Dodgers defeat Padres to take sequence, drop magic quantity to 9

The Dodgers’ magic quantity is now … a magic quantity.

With 9 extra Dodgers wins, San Diego Padres losses or some mixture of the 2, the Dodgers will as soon as once more be champions of the Nationwide League West.

And primarily based on the final couple of nights at Chavez Ravine, it shouldn’t take for much longer.

Regardless of utilizing eight pitchers in what basically turned an unplanned bullpen sport Sunday night time, the Dodgers nonetheless blew the Padres away in a weekend sequence rubber match at Dodger Stadium, profitable 9-4 to maneuver a step nearer to reclaiming a division title they gained eight consecutive years from 2013 to 2020 earlier than ending second final season.

Final fall, the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants jockeyed for the division crown down the stretch, with the standings remaining undecided till the ultimate day of the season.

“Every game was do or die, it seemed like, trying to jockey to find a way to win the division last year,” Dodgers supervisor Dave Roberts recalled.

This 12 months, the Dodgers are operating away from the pack in near-historic style, extending their result in 19 video games over the second-place Padres even on an evening when their pitching didn’t go in line with plan.

“We’ve put ourselves in a good spot,” Roberts stated. “The challenge is to go out there and play with urgency and keep the bar high.”

Although the Dodgers used an opener for the primary time this season, Sunday’s outing wasn’t presupposed to be an all-out bullpen sport.

Dodgers aid pitcher Alex Vesia celebrates after San Diego’s Austin Nola pops out to finish the highest of the fourth inning Sunday.

(Mark J. Terrill / Related Press)

After a scoreless first inning from Caleb Ferguson by which the left-hander struck out all three batters wanting on simply 11 pitches, rookie right-hander Ryan Pepiot entered for what the Dodgers hoped can be an prolonged aid look.

Seventy-four pitches later, Pepiot was leaving the mound after recording simply six outs.

Having been recalled for Sunday’s sport to provide the Dodgers’ rotation an additional day of relaxation, Pepiot struggled together with his command and talent to complete at-bats.

He issued 4 walks. He pitched into and out of hassle, yielding an unearned run within the third. And he was lastly pulled following consecutive free passes to start the fourth.

“He just really didn’t have enough to put those guys away,” Roberts stated. “So to go two-plus, we had to cover some innings.”

The Dodgers reached deep into their bullpen to do it.

Alex Vesia was summoned first, stranding the 2 runners he inherited from Pepiot with two strikeouts and a popup.

The Dodgers’ offense then hung 5 runs on Padres starter Mike Clevinger within the backside half of the fourth, first on a leadoff house run from Will Smith, then on Cody Bellinger’s bases-loaded stroll, Mookie Betts’ sacrifice fly and Trea Turner’s two-run bloop double.

Vesia returned to the mound to start the fifth, then handed the baton to Chris Martin for a scoreless inning.

About the one key leverage reliever who struggled for the Dodgers was beforehand streaking setup man Evan Phillips, who within the seventh inning allowed two inherited runners to attain, plus one other run that was charged to him, to let the Padres get again to inside 5-4.

“One night he just wasn’t on,” Roberts stated of Phillips, who hadn’t beforehand allowed a baserunner since Aug. 6. “That’s going to happen.”

As soon as once more, the Dodgers didn’t wait lengthy to reply.

Within the backside of the seventh, their lineup exploded for one more crooked quantity, with Justin Turner lining an RBI double to left earlier than Trayce Thompson got here off the bench and belted a three-run, pinch-hit house run — simply his second lengthy ball of the season in opposition to left-handed pitching.

The Dodgers (92-41) cruised the remainder of the way in which, decreasing their magic quantity from 12 to 9 as a result of additionally they clinched their season sequence in opposition to the Padres (74-61), enhancing to 10-3 in opposition to the second-place membership to lock up the head-to-head tiebreaker.

“This game was not easy to manage,” Roberts stated after utilizing all however one member of the bullpen. “But those guys made pitches when they needed to.”

The one query now’s how for much longer it can take the Dodgers to wrap up the division title.

Dodgers players celebrate after defeating the Padres on Sunday.

Dodgers gamers rejoice after defeating the Padres on Sunday.

(Mark J. Terrill / Related Press)

The earliest they’ve finished it in franchise historical past was 2019, after they clinched of their 146th sport on Sept. 10.

At their present tempo, they might be spraying champagne even sooner — maybe, fittingly, by the tip of subsequent weekend in San Diego, the place they’ll face the Padres once more for a three-game sequence that begins Friday.

“We know where we’re at and that we have a big lead,” Smith stated. “But we just have to continue to want to play good baseball.”