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Cody Bellinger homers twice as Dodgers take opener over Padres

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MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Cody Bellinger hit two home runs, leading the Dodgers to an 8-2 win over the Padres on Friday night at Petco Park in San Diego.

Believe it or not, this game was a close contest most of the night, with the Padres leading 2-1 after six innings. But the Dodgers scored a pair of runs in the seventh, one in the eighth, then put the game away with four in the ninth.

Three came on Bellinger’s second home run of the night, a shot to dead center. He is the first Dodger with a pair of two-homer games in the first 10 games of his career, dating back to at least 1913.

The rally

Andrew Toles hit a two-run double in the seventh inning, turning a deficit into a lead. The Dodgers got consecutive singles by pinch hitters Chris Taylor and Franklin Gutierrez, both against left-handed reliever Jose Torres. That brought up the left-handed Toles, who drove a ball into the right center field gap to score both runners.

Toles with that two-run double extended his hitting streak to eight games, a streak even more impressive since he didn’t start two of those contests. During the streak, Toles is 12-for-31 (.387) with five extra-base hits.

Yasiel Puig singled with two outs in the eighth inning, then stole second base and advanced to third base on an errant throw. Taylor drove him in with another single, giving the Dodgers an insurance run.

Taylor, who didn’t start on Friday, was 2-for-2 with a run scored and an RBI. He’s 5-for-8 (.625) in games he doesn’t start this season, and hitting .375/.474/.625 in 38 plate appearances overall.

Flashy fourth

The fourth inning saw both teams score, and provided a pair of Dodgers highlights. First was this Bellinger home run, a no-doubter well into the right field seats for the first run of the game.

In the bottom of the frame, the Padres tied the game on an RBI single by Ryan Schimpf, but Puig kept San Diego out of a big inning with a howitzer throw on the fly to third base to erase Yangervis Solarte.

For Schimpf, one of the most unique players in baseball, that was just his fifth single of the season. Three of those five singles have come against the Dodgers.

The middle innings

Bellinger’s eagerness cost the Dodgers in the fifth inning, when on a sacrifice bunt attempt he tried to get lead runner Erick Aybar at second base. Before the throw had a chance to be late, it was wild, and after ending up in center field, Aybar made it to third base, and scored easily on a sacrifice fly, giving the Padres the lead.

Both pitchers pitched into the sixth despite fighting it for a good portion of the night. Chacin had a 32-pitch first inning but escaped unscathed, while Maeda had three different four-pitch walks. Maeda was able to escape some damage thanks to eight strikeouts in his five-plus innings, including six in a row in the second and third innings.

The bottom of the sixth had designs on being a big inning for the Padres, but it was also a quirky inning. Three different Dodgers pitchers — Maeda, Luis Avilan, and Sergio Romo — faced six Padres batters, and none of the first five put the ball in play. After two strikeouts and three walks, Erick Aybar lined out to a diving Justin Turner at third base, on the 37th and final pitch of the inning.

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres
This sixth-inning catch by Justin Turner with the bases loaded kept the Dodgers deficit at 2-1.
Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

Notes

  • Puig’s stolen base in the eighth inning was his third of the season, which is tops on the Dodgers.
  • Yasmani Grandal threw out Jabari Blash trying to steal second base in the seventh inning, preventing the Padres from getting what at the time would have been the tying run in scoring position. Grandal has thrown out 7-of-15 (46.7%) of would-be base stealers this season.
  • After pitching the seventh inning, Pedro Baez got a rare plate appearance in the eighth inning, just the second of his career. The former minor league third baseman struck out. Baez faced two batters in the eighth inning and got one out.
  • Josh Fields got the last out of the eighth inning. He entered in a 4-2 game with the tying run at the plate. After the Dodgers scored four in the ninth, there was no need for Kenley Jansen, so Fields finished the game. But since Fields entered in a save situation himself, then finished the game, he picked up the save, the first Dodgers pitcher other than Jansen to get a regular season save since Chris Hatcher on Oct. 4, 2015, the final day of that season.

Up next

The Dodgers shuffled their rotation a bit for the rest of the series, and now Clayton Kershaw will pitch Saturday evening, a 5:40 p.m. PT start in San Diego. The Padres will send Clayton Richard to the mound, making the middle game of the series just the second battle between these Claytons, and the first since July 13, 2012.

Friday particulars

Home runs: Cody Bellinger 2 (4)

WP - Sergio Romo (1-1): ⅔ IP, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

LP - Jose Torres (1-2): ⅔ IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 1 strikeout

Sv - Josh Fields (1): 1⅓ IP, 2 strikeouts