Seager, Bellinger propel Dodgers past Padres
LOS ANGELES — Few were more aware than Corey Seager that the Los Angeles Dodgers had been stranding an unusually high number of runners in scoring position lately.
So he did something about it Saturday night.
Seager yanked a two-out, three-run double to right field in the sixth inning to give Los Angeles the lead for good in a 6-3 victory against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium.
“We left a lot of guys (Friday) night and to finally get some across, it was nice,” Seager said.
The Dodgers were 4-for-14 with runners in scoring position in a 4-3 loss to the Padres on Friday, their first defeat in 37 home games after leading at any point of the game.
They were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and trailing 3-1 on Saturday when Seager lined a 3-2 pitch over the head of first baseman Wil Myers.
Yasmani Grandal and Chase Utley scored easily. Yasiel Puig was held up at third, and Seager was caught between first and second. Seager scrambled back toward first and San Diego shortstop Yangervis Solarte threw low to Myers. Puig then broke for home, forcing Myers to rush his throw to catcher Austin Hedges, who had to lunge to the first-base side of the plate to make the catch. That gave Puig just enough room to score on a headfirst slide for a 4-3 lead.
“I think the reads were right all the way around on that particular play, Solarte just kind of threw the ball down and away to Wil and Wil had a hard time redirecting that ball back to the plate,” said San Diego manager Andy Green. “If it’s a throw to (Hedges’) chest, he’s out by 5 or 10 feet.”
Seager said a key at-bat in the sixth inning also belonged to Puig, who drew a nine-pitch walk off right-handed reliever Craig Stammen to load the bases with nobody out.
“That was a really mature at-bat for him,” Seager said. “He didn’t give up, he didn’t give in.”
Los Angeles rookie first baseman Cody Bellinger stretched the lead to 5-3 in the seventh inning with his 34th home run of the season. Bellinger, who went 3-for-5 with two RBIs in the 4-3 loss to the Padres on Friday night, finished 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored Saturday.
Chris Taylor made it 6-3 with a solo homer with two outs in the eighth inning.
Dodgers relievers Tony Watson, Brandon Morrow, Pedro Baez and Kenley Jansen each threw a shutout inning to help even the series heading into Sunday’s finale.
Watson (6-4) picked up his first victory since he was traded to Los Angeles on July 31, and Jansen notched his 31st save in 32 opportunities this season.
The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Justin Turner off Padres starter Jhoulys Chacin but then stranded seven runners, including five in scoring position, before Chacin departed after five innings. He allowed one run and four hits with three strikeouts and four walks.
Taylor opened the first with a walk and Seager grounded a single through the right side, sending Taylor to third. Turner hit a shallow fly ball that drifted into foul territory. Hunter Renfroe made the catch up against the stands but wasn’t in good position to make a strong throw home.
“You can’t walk guys and expect to beat them because they’re going to run into some baseballs,” Green said. “Their lineup keeps coming at you.”
Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu recorded his fourth strikeout when he got Carlos Asuaje swinging for the second out of the third inning, but Jose Pirela and Renfroe followed with doubles into nearly the same spot in the left field corner to tie the score at 1.
Ryu got in trouble again in the fourth after giving up a leadoff walk to Solarte followed by an opposite-field single to Cory Spangenberg. Both runners moved up on a groundout by Hedges, and Chacin helped himself with a two-strike single to right, driving in Solarte for a 2-1 lead.
The Padres scored a run for the third consecutive inning off Ryu when Myers homered to right field on a 3-2 pitch with two outs in the fifth, his third consecutive homer to the opposite field.
Ryu, who had combined for 14 shutout innings in his previous two starts, was finished after throwing 108 pitches in five innings, allowing three runs and seven hits, striking out five and walking two.
San Diego benefited from some strong defensive plays early in the game. Renfroe cut off a single in the gap by Bellinger to keep Taylor from scoring after he broke from first on a 3-2 pitch with two outs in the third.
Manuel Margot leaped against the center field fence to catch a long fly ball from Utley with one out in the fourth, and Solarte ended the inning with a nice backhand in the hole and strong throw to retire Puig.
NOTES: Padres RHP Jhoulys Chacin came in with the best ERA in the major leagues at home (1.86) and the worst in the majors on the road (7.36). ... Dodgers RHP Chris Hatcher is expected to be activated Sunday after missing the past seven weeks with thoracic inflammation. ... Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Sunday, his second in three days since going on the 10-day DL on July 24 with a back ailment.