LOS ANGELES — The postseason is not just an extension of the regular season, they told us. The Dodgers’ regular-season dominance over the San Diego Padres means nothing now, both sides said.
Maybe they were right.
An error by Trea Turner in the sixth inning opened the door for the Padres to score the go-ahead run in a seesaw game and they held on to beat the Dodgers, 5-3, in Game 2 of their National League Division Series on Wednesday night.
With the best-of-five series tied at one game apiece (by identical scores), Games 3 and 4 will be in San Diego on Friday and Saturday nights.
For the second game in a row, the Dodgers did all their scoring early against the Padres’ starting pitcher – in this case that meant solo home runs by Freddie Freeman, Max Muncy and Trea Turner off Yu Darvish.
But they have found the Padres’ bullpen much more difficult to solve.
In Game 1, the Dodgers didn’t have a hit in 5-1/3 innings against four Padres relievers.
In Game 2, the Dodgers chased Darvish in the sixth inning with runners at the corners and no one out. Flame-throwing Robert Suarez came in and struck out Justin Turner then got Gavin Lux to hit into a double play.
In the seventh, the Dodgers had runners at second and third with one out and the bases loaded with two outs but came up empty when Suarez got Will Smith to fly out to center field.
In the eighth, Austin Barnes struck out as a pinch-hitter against Josh Hader with two on and two out. The Dodgers got the tying run to the plate again in the ninth after Freeman’s two-out double but Hader got Smith to fly out, recording four outs in an appearance for the first time since 2020.
The Dodgers finished the night 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position. Through the first two games of the series, they are 4 for 32 (.125) with no runs scored in 9-1/3 innings against the Padres’ bullpen.
Their home runs against Darvish were only good enough to match the Padres’ output against Clayton Kershaw.
Kershaw’s first postseason start since the 2020 World Series was an effort.
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He gave up six hits in the first 12 batters he faced including a solo home run and an RBI double to Manny Machado. A third run scored on a ground out but Kershaw gritted his teeth to strike out three batters with runners in scoring position and strand runners at second and third in the second inning and at third base in the third. It was the slider that got Kershaw out of trouble each time – the Padres swung and missed at 10 of the first 18 he threw.
He did retire the final nine batters he faced after Machado’s double but Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had seen enough of Kershaw grinding to get outs. He went to Brusdar Graterol in the sixth.
A broken-bat single started the inning and the Padres had a runner at first with one out when Wil Myers hit a double-play grounder just to Turner’s right. He booted it and Jurickson Profar followed with a single to drive in the tie-breaking run.
Outstanding defensive plays by Graterol (on a squeeze attempt) and Cody Bellinger (on a deep drive over his head) cut the Padres off there. But Blake Treinen made his first game appearance since Sept. 5 (and only his sixth at the major-league level this season) and gave up a long home run to Jake Cronenworth in the eighth.
More to come on this story.