Padres Throw Wrench Into Dodgers Playoff Push

Last-place team beats the 1st-place team to tighten NL West race

Before the 1st-place Dodgers hosted the last-place Padres for a weekend series in Los Angeles, All-Star closer Kenley Jansen was asked about the possibility of losing to a team so far beneath them in the standings.

“They don’t care. They’re already planning their vacations,” said Jansen.

The Padres will not be playing in October but they’re more than willing to put off vacation planning until after they do their best to keep the Dodgers from being there, too.

The Padres took game one of their series at Chavez Ravine 5-2 and they might have found themselves a Dodger Killer. Rookie lefty Eric Lauer got the start. He gave up one run (on a Kike Hernandez homer) in 5.0 innings and struck out five to get the win. In three starts against L.A., Lauer got three wins and pitched to a 0.92 ERA.

He was staked to a lead thanks to a couple of big blasts. Hunter Renfroe smacked his 24th homer of the year, a 2-run shot in the 4th inning off Dodgers starter Ross Stripling, to put the Padres on top 2-1. Freddy Galvis hit a solo homer in the 7th to make it a 3-1 game.

The Dodgers got a run back in the 8th when Yasiel Puig lined an RBI single off Craig Stammen so with two runners on and two out Padres skipper Andy Green called on closer Kirby Yates to get a 4-out save. The first out was the biggest.

Yates struck out reigning NL Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger to end the threat.

In the 9th inning the Padres loaded the bases on two singles and an error, setting the table for a 2-run double by Wil Myers. Interestingly the inning lasted long enough to reach Yates’ spot in the lineup so he got his 2nd career at-bat and nearly ended up with his first MLB hit.

Yates hit a sharp ground ball towards left but was robbed of a knock on a beautiful play by shortstop Manny Machado. As he hustled down the line Yates’ helmet flew off his head, landed on his foot, and sent him sprawling down the first base line.

He was fine, despite giving up an RBI single to Machado that was the final run of the game. The Rockies also beat the Diamondbacks to pull withing 1.5 games of L.A. in the National League West.

The Padres can win the series on Saturday night when another rookie starter, Jacob Nix, takes the mound against Rich Hill.

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