The Dodgers had not faced many left-handed pitchers so far this season but when they did, they were hitting a collective .194/.282/.255 and their .537 OPS was tied with Arizona for 28th in the majors.
With left-hander Sean Manaea as their opposing pitcher on Sunday, it did not appear that their woes would end today but the Dodgers were able to knock out Manaea in the fifth inning and cruise to an easy like Sunday afternoon 10-2 win over the Padres at Petco Park.
Clayton Kershaw won his third game of the season and while he was not dominant, he did collect three strikeouts in his five innings of work. That left him four short of taking the Dodger franchise lead. That will have to wait for another day, possibly this coming Saturday at Dodger Stadium against the Detroit Tigers.
Having been held to just two runs on Saturday, the Dodgers scored first for the first time this weekend. Mookie Betts led off with a flair single to right. Freddie Freeman hit a ground ball to the left side, Manny Machado fielded the ball and did a glove-flip to shortstop Ha-Seong Kim but the flip was bobbled and Betts was safe at second. Kim’s error (albeit could give half to Machado) was the first for the Padres this season.
That play would end up contributing to the Dodgers’s lone run that inning as Trea Turner’s fly ball to right moved Betts over to third. Justin Turner followed with a sacrifice fly to center and Dodgers had a 1-0 lead.
In the third inning, Betts walked with one out. Freeman, who before today’s game was hitting .154/.353/.231 against left-handed pitching so far this season, hit a two-run homer to give the Dodgers a three-run lead.
Cody Bellinger joined Freeman for the club lead in home runs when he hit his third home run of the season, a solo shot to center in the fourth inning.
Lefty-lefty? Advantage Belli. pic.twitter.com/vgYMTt2Owg— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) April 24, 2022
Down by four, the Padres rallied back in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs, Eric Hosmer singled to center to move Manny Machado to third. Wil Myers then hit a fly ball single to right field to score Machado and cut the lead to three runs.
Their three-run deficit did not last long.
In the top of fifth, a single and two walks led to Sean Manaea’s exit. Chris Taylor’s sacrifice fly would drive home Trea Turner and then Bellinger hit his second home run of the game to make it 8-1.
Second homer of the day? Stunt on 'em, Belli. pic.twitter.com/NQx74J7INr— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) April 24, 2022
With the nine-run lead, Clayton Kershaw was taken out after five innings of work. He now has 23 strikeouts and no walks in 17 innings pitched.
Right-handed pitcher Reyes Moronta made his Dodger debut just hours after his contract was selected by the Dodgers . Moronta would allow his one inherited runner to score but otherwise showed some nice off-speed pitches to add to the Dodger bullpen.
Along with Moronta, the Dodgers had Justin Bruihl and Garret Cleavinger pitch the sixth though eighth innings. Despite the eight-run lead, Craig Kimbrel who last pitched on Monday against the Braves, came in to finish the game with one strikeout.
Home run: Freddie Freeman (3), Cody Bellinger 2 (4)
WP: Clayton Kershaw (3-0): 5 IP, 1 run, 4 hits, 3 strikeouts
LP: Sean Manaea (2-2): 4⅓ IP, 7 runs (6 earned), 6 hits, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts
The Dodgers continue their road trip as they face the Arizona Diamondbacks for the first time this season. Walker Buehler and Merrill Kelly will toe the pitching rubber for their respective teams on Monday to start the series.
First pitch is at 6:40 p.m. PDT and will be on SportsNetLA.