Smith and Thompson Homers propel MLB-leading Dodgers past Padres | Basketball


By JILL PAINTER LOPEZ – Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Will Smith homered for the second straight game and Trayce Thompson added a home run as the Los Angeles Dodgers used two big innings to beat the San Diego Padres 9-4 on Sunday night .

The Dodgers, who have the best record in MLB at 92-41, extended their lead over the Padres in the NL West to 19 games with 29 games remaining. The Dodgers’ magic number to claim the division is nine.

“You really want to win the division and that gives you a little easier path to the playoffs,” Smith said. “Once you get to the playoffs, it doesn’t matter. We’re really playing one game at a time, trying not to look too far ahead, and tomorrow we’ll come back to that.

Thompson hit the second homer of his career, a three-run shot in the seventh inning. His first pinch came during his first stint with the Dodgers in 2016, against the New York Mets. Thompson, who started the year with the Padres organization and had just 14 at bats before being named for an assignment, beat reliever Adrian Morejon in a four-run seventh inning.

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“The depth is huge, especially in these playoffs and so on, playing a long season,” said Mookie Betts, who had two hits. “He was huge. Play great defense. Strike in a timely manner. He hit all year. It’s not luck. He’s a very good player. »

Smith hit his 21st homer of the season, a solo shot off starter Mike Clevinger (5-6), tying the game at 1 in the fourth inning.

The Dodgers opened the game with a five-run fourth before the Padres went one run closer with a three-run seventh inning.

“It was huge,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “We really thought we had a chance to come back and win this game. … We gave up four the next round.

Clevinger went 3 1/3 innings and allowed five earned runs on four hits and two walks with four strikeouts.

“The game was probably closer than the result looked,” Melvin said. “But, you know what, they’re the best team in the league right now and we just have to beat these guys if we want to get where we want to go.”

Smith started things off in the fourth with a solo home run. Clevinger struck out Max Muncy, then Justin Turner walked, Joey Gallo scored a single and Chris Taylor was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Cody Bellinger then drew a walk to drive in a run and Mookie Betts hit a sacrificial fly to score another. Trea Turner doubled, tackling two more points.

In the seventh inning, the Padres made things interesting. Jurickson Profar hit a two-run double to beat Evan Phillips and bring the Padres to 5-3. Jake Cronenwroth doubled in another run to make it 5-4.

Bellinger, who has struggled at home plate all season and lost last place in the batting order, walked three.

The Padres scored a run in the third inning. Austin Nola walked one out and Ha-Seong Kim struck out. Juan Soto walked and Manny Machado scored a deep-court single. Machado, who dove headfirst into first base, arrived safely but Freddie Freeman couldn’t pick out Trea Turner’s errant throw and Nola scored on the error.

Caleb Ferguson opened for the Dodgers and retired the side, all on strikeouts called. Ryan Pepiot, who was just called up with a plan to pick up most innings on Sunday, entered the game second but struggled to control and walked four times in two innings. In the third, he walked Jurickson Profar and Matt Beaty before the Dodgers went to the bullpen. Alex Vesia struck out the next three batters to pull the Dodgers out of the jam. Los Angeles had to go deep into the bullpen with eight pitchers.

Vesia (4-0) picked up the win.

“I didn’t realize that (the magic number) was nine. It was a good series,” manager Dave Roberts said. “It was good to see us play well and win a series. Still a lot of baseball, but just cheering. It wasn’t a clean game, but the way we reacted after they put runs on the board was nice to see.

Melvin said the Padres are focused on the playoffs.

“With as many wild-card teams as you have right now, the focus is on timing,” he said. “Every game is important, no matter where you play it.”

Closer Craig Kimbrel’s new bullpen entrance music is “Let it Go” by Idina Menzel from the movie “Frozen.” It was a hit with fans, who sing along to the song. When asked if he would sing it, Dave Roberts said it was safe and even mentioned Menzel by name.

California’s scorching heat wave continued and the temperature on the first pitch for the start of the afternoon was 100 degrees.

Padres: INF Wil Myers (neck squeeze) was taken out of Sunday’s game in the third inning.

Dodgers: LHP David Price (left wrist inflammation) was placed on the 15-day injured list but said he will be back this month.

Padres: LHP Blake Snell (6-7, 3.87 ERA), who will pitch against Arizona on Monday, has won six of his last 10 starts. He pitched six scoreless innings in a win at San Francisco on Tuesday. Snell pulled out eight and worked around three steps.

Dodgers: LHP Andrew Heaney (2-1, 2.12 ERA) will start against the San Francisco Giants on Monday. Against the New York Mets in his last start, he allowed two earned runs on seven hits and struck out eight, but did not consider the call. The Dodgers won 4-3.

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