Not many tabbed the San Diego Padres to defeat the Mets in New York in the wild-card round. Even fewer picked them versus the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have dominated the Padres in recent years and were baseball’s best team during the regular season. But they’re all even now.
Manny Machado homered early and added an RBI double off Clayton Kershaw, and Jurickson Profar singled home the go-ahead run as San Diego defeated the Dodgers 5-3 on Wednesday to tie their NL Division Series at one game apiece.
“We’re going to compete,” Machado said. “We’re going to try to do everything possible to help our team win every single day. That’s what we started in New York, and we’re going to continue to do that until we’re not.”
The wild-card Padres defeated the rival Dodgers for the first time in the postseason. San Diego was swept 3-0 by the Dodgers in a 2020 Division Series and lost Game 1 of this playoff Tuesday.
“It’s probably as back and forth a game as you are going to see,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “A lot of drama to it. Fun win.”
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Dropped from first to seventh in the batting order for matchup purposes, Profar grounded a single to right field in the sixth inning off reliever Brusdar Graterol, who took the loss. Jake Cronenworth scored for a 4-3 lead.
Cronenworth homered off Blake Treinen in the eighth to give San Diego some insurance, and Josh Hader earned his first four-out save since August 2020 with Milwaukee.
“This team all year, we’ve been grinding,” Machado said.
Freddie Freeman, Max Muncy and Trea Turner went deep for the NL West champion Dodgers.
After an off day Thursday, the best-of-five series resumes with Game 3 on Friday in San Diego.
“Don’t take anybody lightly in the postseason,” Freeman said. “They’re here for a reason. They play good baseball, they played really good against the Mets, and they just came out on top today.”
The teams traded one-run leads on a night when two of baseball’s elite pitchers — Kershaw and Yu Darvish of the Padres — got knocked around a bit. In the middle innings, it became a battle of the bullpens for the second consecutive game.
Hader, who got the final out of the eighth, gave up a two-out double to Freeman off the right-center wall in the ninth. That brought up Will Smith as the potential tying run at the plate. But he flied out to right to end the game.
“Freeman hits an 0-2 pitch that’s up around his chin that I don’t know how he even gets to,” Melvin said, “and then all of a sudden you are one pitch away from being in trouble again.”
The Dodgers’ only lead was a 2-1 advantage in the second. Baseball’s highest-scoring team in the regular season struggled to hit in the clutch.
Machado’s double in the third tied it, and Cronenworth gave the Padres a 3-2 lead with an RBI groundout.
Turner’s homer in the bottom half evened it again.
Darvish, who got the victory, allowed three runs and seven hits in five-plus innings and had at least one baserunner in every inning. The right-hander struck out seven and walked two.
Kershaw gave up three runs and six hits in five innings. The three-time Cy Young Award winner struck out six and eventually settled down to retire his final nine batters.
With nervous fans on their feet chanting “Let’s go, Dodgers!,” they loaded the bases with two outs after an intentional walk to Freeman. But Smith flied out to center to end the threat.
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