NLDS Game One: Patient Dodgers Outlast Padres

Dodgers Padres

Dodgers 5, Padres 1
NLDS Game One

It took until the bottom of the sixth for the Los Angeles Dodgers to scratch out a hit, but their patience paid off. A four-run outburst in that inning gave them a commanding lead that they never relinquished as they beat the San Diego Padres, 5-1, in Game One of the NLDS Tuesday night in Arlington, Texas.

It was an ugly game, one that featured 10 walks by Padres pitchers, 14 strikeouts by Padres batters, a Padres error that led to a run, three wild pitches – all by Padres, with one scoring a run – and the first-ever Padres ejection in a postseason game. Meanwhile, the Dodgers saw outstanding pitching from their starter and four relievers, as they combined to allow only one run on three hits and four walks while, as mentioned earlier, striking out 14.

Dodgers, Padres Both Face Early Struggles

The game started roughly for both teams. Dodgers starter Walker Buehler pitched around a one-out single and stolen base by Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. stranding him at second. Padres starter Mike Clevinger walked two and threw one wild pitch, but he also got out of it despite two of the outs being on hard-hit line drives. Buehler walked the bases loaded in the second but struck out the final two hitters of the frame to escape without allowing a run.

In the bottom of the second, it got worse for the Padres. Due to the long top of the second, Clevinger “tightened up,” in the words of manager Jayce Tingler. “It never loosened back up. He went back out, tried to get going,” but after two pitches to center fielder Cody Bellinger, he had to leave the game. This put the Padres, who used nine pitchers in Game Three of the Wild Card Series against the Cardinals, where they had to do it again. The next three pitchers – Pierce Johnson, lefty Ryan Weathers, and Austin Adams – combined for three innings of scoreless, hitless ball despite walking three and plunking one.

Meanwhile, the Padres took the lead in the fourth on an old-fashioned “manufactured” run. After designated hitter Tommy Pham went down on a called third strike – one that he briefly argued – right fielder Wil Myers drew a walk. He stole second as rookie second baseman Jake Cronenworth watched strike three go by, bringing up catcher Austin Nola with two outs and a runner in scoring position. A single to left plated Myers and gave the Padres a 1-0 lead.

Patience Is a Virtue

No lead is safe against the lumber company the Dodgers trot out for every game. It is especially true when giving them extra outs. Two walks and a hit batsman loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth with two outs, but a fly to left by right fielder Mookie Betts ended the inning with the bases left loaded. However, the general feel in the game was that the dam was cracking and was going to burst any minute.

The dam sprang a leak in the bottom of the fifth, when lefty Tim Hill – the fifth Padres pitcher – walked third baseman Justin Turner with one out. Hill struck out first baseman Max Muncy for the second out then gave way to Garrett Richards. He walked the first batter, catcher Will Smith, in an at-bat that also saw a wild pitch. Richards looked like he’d escape the jam when he got the next hitter, Bellinger, to hit a routine grounder to second. Cronenworth’s throw to first, however, went wide. Sure-handed first baseman Eric Hosmer could not haul it in, and the overthrow allowed Turner to score and Smith to advance to third. When the next hitter – left fielder AJ Pollock – flied to left, the inning ended in a 1-1 tie despite the Dodgers still not having a hit.

Patience Pays Off

Dodgers reliever Dustin May, who took the hill in the top of the fifth, sat the Padres down 1-2-3 in the top of the sixth – his second straight perfect inning. In the bottom of the inning, the cracking dam burst. Designated hitter Kiké Hernández struck out to lead it off, but the next hitter – second baseman Chris Taylor – walked. The Padres dugout barked protest to plate umpire Lance Barrett, disagreeing with his ball four call. Betts came up next, and on 1-0, a Richards slider at the knees missed outside by inches. Barrett correctly called ball two, but the Padres dugout griped again. “That was outside!” Barrett snapped. Betts took the next pitch – a fastball down the middle – for a called first strike. The next pitch was another fastball over the heart of the plate, and Betts smoked it into the left-field corner for a double.

The first Dodgers hit of the game advanced Taylor to third, putting two runners in scoring position for shortstop Corey Seager. Tingler headed to the mound to replace Richards with lefty Matt Strahm. En route, he laid into Barrett with a profanity-laced tirade about his strike zone. Barrett warned him more than once, but Tingler continued.

BANG! Gone.

Tingler became the first member of the Padres to ever be ejected from a postseason contest, but he did not realize it until second base umpire Bill Miller told him during the pitching change. Upon notification, Tingler stormed to the plate to take some parting shots at Barrett. After a loud, profanity-laced soliloquy, Tingler headed to the clubhouse.

Dodgers Take the Lead

A sacrifice fly by Seager gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. Turner, up next, singled Betts home to make the score 3-1. A double by Muncy advanced Turner to third. The Padres walked Smith intentionally to both load the bases and get around the right-handed bat. Up came Bellinger for another lefty-lefty matchup. He hit a grounder up the middle, where Cronenworth made a diving stop. He had no play at second, however, so Turner scored to make it 4-1 as the bases remained loaded.

That brought Craig Stammen into the game to pitch to Pollock, the ninth hitter of the inning. A wild pitch plated Muncy, giving the Dodgers a 5-1 lead. Pollock ultimately flied to left, ending the inning. After being no-hit for the first five innings, even scoring a run in the process, the Dodgers exploded for a four-hit outburst as they batted around.

Over the final three innings, the only baserunner came when Padres center fielder Trent Grisham led off the eighth with a double. The inning ended with him stranded at second, as Blake Treinen relieved Victor Gonzalez and got the next three batters out.


Dustin May took the win in relief, while Richards suffered the double-whammy of a blown save and a loss. With the margin of victory being four runs and Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen entering the game without the tying run being on deck, there was no save.

Game Two is Wednesday night in Arlington. Lefty Clayton Kershaw (6-2, 2.16 ERA, 62 K; Postseason 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 13 K) will start for the Dodgers, while the Padres will throw right-hander Zach Davies (7-4, 2.73 ERA, 63 K; Postseason 0-0, 18.00 ERA, 3 K). First pitch will be at 6:08 Pacific Time, and FS1 will broadcast the game.

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