LOS ANGELES — In what turned out to be a game that was all over the place, neither starting pitcher had a start to remember. It was Pedro Avila who took the bump for the Padres and looked to continue his impressive season. He did just the opposite as he ended up with his worst start of the year and made it through just 2.1 innings. As for Los Angeles Dodgers starter Gavin Stone, things were not any better. He had allowed 7 runs to the Padres through his 5.1 innings in the game. With both starters getting knocked out of the game after rough outings, things calmed down for a couple of innings before a 7-7 game went into the ninth. San Diego activated their bats in the clutch to score 4 runs and ultimately squeaked by with a dramatic 11-8 win in the first game of the series.
Here are three takeaways from the victory:
Avila takes a step back with worst outing of the season
Part of the reason for what was a high-scoring affair under the lights at Dodger Stadium was right-hander Pedro Avila’s shaky start. Coming into Monday’s game, he was fresh off of a start against the Phillies in which he threw 6.2 innings of shutout baseball and allowed just 2 hits. The story was quite different this time around, as the Dodgers got to work from the jump with a leadoff homer from Mookie Betts. Avila would allow another run in the second on a HBP with the bases loaded. The worst of the damage would come in the third inning where he allowed a home run to Max Muncy, a single to Chris Taylor, and a bases-clearing double to Mookie Betts. This would knock Avila out of the game as Los Angeles took a big 7-2 lead early in the game. After posting a 3.20 ERA in the month of August, he will look to get back on track soon to make sure September goes just as smoothly. Luckily, the Padres were able to pick up the slack on offense and get him off the hook for a loss.
Padre offense erupts with emphatic response
Things were not exactly looking great for the Padres through the first 3 innings, with the squad down 7-2 and staring at another bad loss. Fortunately, they were able to flip a switch and started to chip away immediately. In the top of the fourth, they were able to get 2 runs back courtesy of a home run from Manny Machado and a groundout from Luis Campusano. San Diego finally got back even in the sixth inning with a 3-run frame that saw Manny Machado blast his second home run of the game and Juan Soto blast his first. Things were all even heading into the ninth, where the Padres finally broke through with some clutch hitting from Juan Soto and Xander Bogaerts.
Soto’s three-run dagger (and ice-cold bat flip) officially put San Diego over the hump before Xander Bogaerts provided the insurance with a solo home run of his own. Things got a little shaky in the bottom half of the ninth as Josh Hader allowed 1 run to score on 2 hits and 2 walks, but he was eventually able to get the job done and end the night on a positive note for the team. The clutch display of power from the team’s big-name players is a sight that has not been seen enough this season, and games like these prove why they are so crucial for the squad’s success as a whole.
San Diego bullpen does a great job calming the storm
With the Dodgers scoring 7 of their 8 total runs on the night in just the first 3 innings, Monday’s game showed a lot about the Padre bullpen and what they did to help the team secure their comeback victory. The unit allowed just 3 hits as they combined to pitch the last 6.1 innings of the game and keep the Dodgers offense in check. This gave San Diego their window to push forward and take the lead without any sort of response from the Los Angeles batting order. The first man out of the bullpen was Ray Kerr, who set the tone for the rest of the bullpen and calmed the nerves of the pitching staff with 2.1 scoreless innings of work. Luis Garcia, Tim Cosgrove, and Robert Suarez followed Kerr and each threw a scoreless inning of relief as the game headed to the bottom of the ninth with the Padres up 11-7. From the time that Kerr had entered the game to the moment that Josh Hader had come in to seal the deal, things had changed drastically for the better. Despite it taking Hader 43 pitches in the final frame to finish things off, he did eventually seal the deal and complete what was an excellent team effort for San Diego. The bullpen should be given much appreciation by the rest of the team for their work as they held things down while the offense chipped away and got back into the game. These types of wins are always appreciated and will give the team a big morale boost for the rest of the series knowing that they are capable of putting together clutch at-bats in big moments.
The Padres and Dodgers will square off in game two of the series on Tuesday night, as Lance Lynn and Michael Wacha will battle it out.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. PT.