SAN DIEGO — During the regular season, the Los Angeles Dodgers won a franchise-record 111 games and dominated the San Diego Padres with 14 wins in 19 games.
Now the Dodgers are on the precipice of being eliminated by the same Padres in the National League Division Series.
Behind starter Blake Snell, a bullpen that has now worked 16 straight scoreless innings and a third postseason home run by center fielder Trent Grisham, the Padres defeated the Dodgers 2-1 Friday night to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series.
A Padres win Saturday night with hometown ace Joe Musgrove starting would eliminate the Dodgers. Los Angeles needs a win to get the series back to Dodger Stadium for a winner-take-all Game 5.
“We want this pretty badly (Saturday),” manager Bob Melvin said after the Padres’ second straight win. “I mean, you saw it out there. It was a pretty good atmosphere to play in. They (the crowd) had a big say in what went on today, too. It felt like the last couple innings there was so much momentum in the place that it was hard not to get it done.
“Obviously our pitching was unbelievable tonight, but we were pretty much inspired the whole game. It was a lot of fun tonight. It should be pretty similar probably tomorrow night, as well.”
Snell (1-0) pitched 5 1/3 innings and held the Dodgers to one run on five hits and two walks with six strikeouts. Nick Martinez, Luis Garcia, Robert Suarez and Josh Hader then worked 3 2/3 scoreless innings, with Hader earning the save.
Martinez followed Snell in the sixth and retired both hitters he faced, including one strikeout. Garcia struck out two in a perfect seventh. Suarez had a strikeout while retiring three straight after giving up a lead-off single to Trea Turner in the eighth, and Hader fanned two in a perfect ninth.
Starting with the last inning of a Game 2 wild-card loss in New York and the final two innings of San Diego’s elimination win over the Mets, the Padres’ bullpen has turned in 16 straight scoreless innings, allowing five hits and four walks with 20 strikeouts.
“They’re getting us with spin,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of the Padres’ pitchers. “They’re getting us on the outside part of the plate. We’re not given really any opportunities to make mistakes, and that’s more specific to their bullpen.”
The Dodgers were also 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position Friday, while the Padres were 1-for-10.
The Padres built a 2-0 lead through four innings but had also stranded eight runners (six in scoring position) against Dodgers pitchers Tony Gonsolin and Andrew Heaney.
San Diego got on the board in the first against Los Angeles starter Gonsolin (0-1). Juan Soto doubled with one out and scored on Jake Cronenworth’s two-out single to center. But the Padres left runners on second and third in both the first and the second, when Heaney came on to get Gonsolin out of a two-on, one-out jam.
Grisham made it 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth with his third homer of the playoffs. Grisham, who hit .184 during the regular season, is 7-for-18 in six postseason games.
The Dodgers finally got on the board in the top of the fifth against Snell. Trayce Thompson opened the inning with a bloop single to right, move to third on Austin Barnes’ double to left center and scored on Mookie Betts’ sacrifice fly to right, which also allowed Barnes to move to third.
But Snell got Trea Turner to foul out, then retired Freddie Freeman on a grounder to third.
–By Bill Center, Field Level Media