Smith, Thompson homers power MLB-leading Dodgers past Padres

Sep 4, 2022, 8:38 AM | Updated: 9:59 pm
Los Angeles Dodgers' Trayce Thompson, right, hits a three-run home run as San Diego Padres relief p...

Los Angeles Dodgers' Trayce Thompson, right, hits a three-run home run as San Diego Padres relief pitcher Adrian Morejon, left, watches along with catcher Austin Nola during the seventh inning of a baseball game Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Will Smith homered for the second consecutive game and Trayce Thompson added a pinch-hit home run as the Los Angeles Dodgers used two big innings to beat the San Diego Padres 9-4 on Sunday night.

The Dodgers, who have the best record in the MLB at 92-41, extended their lead over the Padres in the NL West to 19 games with 29 games remaining. The Dodgers’ magic number to claim the division is nine.

“You definitely want to win the division and it gives you a little bit easier road to the postseason,” Smith said. “Once you get to the postseason, it doesn’t matter. We really just go one game at a time, try not to look too far ahead, and tomorrow we’ll be right back at it.”

Thompson hit the second pinch-hit homer of his career, a three-run shot in the seventh inning. His first pinch-hit blast came in his first stint with the Dodgers in 2016, against the New York Mets. Thompson, who started the year with the Padres organization and had just 14 at-bats before being designated for assignment, homered off reliever Adrian Morejon in a four-run seventh inning.

“Depth is huge, especially going into these playoff series and whatnot, playing a long season,” said Mookie Betts, who had two hits. “He’s been huge. Playing great defense. Timely hitting. He’s been hitting all year. It’s not luck. He’s a really good player.”

Smith hit his 21st homer of the season, a solo shot off starter Mike Clevinger (5-6), tying the game at 1 in the fourth inning.

The Dodgers broke open the game with a five-run fourth before the Padres pulled within a run with a three-run seventh inning.

“That was huge,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “We really thought we had a chance to come back and win this game. … We gave up four the next inning.”

Clevinger lasted 3 1/3 innings and allowed five earned runs on four hits and two walks with four strikeouts.

“The game was probably closer than the outcome looked,” Melvin said. “But, you know what, they are the best team in the league right now and we just have to beat these guys if we’re gonna go where we want to go.”

Smith started things in the fourth with a solo home run. Clevinger struck out Max Muncy and then Justin Turner drew a walk, Joey Gallo singled, and Chris Taylor was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Cody Bellinger then drew a walk to drive in a run and Mookie Betts hit a sacrifice fly to score another. Trea Turner doubled, plating two more runs.

In the seventh inning, the Padres made things interesting. Jurickson Profar hit a two-run double to right off Evan Phillips to pull the Padres within 5-3. Jake Cronenwroth doubled in another run to make it 5-4.

Bellinger, who has struggled at the plate all season and has dropped to last in the batting order, drew three walks.

The Padres scored one run in the third inning. Austin Nola drew a one-out walk and Ha-Seong Kim struck out. Juan Soto walked and Manny Machado singled to deep short. Machado, who dove head-first into first base, arrived safely but Freddie Freeman couldn’t pick Trea Turner’s errant throw and Nola scored on the error.

Caleb Ferguson opened for the Dodgers and struck out the side, all on called strikeouts. Ryan Pepiot, just recalled with a plan of picking up most of the innings Sunday, came into the game in the second but struggled with control and walked four in two innings. In the third, he walked Jurickson Profar and Matt Beaty before the Dodgers went to the bullpen. Alex Vesia retired the next three batters to get the Dodgers out of the jam. Los Angeles had to go deep into the bullpen with eight pitchers.

Vesia (4-0) earned the win.

“I didn’t realize (the magic number) was nine. It was a good series,” manager Dave Roberts said. “It was good to see us play well and win a series. Still a lot of baseball, but just encouraged. It wasn’t a clean game, but the way we responded after they put runs on the board was good to see.”

Melvin said the Padres’ focus is getting into the postseason.

“With as many wild-card teams as you have right now, the focus is just getting in,” he said. “Every game is important, no matter where u play it.”

LET IT GO

Closer Craig Kimbrel’s new bullpen entrance music is Idina Menzel’s “Let it Go” from the movie “Frozen.” It’s been a hit with fans, who sing along to the song. Asked if he would sing it, Dave Roberts said sure and even mentioned Menzel by name.

TOO HOT TO HANDLE

California’s searing heat wave continued and the temperature at first-pitch for the afternoon start was 100 degrees.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Padres: INF Wil Myers (neck tightness) was taken out of Sunday’s game in the third inning.

Dodgers: LHP David Price (left wrist inflammation) was placed on the 15-day injured list but said he will be back this month.

UP NEXT

Padres: LHP Blake Snell (6-7, 3.87 ERA), who will pitch against Arizona on Monday, has won six of his last 10 starts. He pitched six scoreless innings in a win at San Francisco on Tuesday. Snell struck out eight and worked around three walks.

Dodgers: LHP Andrew Heaney (2-1, 2.12 ERA) will start against the San Francisco Giants on Monday. Against the New York Mets in his last start, he allowed two earned runs on seven hits and struck out eight, but didn’t factor in the decision. The Dodgers won 4-3.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Honey bees are swept from an upright at the beginning of the NFL football game between the Tampa Ba...
Associated Press

Displaced Bucs avoid Ian, begin preparation to face Chiefs

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who moved their football operations to South Florida to avoid Hurricane Ian, remain hopeful of being able to return home to play the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night. The team practiced at the Miami Dolphins’ training facility on Wednesday, describing the experience as different, but insisting the disruption to their […]
13 hours ago
Pittsburgh Pirates' Kevin Newman, right, celebrates with teammates after hitting the game-winning R...
Associated Press

Newman’s single in 10th gives Pirates win and sweep of Reds

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Kevin Newman hit a winning single in the 10th inning, and the Pittsburgh Pirates rebounded from a blown three-run lead in the ninth to beat Cincinnati 4-3 on Wednesday and send the Reds to their 96th loss, their most since 2015. Kyle Farmer hit a two-run homer in the ninth off Chase […]
13 hours ago
LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman tosses beer to fans on the 18th green during the final round of the LIV Go...
Associated Press

Report: LIV Golf nearing deal to buy TV time on FS1

Golfweek is reporting that Saudi-funded LIV Golf, without a U.S. television deal during its inaugural season, is close to an agreement to buy time on FS1. Golfweek cited multiple sources it did not identify in saying the agreement is still being finalized. It would go against what Greg Norman, the CEO and commissioner of LIV […]
2 days ago
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy throws against Maryland in the second half of an NCAA college fo...
Associated Press

College Football Picks: Michigan, Washington hit the road

For a few ranked teams, the first month of the season was all about home sweet home. No. 4 Michigan (4-0), No. 9 Oklahoma State (3-0) and No. 15 Washington (4-0) will play their first road games of the season this weekend. The Cowboys have a big one in the Big 12 against No. 16 […]
2 days ago
FILE - The National Championship Trophy is displayed following a news conference Aug. 16, 2022, in ...
Associated Press

Progress made but how soon CFP expands still up in the air

ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) — The administrators who’ve been given the task of expanding the College Football Playoff from four to 12 teams left their latest in-person meetings Wednesday with the biggest question unanswered: How soon? “Making progress,” CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock said after the meetings near Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. “We all have to […]
2 days ago
New England Patriots quarterback Brian Hoyer (5) winds up for a pass near quarterback Bailey Zappe ...
Associated Press

Belichick: Hoyer will start if Jones can’t play vs. Packers

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — If Mac Jones can’t play Sunday for the Patriots visit to Green Bay, veteran backup quarterback Brian Hoyer will start in his place. But Bill Belichick is still leaving open the possibility that his second-year quarterback will be ready to go. That’s about as much as the Patriots coach was wiling […]
2 days ago
Smith, Thompson homers power MLB-leading Dodgers past Padres