Padres stay hot by sweeping NL West rival Dodgers, have now won seven games in a row

The Padres rode three solo homers and an eighth-inning rally to a 5-3 victory over the Dodgers Wednesday night in San Diego. The win means it’s a sweep for the Padres and that they’ve won seven of their past eight games against the Dodgers. It is also the Padres’ seventh straight win after a down stretch of baseball that saw them lose 13 of 17. 

With Petco Park allowing full capacity now and a good number of Dodgers fans in the house, it was pretty electric throughout the series for big plays on both sides. Excellent regular-season theater with decently high stakes (again, relative to the regular season). 

In this game, Jake Cronenworth and Manny Machado homered in the first inning. The Machado blast kept with the trend of him owning Dodgers starter Trevor Bauer. Entering the game, Machado was 12 for 26 with four homers in his career against Bauer. 

The Dodgers would later put together a two-run rally to tie the game. Victor Caratini came through with a go-ahead shot in the seventh. Still, the Dodgers managed to tie things up in the top of the eighth, setting the table for some late drama. Cronenworth doubled — it’s worth a mention that if Mookie Betts were in right field, he likely catches this ball but Matt Beaty didn’t take a great route — to start things off. Then Machado sent a dribbler to third base. For whatever reason, Dodgers’ third baseman Justin Turner looked toward second really quickly and double-clutched on the throw, allowing Machado to beat it. Eric Hosmer sac bunted the runners to second and third. The Dodgers elected to intentionally walk Wil Myers, but then Trent Grisham drew a walk to score the go-ahead run. Caratini’s sac fly would move the score to 5-3, where it would remain. 

Oh, and there was drama in the ninth. Check out how the game ended with the go-ahead run at the plate: 

That completes the first Padres sweep of the Dodgers since 2013. 

Between the first-inning homers and the Caratini blast, Bauer mostly threw well. He struck out 10 while allowing just five hits in his six-plus innings of work, but the longball continues to be a problem for him. His counterpart, Padres starter Joe Musgrove, was better. Musgrove worked six innings, allowing just one earned run (the second one scored on a throwing error stemming from questionable decision-making by Fernando Tatis Jr.) on two hits. 

Big picture: The Padres now hold a 7-3 advantage over the Dodgers in head-to-head games. There’s no reason for them to feel anything but equals to the Dodgers now, and perhaps they even confidently believe they are the better team. After that stretch of losing, they really needed to get back on track and take this series and they did so with authority. They’ll now look to avoid a letdown against the hapless Diamondbacks in a three-game series this weekend. 

As for the Dodgers, they’re probably fine. They had won 10 of their last 12 before this series and just played in two close games that could have gone either way. Still, it’s becoming more and more clear they aren’t very likely to just run away with the division. They start a four-game series at home against the Cubs on Thursday. 

Both teams continue to look up at the Giants. The Dodgers are now four games back with the Padres hovering at 4 1/2 back. 

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