight game.
Jake Cronenworth continued his power surge, homering for the third straight day and for the fifth time in eight games. He turned on an up-and-in fastball and quickly deposited it into the Petco Porch.
Manny Machado continued his absolute dominance of Bauer by winning an eight-pitch battle by sending a 3-2 slider into deep left field. Bauer looked like he might get run out of the park the way that Julio Urias did on Monday night, but he managed to get out the inning after Eric Hosmer smoked a line drive right at Cody Bellinger.
Bauer quickly got into a rhythm, allowing just one hit over the next four innings, a ground-rule double to Trent Grisham.
Trevor Bauer took advantage of the Padres’ pitcher’s spot in the lineup by getting out of a bases-loaded jam with a strikeout of Joe Musgrove after intentionally walking Victor Caratini to get to Musgrove. Bauer clearly felt good, strutting off the mound and waving to the Dodgers fans after striking out Grisham to end the sixth inning.
He came out to work the seventh but quickly gave up a tie-breaking home run to Caratini. His night ended after a five-pitch walk to Jurickson Profar. After the game, Caratini (through an interpreter) said that the fans helped the team tremendously. Bauer showed his typical dominance for long amounts of time, but three mistakes that the Padres punished meant he put up another disappointing outing for LA. Bauer was clearly irritated. We know they’re good. A lot of talent in their lineup, on the pitching staff. They are a good team. And they absolutely kicked our a** from the intensity standpoint,” Bauer said after the game.
The Padres sent out Joe Musgrove, who has arguably been the best starter for the Padres this season. He pitched nearly flawlessly for five of his six innings, not allowing a single hit in them. Victor Caratini, who has become somewhat of a personal catcher for Musgrove, the same way he does for Yu Darvish, said that the fastball and curveball were working very well for Musgrove. Though he did mention, his slider wasn’t at its best. The only blip on Musgrove’s stat sheet was in the fourth inning when the heart of the Dodgers order managed to get to him. Will Smith managed to bring home the first run for Los Angeles.
Unfortunately, the next play was part of a larger trend for Padres’ superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. While attempting to turn an inning-ending double play, Tatis fired a bullet which the covering Musgrove couldn’t quite field. This allowed a second run to score. Another situation in which Tatis just didn’t put the ball in his pocket. The run wouldn’t have scored if Tatis didn’t make the throw, and Musgrove would’ve gotten out of the inning with a groundout on the next pitch. Now, no Padres fan wants to see Tatis stop making the amazing plays that we know he can, but if he can develop the maturity to make conservative plays when the team needs him, it’ll be a huge advantage for the Padres.
The Padres turned over a lead to the MLB-best bullpen, and Craig Stammen continued his best season in a Padres uniform by working a 1-2-3 inning. Jayce Tingler handed the ball off to Emilio Pagan, who has struggled of late, putting up a 7.71 ERA in his last four outings. Pagan did finish off the Dodgers on Monday night, and it looked like he was about to hand a lead to Padres closer Mark Melancon after he retired the first two Dodgers he faced. However, a double from Max Muncy, followed by a single from Justin Turner, allowed the Dodgers to tie the game at three. The Dodgers struggled with runners in scoring position on both Monday and Tuesday night, going a combined 2-for-12 in that situation and not driving in a run with either hit. They went 2-for-6 on Wednesday and drove in all three runs without the long ball. Something they relied on in the first two games of the series.
The Padres’ offense roared back to life in the bottom of the inning, and Jake Cronenworth continued his offensive tear by leading off with a double. Machado followed that up with an infield single. The two found themselves in scoring position after Eric Hosmer bunted them over. After the Dodgers chose to intentionally walk Myers, which was their second intentional base on balls of the night, Trent Grisham won an epic seven-pitch battle with Victor Gonzalez. He sent Cronenworth home to give the Padres a late lead.
Caratini, who had already broken a deadlock in the seventh, got the opportunity to blow the game open in the eighth. While he wasn’t able to repeat the feat, he did manage to send Machado home with a sacrifice fly, giving the Padres an insurance run. Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly managed to stop the bleeding there, but the damage had been done. Jayce Tingler described the inning as “awesome,” praising Machado’s hustle, Hosmer’s bunt, as well as both Grisham and Caratini’s battles, both of which led to runs.
Mark Melancon got the ball for the ninth, as expected. While Melancon did come into the game as the MLB’s save leader, he had a poor month of June thus far, getting his first legitimate blown save against the Reds, and he allowed a home run last night against the Dodgers. Melancon, who came into the month with a 0.74 ERA, had seen it balloon to 1.97 after having a 5.87 ERA in 7.2 innings of work in June. Things didn’t get off to a good start, as Will Smith’s single brought the tying run to the plate. Even worse, it was Austin Barnes, who had homered off him the night before. Barnes got a hold of one but hit it to the wrong part of the park, and it fell harmlessly into Grisham’s glove. Melancon then walked Gavin Lux, which meant the tying run was now on base, and the speedy Lux could likely score if a ball found the gap. The Dodgers sent up power hitter Albert Pujols to pinch-hit, and on the fifth pitch of the at-bat, he absolutely ripped one. Fortunately for the Padres, he hit it right to their gold glove third baseman Manny Machado, who fired to second to double off Smith, securing the first Padres sweep of the Dodgers since 2013. The second amazing double play turned by Machado in as many nights, highlighting his defensive value. Manager Jayce Tingler gave Machado his credit, saying, “That’s a bad man. Just an absolute bad man.”
The Padres won the same way they had all season, using their power to knock a great pitcher around, finding ways to scratch runs across when they needed it most, and relying on the man who signified the change in culture, Manny Machado, to make a huge defensive play when needed. It’s the seventh straight win for the Padres, who haven’t lost since Petco Park opened up to full capacity. Jayce Tingler spoke on the winning streak. “We’re a team that was due to start playing well on three or four facets. I think being able to draw some energy at home. The way we’re pitching it, and playing defense, and more guys in the lineup are having more quality at-bats, they’re getting on base, they’re driving the ball, we’re still running the bases well,” Tingler said.
The Padres will get an off day before hosting the Diamondbacks, who’ve lost 19 of their last 20 and haven’t won on the road since April 25. The Giants continue to win, so the Padres stay 4.5 games back, but close to within half a game of the Dodgers.