For most of the last five decades or so, crowds at Petco Park when the Padres host the Dodgers have been largely pro-L.A. That is definitely not the case in 2021.
42,220 fans, a comfortable majority of them rooting for the Padres, watched the home town team beat their longtime tormentors 6-2 in the opener of a 3-game series on Monday night.
Yu Darvish made one of the better starts of his career, and that is really saying something. Darvish struck out 11 hitters, giving him 1,500 for his career. It took Yu 197 games to get there, making him the first pitcher in Major League Baseball history to punch out 1,500 hitters in fewer than 200 games.
At one point he whiffed seven straight Dodgers, falling two short of the Padres franchise record of nine set by Jake Peavy. He also had a large and early lead to work with. Darvish allowed just one run in 6.0 innings, which came on a solo homer by Mookie Betts.
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His counterpart, Julio Urias, got off to about the worst start he could think of. Tommy Pham led off with a double then Fernando Tatis Jr. walked. Jake Cronenworth followed with an RBI double to bring in Pham with a 1-0 Padres lead. The next hitter was Manny Machado.
He made the East Village a very loud place.
Machado bopped a 3-run home run into the left field seats, prompting a hearty round of "BEAT L.A.!" chants and giving the Padres a 4-0 lead before Urias recorded a single out.
In the 5th inning the offense struck again. Tatis Jr. led off with a line drive double to left. Cronenworth followed with an even bigger hit than his double, ripping the very next pitch into the right field bleachers for a 6-1 lead that was not going to get away.
The Padres have won five straight games and now lead the season series against the Dodgers 5-3. They go for six on Tuesday night when Blake Snell takes the mound against Clayton Kershaw.
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