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Dodgers rout Padres behind Freddie Freeman, Will Smith, Lance Lynn

Freeman has 4 hits on his 34th birthday

MLB: San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Following Monday night’s script, the Dodgers once again took a commanding lead early on against the “I can’t believe they’re nine under .500” Padres, but this time the Dodgers held on with ease for an 11-2 win on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.

While the team as a whole is most likely set to be the number two seed in the postseason, individual players still have a lot to prove and work on. As they prepare for what we all hope may be a long October run.

Will Smith, whose numbers have taken a dive in the second half, played an important role in this victory. The Dodgers' catcher started his night two for two plus a walk and was hit by a pitch, including a three-run home run in the bottom of the fourth.

With no Miguel Rojas, Kiké Hernandez got the nod at shortstop against a right-hander, and it was significant to see him doing damage against same-handed pitching, scoring a couple of runs on two hits.

The Dodgers have very good platoon options in different areas. However, over the course of the postseason, at one point or another, most of these guys will end up having to face same-handed pitching.

It may not seem like much, but two hits from Hernández against Michael Wacha, who had been throwing the ball well, were noticeable.

On the pitching side of things, it was Lance Lynn’s night, and the veteran would not be denied. After the first two batters reached safely, eyebrows were raised, but Lynn got out of the first unscathed and proceeded to get 18 more outs.

Lynn, who after recent struggles is pitching to earn a larger and larger role in the postseason, tossed seven full frames, allowing but a pair of homers, going a whopping 111 pitches.

Fernando Tatis Jr. managed to get a long ball in there as he squared up Lynn all night, but the key here is that it was a solo shot, with limited damage.

Freddie Freeman started the party early on his birthday

An MVP may be out of reach, but Freeman is coming for you, Luis Arráez. The Dodgers’ star first baseman was the primary man behind this Dodgers’ win, notching another four-hit game in his stellar 2023 campaign.

Freeman scored the Dodgers first run after Smith drove him in with a double in the opening inning, and a couple of frames later, went yard in the house specialty, to left-center.

With a single in the following frame, Freeman earned his sixth four-hit game of the year, and raised his batting average to .339, only nine points behind Arráez for the National League lead.

Freeman is not catching Arráez most likely, but the simple fact this is even within the realm of possibilities is remarkable, given where the Marlins' hitter was earlier in the season.

Freeman’s final hit was his 55th double of the season, tied for ninth-most in National League history.

Game notes

Rich Hill came into this game for mop-up duty in the seventh, and that’s significant because it may be, in fact, the final time the Dodgers see the southpaw. This was probably said across the final times they faced him in past seasons, but with each year, it grows likelier.

Prospect Kyle Hurt, called up from Triple-A earlier Tuesday, made his debut with the team up 9-2 in the eighth, and he retired all six batters he faced. Hurt ran through the heart of the Padres order in the eighth, then struck out all three batters he faced in the ninth to close out the win.

Tuesday particulars

Home runs: Will Smith (18), Freddie Freeman (26); Fernando Tatis Jr. (24)

WP — Lance Lynn (11-11): 7 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 3 strikeouts

LP — Michael Wacha (11-4): 4 IP, 7 hits, 7 runs, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts

Up next

The Dodgers and Padres will play a rubber match on Wednesday night (7:10 p.m., SportsNet LA). Young right-hander Ryan Pepiot will face National League Cy Young Award hopeful Blake Snell. This will be the last meeting between these two division rivals in 2023.