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Dodgers find no relief against Padres bullpen, the NLDS is now tied

Division Series - San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Two Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — Game 2 between the Dodgers and Padres was a back-and-forth affair, with both teams trading leads, making highlight plays, getting in and, more often than not, getting out of jams in a tense battle for nine innings. The Padres were able to score against the bullpen and the Dodgers were not in a 5-3 San Diego win on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.

The National League Division Series is now tied at one game apiece.

Once again the upper limit for starting pitchers in this series proved to be 15 outs, with Clayton Kershaw done after five innings and Yu Darvish unable to retire the two batters he faced in the sixth.

Kershaw’s first inning was interrupted by one, and nearly two collisions. The first came when a slider caught far too much of the plate that Manny Machado deposited into the left field seats, 106.4 mph off the bat. The second came when a Fox Sports cameraperson nearly collided with third base coach Matt Williams while filming Machado’s trek around the bases.

Machado also doubled home a run in the third.

The first three innings were a slog for Kershaw, who allowed six hits to his first 12 batters faced. But he recovered to retire his final nine Padres faced, including a 100-mph line out by Juan Soto and a 109-mph groundout by Machado to end the fifth.

Kershaw allowed three runs but it could have been much worse. He escaped runners on second and third with one out in the second with nobody scoring, and in the same situation with nobody out in the third allowed just one to score. The strikeout helped, with four of Kershaw’s six strikeouts finished off by his slider.

The Dodgers picket-fenced Darvish with a home run in each of the first three innings. Freddie Freeman hit a ball so high in the first that in nearly brought rain before falling behind the centerfield wall.

Max Muncy took a bite out of a Darvish slider for a solo home run in the second to give the Dodgers the lead. It was a welcome sight for Muncy, who missed all of last postseason with a partially torn UCL.

Trea Turner tied the game with a solo shot in the third, his second home run in as many days after hitting just one home run in his first 39 career postseason games.

The Dodgers put runners on base in each of the next three innings against Darvish but were unable to score. Robert Suarez cleaned up the mess in the sixth after Darvish left with nobody out, striking out Justin Turner and inducing a double play grounder by Gavin Lux to escape. A double play that was possible partially because Muncy didn’t get to second on a ball hit over Soto’s head in right field, possibly — and if so, inexplicably — fooled by a deke from Soto in right.

Suarez got into his own trouble in the seventh but was able to wriggle out of that too, getting Trea Turner to ground out and Will Smith to fly out, with an intentional walk to Freeman in between.

Brusdar Graterol, who threw one pitch to get one big out in Game 1, was the first reliever out of the gate in Game 2. He allowed an unearned run on a couple of soft singles and an error on Trea Turner, but the inning was truly saved by a pair of incredible defensive gems.

With runners on the corners and one out, Trent Grisham tried to bunt but Graterol pounced on the ball and threw home to nail Wil Myers. Then Austin Nola had designs on a two-run double, only to have Cody Bellinger track it down after a twisting, turning chase.

The joy of Yency Almonte striking out Ha-Seong Kim, Soto, and Machado in his first career playoff inning in the seventh was counterbalanced by Blake Treinen allowing a home run in his first game in 37 days.

The Dodgers put two runners on base in each of the fourth, sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, and had a runner in scoring position in the ninth, but failed to score, going hitless in eight at-bats with runners in scoring position for the game.

With two on and two out in the eighth, Cody Bellinger was removed for a pinch-hitter with closer Josh Hader coming in. Chris Taylor was deemed healthy and available when added to the NLDS roster, and Dave Roberts praised Miguel Vargas’ hit tool in including him on the roster. But instead, Austin Barnes pinch hit and flew out to end the threat.

Roberts after the game said Taylor was healthy, but he preferred Barnes in that matchup with Hader.

The Dodgers are 4-for-32 against the Padres bullpen in 9⅓ innings in this series, putting up a goose egg.

NLDS Game 2 particulars

Home runs: Freddie Freeman (1), Max Muncy (1), Trea Turner (2); Manny Machado (2), Jake Cronenworth (1)

WP — Robert Suarez (1-0): 2 IP, 2 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

LP — Brusdar Graterol (0-1): 1 IP, 2 hits, 1 unearned run

Sv — Josh Hader (1): 1⅓ IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Up next

Thursday is the lone off day of the series, with both teams headed down to San Diego. Tony Gonsolin will start for the Dodgers in Game 3 on Friday night (5:37 p.m., FS1). Blake Snell starts for the Padres.