Dodgers look for one final win vs. Padres to stay in NL West race

MLB Baseball

Unable to get anywhere in the National League West Division title chase, the Los Angeles Dodgers have not shown signs of discouragement with the 2021 regular season closing fast.

They will get one more chance to show their resiliency to the San Diego Padres on Thursday night when the teams finish their season series with a game at Los Angeles.

The Dodgers (102-56) have won the past eight games between the teams.

On Wednesday, the Dodgers trailed 9-5 in the seventh inning and 9-6 to open the eighth against San Diego before they crushed four home runs in the frame to take the lead and earn an improbable 11-9 victory.

Max Muncy had his team-leading 36th home run in the eighth, AJ Pollock added his second home run of the game, and Cody Bellinger ended a long homer drought by also going deep in the frame to tie it.

The Dodgers finally regained the lead when Corey Seager followed a Justin Turner double off the wall with a two-run home run to right field.

“Regardless of what’s going on around us, for our guys to be relentless and for the offense to pick us up, (we got) contributions from so many guys,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “It was a really special night and it speaks a lot to the guys.”

It was shades of a game in September 2006, also against the Padres, when the Dodgers hit four consecutive home runs in the ninth inning and Nomar Garciaparra won it with a long ball in the 10th. Garciaparra was in the Dodgers’ broadcast booth Wednesday.

Los Angeles is 38-13 since Aug. 1, but the Giants have gone 37-15 over the same stretch to maintain a two-game division lead on the Dodgers.

Now Los Angeles faces a scenario in which it will win more than 100 games and could be relegated into a winner-take-all wild-card contest against the red-hot St. Louis Cardinals.

“If it gets to that, I know we will be prepared,” Roberts said.

On Thursday, the Dodgers will send right-hander Tony Gonsolin (4-1, 3.00 ERA) to the mound in an effort to win their fourth straight game.

Gonsolin, who is trying to make a case for himself as a member of the bullpen on the playoff roster, is 2-0 with an 0.66 ERA in 13 2/3 career innings against San Diego.

The Padres will counter with right-hander Vince Velasquez (3-8, 6.22), who will make his fourth start since he was claimed off waivers from the Philadelphia Phillies. Velazquez is 0-2 as a member of the Padres with a 9.00 ERA over eight innings and is 1-3 with a 7.88 ERA in eight lifetime appearances against the Dodgers.

The Padres (78-80) were eliminated from playoff contention Saturday, have lost five consecutive games and have dropped 10 of their past 11 as a once-promising season has imploded. Since Aug. 1, the Padres are 16-23.

Padres outfielder Wil Myers called the season both “frustrating” and “sickening.”

Wednesday’s defeat didn’t make it any better.

“Those are fair assessments, and everybody is frustrated, disappointed,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said. “I didn’t feel like we played the kind of ball like we are capable of, certainly in the second half, and there are a number of reasons for that. But I think those adjectives, when you have a group of men that care, I think those are very real and accurate feelings.”

–Field Level Media

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