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Dodgers hold off Padres for 6-5 win and 2-0 NLDS lead

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Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger robs Fernando Tatis Jr. of a seventh inning homer.
Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger robs Fernando Tatis Jr. of a seventh inning homer in Game 2 of the NLDS at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas on Wednesday.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times )

Joe Kelly replaces Kenley Jansen in the ninth inning and escapes a self-created jam to help the Dodgers beat the Padres, 6-5.

Following a sluggish start at the plate, the Dodgers scored four runs in the sixth inning to take a 5-1 victory in Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday.

The Dodgers will look to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series lead when Clayton Kershaw takes the mound at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

Follow us for live updates and analysis of Game 2 of the NLDS between the Dodgers and Padres.

Bellinger reflects on his catch

Here’s what Cody Bellinger said to Fox about his home-run-robbing catch: “I knew he hit it, so in this ballpark it was just get to the fence. I thought it was off the black screen or I was going to have a chance. I tried to time up the jump. It went in the glove.”

Where it ranks for catches in his career?

“That’s No. 1 ... I think I’ve only robbed one homer in my career, and that’s the first in the postseason.”

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Dodgers hang on 6-5, move within one win of NLCS

Final: Dodgers 6, Padres 5

The Dodgers survive. Joe Kelly walked Fernando Tatis Jr and Manny Machado to load the bases but got Eric Hosmer to ground out and end a wild Game 2. The Dodgers have a 2-0 series lead over the Padres, moving them within one game of their fourth NLCS appearance in five years. They will go for the sweep on Thursday night.

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Padres score again, Jansen coming out of the game with two outs in the ninth

Kenley Jansen can’t get the save. With two outs in the ninth, he allows another hit to Trent Grisham, an RBI single that cuts the Dodgers’ lead to 6-5 with Fernando Tatis Jr. of all people coming up to the plate.

Joe Kelly will be asked to get the last out now and prevent the Dodgers from blowing a three-run ninth-inning lead.

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Padres get one back, bring tying run to the plate

After getting a quick first out, Jansen faced full counts in back-to-back at-bats. He couldn’t get either man out. First, Jake Cronenworth singled. Then, Mitch Moreland doubled into the right-field gap. It’s 6-4 with only one out in the ninth and the tying run at the plate.

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Kenley Jansen is on for the ninth

Kenley Jansen gets the ninth inning, will try to protect the Dodgers’ 6-3 lead and finish off a Game 2 win...

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Graterol retires the eighth in order

There was far less drama during Brusdar Graterol’s second inning of work. He retires the side in order on just six pitches.

Barring any more insurance runs, the Dodgers will have a decision to make for the ninth save opportunity: Bring in Kenley Jansen for a second-straight day, leave in Graterol with his pitch count at seven, or turn to someone else for the final three outs?

Jansen is currently warming up in the bullpen. Dodgers still up 6-3.

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Dodgers double-steal leads to two more runs

After Bellinger robbed San Diego of two runs, the Dodgers score a pair in the very next half-inning.

Austin Barnes led off the bottom of the seventh with a four-pitch walk. Betts then grounded into a fielder’s choice to take his place at first.

A Seager single followed, putting him and Betts at first and second respectively. Then the two executed a double-steal to move into scoring position.

That set up a Justin Turner sac fly and Max Muncy RBI single, making it 6-3 Dodgers entering the eighth.

How quickly this game has swung back and forth and back again.

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Cody Bellinger robs Tatis to keep the Dodgers in front

Cody Bellinger already hit a key home run earlier tonight. In the seventh, he robbed the Padres of what would have been an even bigger one.

After Blake Treinen hit a batter with two outs, Dave Roberts turned to Brusdar Graterol out of the bullpen to face Fernando Tatis Jr.

On the first pitch, Tatis tattooed a ball to center for what seemed destined to be a go-ahead home run. But Bellinger tracked it to the wall, leapt above the boundary and brought it back for the final out instead.

After the catch, Dodgers and Padres players appeared to trade words following Graterol’s wild glove-throwing celebration. At one point, the pitcher blew kisses to the Padres dugout too.

Regardless, it remains 4-3 Dodgers in the seventh.

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Kershaw, Davies both exit game

Zach Davies’ night came to an end at the start of the sixth, posting a final line of five innings, four runs, nine hits and three strikeouts.

His replacement, right-handed reliever Emilio Pagan, retired the side in order – the first time the Dodgers didn’t produce a base runner since the second inning.

Clayton Kershaw’s night is also coming to an end, as Blake Treinen will be summoned from the bullpen to pitch the seventh.

Kershaw’s final line: Six innings, three runs, six hits (including the two home runs), six strikeouts

The Dodgers’ bullpen will begin its night protecting a 4-3 lead.

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Padres hit back-to-back homers off Kershaw, cut Dodgers lead to 4-3

Manny Machado of the San Diego Padres celebrates a solo home run in the sixth inning.
(K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

After a quiet opening five innings, the Padres lineup burst to life in the fifth. Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer hit back-to-back homers off Clayton Kershaw to lead off the inning and make it a one-run game – the second time in the last two postseasons Kershaw has allowed homers in consecutive at-bats.

Blake Treinen is now warming up in the Dodgers’ bullpen.

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Kershaw adds to strikeout total, nears another postseason career-high

After striking out a playoff-career-high 13 batters last week, Clayton Kershaw is up to six punch outs tonight through five innings. One more would give him another new career high for most strikeouts in consecutive postseason starts – surpassing the 19 strikeouts he recorded over two games in both the 2014 and 2015 postseasons.

He’s showing no signs of slowing down either, as his fastball velocity has remained steady almost all night in the low 90s. That pitch has also induced the most swing-and-misses, six, and is averaging just 79.6 mph of exit velocity when it is put in play.

Still 4-1 Dodgers in the fifth.

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Cody Bellinger makes it 4-1 with solo blast

Cody Bellinger is greeted by third base coach Dino Ebel after homering in Game 2.
Cody Bellinger is greeted by third base coach Dino Ebel after homering in Game 2.
(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

Through the first three games of this postseason, manager Dave Roberts complimented Cody Bellinger’s ability to battle in counts and survive with two strikes.

To lead off the fourth inning, however, the reigning MVP didn’t wait to attack. Bellinger jumped on Zach Davies’ first-pitch changeup, hammering the series’ first home run to almost the deepest part of the ballpark.

According to Statcast, it went 433 feet and left the bat with a 105.2 mph exit velocity.

It was also Bellinger’s first postseason homer since the 2018 NLCS and makes it 4-1 Dodgers.

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Kershaw keeps pounding the zone, strands a couple Padres in the fourth

Clayton Kershaw has thrown first pitch strikes to 15 of his 16 batters faced tonight, including to all five batters he faced in a scoreless fourth inning.

After strikeouts of Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers and singles from Tommy Pham and Jake Cronenworth – the latter aided by Justin Turner’s trip on the infield trying to play a ground ball – Kershaw retired the side and stranded the two baserunners by getting Jurickson Profar to fly out to center.

Eleven of the left-hander’s 42 strikes have been swing-and-misses, and he’s only at 56 pitches total through four innings. Still 3-1 Dodgers.

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Seager and Muncy drive in runs, Dodgers take a 3-1 lead

Max Muncy
(ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Back-to-back leadoff singles from AJ Pollock and Austin Barnes set the stage for a three-run Dodgers third inning. With one out, Corey Seager’s double to right scored two runs and gave the Dodgers the lead.

Two batters later, Max Muncy drove a single up the middle to bring Seager home as well.

Barnes’ at-bat, in particular, was important. After fouling off a bunt on the first pitch, he went back to full swing and lined a changeup into left. Seager, meanwhile, now has a team-high four RBI.

It’s 3-1 Dodgers through three innings.

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Kershaw comes back with a scoreless third

Clayton Kershaw responded from the second-inning run by retiring the side in the third. The first two outs were easy. The third, however, required a great play in the field.

Justin Turner fielded Manny Machado’s grounder at third but slightly pulled his throw across the diamond. First baseman Max Muncy bailed him out, stretching out to pick the ball and end the inning.

It remains 1-0 Padres, midway through the third

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Padres strike first on Wil Myers’ RBI double

After nine consecutive scoreless innings to begin this postseason, Clayton Kershaw allows his first run. After Tommy Pham singled on the first pitch of the inning, Wil Myers slapped a two-strike slider the other way for a double into the gap that scored Pham from first, making it 1-0 San Diego.

Kershaw stopped the damage there, sandwiching a Jurickson Profar grounder to the mound between strikeouts of Jake Cronenworth and Ausitn Nola. But, for the second time in two games this series, the Dodgers find themselves behind first.

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Zach Davies, usual Dodger killer, records a scoreless first

San Diego Padres starter Zach Davies usually likes facing the Dodgers. In eight career regular-season starts against L.A., the 27-year-old right-hander is 3-3 with a 2.37 ERA – his second-lowest against any opponent he’s faced more than twice.

It was more of the same in the first inning tonight. After a leadoff single by Mookie Betts, Corey Seager hit into a fielder’s choice that would have been a double-play if not for an inaccurate throw to first, Justin Turner struck out swinging and Max Muncy grounded out to first in a full count.

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Three up, three down for Kershaw in the first

Clayton Kershaw delivers a pitch in the first inning of Game 2.
Clayton Kershaw delivers a pitch in the first inning of Game 2.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Clayton Kershaw makes easy work of the first. Fernando Tatis Jr. flied out on the first pitch. Manny Machado went down swinging on an elevated fastball. And Eric Hosmer grounded out softly to first.

Kershaw threw just nine pitches. Six of them were fastballs. He reached 92.8 mph on the radar gun.

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Kershaw prepares to take the mound

Clayton Kershaw will start for the second time this postseason – and if it’s anything like the first, the Dodgers will be in good shape.

Last week, the left-hander threw eight scoreless innings against the Milwaukee Brewers in the wild card series, a night his slider was dominant and increased fastball velocity was again on display. When asked about Kershaw’s success today, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts gave a simple answer.

“Health obviously is most important,” Roberts said. “Sequencing his pitches the right way is another variable. And on the health component, his arm speed is as good as I’ve seen it. I think that’s part of his, his body’s feeling good. So when you’re talking about throwing a slider or a curveball to get the depth that it needs or the fastball with the life in the zone, that speaks to the body and the arm speed.”

More on Kershaw’s start from last week here.

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Young arms will be key for Padres in NLDS against Dodgers

San Diego Padres starting pitcher Mike Clevinger throws during the first inning of Game 1 of the NLDS on Tuesday.
(Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press)

Whether Mike Clevinger throws another pitch for the San Diego Padres this postseason is open to question. So is this: Might the Dodgers need to beat two precocious yet unproven arms to advance to the National League championship series?

The Dodgers arrived in October with concerns about postseason experience among their young pitchers, because the trio of Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May and Julio Urías had combined for one playoff start.

But those guys are grizzled veterans compared to the two arms the Padres might need to prevail in the division series. With Clevinger and co-ace Dinelson Lamet injured, the Padres used a 20-year-old pitcher to make his major league debut Tuesday and might need to use a 21-year-old pitcher to make his major league debut in coming days.

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Cody Bellinger is key to Dodgers’ win over Padres, even without crushing the ball

Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger reaches base on an error during the fifth inning Tuesday.
Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger reaches base on an error during the fifth inning of the Dodgers’ 5-1 win over the San Diego Padres in Game 1 of the NLDS on Tuesday.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Cody Bellinger is not bludgeoning the ball like he did in 2019, when he clubbed 47 homers, 34 doubles and drove in 115 runs to win National League MVP honors, but there is more in the Dodgers center fielder’s toolbox than a wood hammer.

Bellinger’s speed contributed to a fielding error that allowed the Dodgers to score their first run in the fifth inning, and his hand-eye coordination helped him fight off a tough pitch for an RBI infield single in a four-run sixth, as the Dodgers beat the San Diego Padres 5-1 in Game 1 of the NL Division Series in Arlington, Texas.

“I just appreciate the way he might not feel perfect mechanically, but he’s in there every single at-bat fighting, trying to win pitches,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

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Clayton Kershaw returns home, where he dominated, hoping to deliver Dodgers a title

Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw stands on the mound.
Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw stands on the mound during Game 2 of the National League wild-card series against the Milwaukee Brewers on Oct. 1.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

ARLINGTON, Texas — Eighteen days before the Dodgers drafted him, 32 days before he signed, and more than 14 years before he will make a major league start where he grew up for the first time, Clayton Kershaw solidified himself as one of the greatest pitchers in Texas high school history.

It happened in the third round of the 4A state playoffs at Highland Park High School in May 2006. Kershaw was a senior, the school’s ace, and shortly would be named the Gatorade National High School Player of the Year. Northwest High School became roadkill. Kershaw struck out every batter he faced in a five-inning perfect game and homered before the mercy rule took effect in a 10-0 win.

“It was the best pitching performance I’ve ever seen live in my entire life,” Che Hendrix said. “For sure.”

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Dodgers break it open late to take Game 1 of NLDS against Padres

ARLINGTON, Texas — The groundball ricocheted off the end of Cody Bellinger’s bat up the middle, slowly sneaking through the Globe Life Field infield before San Diego Padres second baseman Jake Cronenworth smothered it with a dive.

But it was too late. Bellinger sprinted through first base to complete a 71.4-mph infield hit as the Dodgers’ fourth run scored in their strange, slow-moving 5-1 win over the Padres in Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Tuesday. Bellinger turned to his excited dugout and shook his hands, the team’s celebration when someone reaches base on a hit they didn’t barrel up.

“It’s not about hitting home runs,” Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner said. “It’s about hitting balls hard and taking good at-bats. And, eventually, we broke them down.”

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