SAN DIEGO – The Padres were set to make a statement this week when the Dodgers, the seven-time defending NHL champions, arrived in town. Monday evening, they delivered it: the race for the title of NL West 2020 is on. The brothers have already secured their first victory
The race for the NL West 2020 title is on.
The brothers have already secured their first winning season in 10 years. They will soon see their first trip to the playoffs in 14. Why not be a little greedy?
• The score of the box
San Diego opened its biggest series in a decade with an outright 7-2 victory, its eighth in a row, reducing the LA Division’s lead to 1 1/2 games. With 11 games to go, the Padres are on hand to end the Dodgers’ long-standing reign atop the West.
“We are playing a very good ball at the moment, and we are always looking forward to playing our rivals on the street,” said the center fielder.
No one was more excited than Grisham. After connecting on a 2-1 fastball from Clayton Kershaw, he turned emphatically to the Padres’ cover before watching the ball sail into the right-field seats.
The Dodgers bench responded to Grisham’s reaction by chirping at him as he rounded third base. Grisham answered him. After the game, Dodgers coach Dave Roberts said he was “the exception” for Grisham who lingered so long at home plate against a pitcher of Kershaw’s caliber.
The streak was more or less what you’d expect from two division rivals vying for first place in the National League.
“I was just turning around and having a great time in the game in a big series against a Hall of Fame pitcher,” Grisham said. “It was emotional, it was fun, it motivated us.
I never did. Grisham circuit tied the game at 1 and secured the Padres right-hander
The 11th of those strikeouts was particularly dirty. With Lamet’s last pitch of the night, he threw a slider at left hitter Edwin Ríos. The pitch started in the inside corner, and Ríos started to swing, before rushing down and in and touching the top of his left foot. Ríos couldn’t verify his momentum.
Lamet finished with seven innings of the ball in a run, allowing just three hits as he lowered his ERA to 2.12. He’s the first pitcher to hit at least 10 Dodgers this season, and he’s tied with Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer for the NL lead.
“He continues to improve,” said Jayce Tingler, the Padres manager. “… For the last two outings he’s been as good as anyone in the league. We have a lot of confidence and a lot of faith when he takes the ball off the mound. “
In the lower half of the seventh inning, the Padres performed the kind of relentless rallying the Dodgers have thrown at them so many times over the past decade. Jorge Oña, an unannounced bench piece, put San Diego on top with a double bloop. Max Muncy made two crucial mistakes.
In the end, San Diego had scored five times and had a 6-1 lead. Wil Myers nailed a homerun in the eighth. The Padres did so in a way they’ve rarely had against their main rivals NL West, giving the first blow in a week that should go a long way in deciding the NL division title and seed. .
“A great way to start a streak, for sure,” Tingler said.
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.