The Padres, fresh off a triumphant swing through the Bay Area, stayed hot in Los Angeles, where they shut down the hard-hitting Dodgers 7-1 Friday.
The victory kept the momentum going after their sweep of the San Francisco Giants, as the Padres won their fourth straight on the strength of a seven-inning, two-hit performance by Yu Darvish.
The starter, who had nine strikeouts, also hit a personal milestone, recording the 3,000th punch out of his professional career, split between his time playing in Japan and in the Major Leagues.
The offense backed him up with three home runs, including Manny Machado’s third in five games. He and Brandon Drury each hit two-run homers in the third, off Dodger starter Dustin May. Jurickson Profar added a three-run blast in the sixth.
The Dodgers emitted a murmur of protest in the bottom of the ninth with a double by Justin Turner and a single by Joey Gallo, but Nabil Crismatt regained control and shut them down.
With the win, the Padres improved their chances of snagging a wild-card spot in baseball’s expanded playoff format. Atlanta leads the wild-card race by 8.5 games, but the Padres slipped ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies by a half game for the second slot Friday.
They also gained a game on the Milwaukee Brewers, who are chasing San Diego and Philadelphia to try and secure the third and final spot.
Another good sign – the Friars broke through against the Dodgers, who have won 17 of their last 19 matchups. They meet eight more times before the season ends, so manager Bob Melvin knows the team’s playoff chances will be heavily affected by how they play against L.A.
“I think it’s natural to have certain amount of urgency this time of year,” he told Bally Sports San Diego. “You’d certainly hope that.”
The Padres send Sean Manaea to the mound Saturday, followed by Mike Clevinger on Sunday.