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Padres sweep the Dodgers

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Trevor Bauer got the start for the Dodgers on Wednesday.
(Associated Press)

San Diego sweeps L.A. for the first time in their last 45 series together.

Albert Pujols lines into a double play with two on in the top of the ninth to end the Dodgers’ final threat.

Padres sweep Dodgers, 5-3

SAN DIEGO — As the National League standings currently stand, the Dodgers would have to beat the San Diego Padres in the wild-card game to keep their hopes of repeating as World Series champions alive.

That would be the consolation prize for not winning the division for the ninth consecutive season. It’s an uneasy possibility. One mistake, one bad night, one dominant start on the other side and it’s all over. The good news is there are 87 games left on the Dodgers’ regular-season schedule to avoid that scenario. The bad news is the Padres have had their way with them and aren’t going away.

The Padres competed a three-game sweep of the Dodgers with a 5-3 win at a sold-out Petco Park on Wednesday. The Dodgers (44-30) have dropped seven of eight games to the Padres (45-32) after winning the season’s first two meetings. The Padres moved within a half-game of the second-place Dodgers with the first-place San Francisco Giants are four games ahead of them. The clubs don’t meet again until late August.

“They absolutely kicked our ass from an intensity standpoint,” Dodgers starter Trevor Bauer said. “They came to play, we didn’t. That’s what happens in baseball. You try to attack the other team and win and when you don’t have that mindset, you get rolled. And we got rolled.”

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Dodgers tie it in top of eighth, Padres retake lead in bottom of eighth

Dodgers: Right-hander Emilio Pagan now pitching for the Padres. Pollock grounded to third. Taylor lined to third. Muncy doubled to right. Turner singled to center, scoring Muncy. It is 3-3. Turner took second on a passed ball. Left-hander Tim Hill replaces Pagan. Bellinger flied to right.

Padres: Cronenworth doubled to right on a ball Beaty should have caught. Totally misplayed it and it bounced off his glove. Machado grounded to third. Turner was so concerned about keeping Cronenworth on second that he threw late to first. First and second, none out. And that’s it for Treinen. Left-hander Victor Gonzalez, who seems to pitch in every game, comes in to pitch. Hosmer sacrificed the runners to second and third. Myers was walked intentionally. Grisham walked on seven pitches, forcing in the go-ahead run. Bases loaded, one out. Caratini comes up to hit and Joe Kelly comes in to pitch. Caratini flied to right, scoring Machado. First and second, two out. Ha-Seong Kim, batting for the pitcher, grounded to the pitcher.

Score after eight: Padres 5, Dodgers 3

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Padres take 3-2 lead in seventh

Dodgers: Right-hander Craig Stammen now pitching. Beaty struck out swinging. Lux grounded to short right, but that’s where Machado was stationed. Two out. McKinstry flied to center.

Padres: Caratini homered to right. It’s 3-2 Padres. Jurickson Profar, batting for Stammen, walked on five pitches. And that’s it for Bauer. Right-hander Blake Treinen is now pitching. AJ Pollock into the game in left. Beaty to right. McKinstry out of the game. Pham grounded to short, Profar to second. With Tatis up, Profar tried to steal second. He left way early and Treinen picked him off, with Lux throwing to Turner for the out. Tatis struck out swinging.

Score after seven: Padres 3, Dodgers 2

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Nothing doing in sixth, still 2-2

Dodgers: Muncy grounded to the pitcher. Turner grounded to third. Bellinger walked on four pitches. Smith popped to third.

Padres: Machado lined to center. Hosmer singled to center. Myers popped to second. Grisham struck out swinging.

Score after six: Dodgers 2, Padres 2

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It’s 2-2 after five innings

Dodgers: McKinstry lined to first. Bauer struck out swinging. Taylor flied to right.

Padres: Pham lined to right. McKinstry got a great jump on the ball and had to reach up to grab it while running. Making a tough play look easy. Tatis struck out swinging. Cronenworth struck out looking.

Score after five: Dodgers 2, Padres 2

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Dodgers tie it, 2-2, in top of fourth

Dodgers: Muncy doubled to left-center. Turner flied to right, Muncy to third. Bellinger walked on four pitches. Smith singled to center, scoring Muncy, Bellinger to second. Beaty grounded to first. Hosmer threw to Tatis, who, trying to turn the double play, threw the ball past first, allowing Bellinger to score. The pitcher was covering first and was unable to dig the ball out. But it was a bad throw. Lux grounded to the pitcher.

Padres: Machado struck out swinging. Hosmer struck out swinging. Myers walked on six pitches. Grisham hit a ground-rule double to left, which was a break for the Dodgers because Myers would have probably scored on a regular double. Musgrove struck out looking.

Score after four: Dodgers 2, Padres 2

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It’s still 2-0 Padres after three innings

Dodgers: Zach McKinstry popped to third. Trevor Bauer grounded to third. Taylor struck out looking.

Padres: Joe Musgrove struck out swinging. Pham struck out swinging. Tatis walked on six pitches. Tatis stole second. Cronenworth popped to third.

Score after three: Padres 2, Dodgers 0

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Padres 2, Dodgers 0 after two innings

Dodgers: Will Smith struck out looking. Matt Beaty grounded to the pitcher. Gavin Mux flied to deep left-center.

Padres: Wil Myers grounded to first. Trent Grisham grounded to third. Vic Caratini struck out swinging.

Score after two: Padres 2, Dodgers 0

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Padres take 2-0 lead on homers by Cronenworth, Machado

Dodgers: Right-hander Joe Musgrove on the mound for the Padres. Chris Taylor, leading off because Mookie Betts is out with the stomach flu, struck out swinging. The first-base ump ruled that he swung at ball four earlier. The first-base ump was wrong. Max Muncy struck out swinging. Justin Turner was hit in the left elbow by a pitch. But, he wears an elbow guard, so he is OK. Cody Bellinger, just off the IL, flied to deep right.

Padres: Right-hander Trevor Bauer on the mound for the Padres. How many times will he be checked for illegal substances? Tommy Pham grounded to short. Fernando Tatis Jr. struck out swinging. Jake Cronenworth homered to right. He is having a big series. Padres have scored in the first inning every game this series. Manny Machado homered to DEEP left. Bauer threw him eight consecutive sliders. Not sure what the idea behind that was. Eric Hosmer lined to center.

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Dodgers unsure about Corey Seager’s next step

SAN DIEGO — Over the weekend, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the club planned on sending Corey Seager on rehab assignment by the end of the week. It was an encouraging development and firmly put him in line to return from the injured list by early July.

But Roberts on Wednesday said that those plans are now unclear.

“We don’t [know yet],” Roberts said. “With fractures, every person is different as far as the healing process. He’s on his progression, but it could take some time. I think it’s one of those things that needs to heal the right way and then we’ll get him out when the time is right. But I just don’t have any clarity.”

Seager fractured the hand when he was hit by a pitch May 15. He started taking batting practice on the field with teammates last week in Arizona.

Roberts said Seager feels discomfort when swinging a bat and “with the actions.” Roberts said early July “hopefully” still makes sense for Seager’s return.

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Cody Bellinger is back, hoping he’s back for good

SAN DIEGO — Cody Bellinger has been a spectator, in person and from a distance, more than a participant for the Dodgers this season. Injuries limited him to playing in 16 of the club’s first 73 games. The latest one, a left hamstring strain, cost him 12 days. He returned Wednesday. He hopes it’s for good.

“It hasn’t been fun,” Bellinger said. “Hopefully this is the last time we say, ‘Back again.’”

Bellinger said he took between five and six at-bats in simulated games over four days to test the hamstring. He said he knew he was ready because he could be himself without thinking about it. He hopes it’s the end to a frustrating stretch.

The 2019 NL MVP underwent shoulder surgery in November and didn’t appear in spring training games until mid-March. He then fractured his left fibula April 5 when an Athletics reliever stepped on his leg. He returned to play in 12 games before straining his left hamstring June 11. He’s batting .226 with one home run and a .647 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 71 plate appearances.

“I’m so over like the number aspect,” Bellinger said. “Personally, for me, it’s just helping this team win any way I can. Doing the little things right. Just playing the game of baseball. I’m a pretty good baseball player so just doing all the all-around things and that’s what I look forward to. And just having fun with it. Because it’s not fun watching.”

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Bellinger will play three or four games in a row in center field before getting a day off.

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Mookie Betts not in Dodgers’ lineup Wednesday

Los Angeles Dodgers' Mookie Betts rounds first base after a ground ball and fielding error.
Mookie Betts will not start tonight.
(Associated Press)

SAN DIEGO — The Dodgers are getting Cody Bellinger back in their lineup Wednesday, but they won’t have Mookie Betts.

The right fielder isn’t in the Dodgers’ lineup after leaving Tuesday’s game with stomach flu symptoms in the sixth inning. Betts went 0 for 3 with a strikeout before he was pulled.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Betts was still at the team hotel as of 4 p.m. to limit the chances of Betts’ illness spreading to others. He was expected to report to the ballpark for the game. Roberts said Betts would only be available in an emergency situation.

Zach McKinstry will start in right field and Chris Taylor will lead off in Betts’ place as the Dodgers look to avoid a series sweep at Petco Park. They’ve lost six of seven games to the Padres after winning the first two meetings this season.

DODGERS (44-29, +98)
Chris Taylor 2B
Max Muncy 1B
Justin Turner 3B
Cody Bellinger CF
Will Smith C
Matt Beaty LF
Gavin Lux SS
Zach McKinstry RF
Trevor Bauer P

PADRES (44-32, +77)
Tommy Pham LF
Fernando Tatis Jr. SS
Jake Cronenworth 2B
Manny Machado 3B
Eric Hosmer 1B
Wil Myers RF
Trent Grisham CF
Victor Caratini C
Joe Musgrove P

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Dodgers activate Cody Bellinger, option Andy Burns

Los Angeles Dodgers' Cody Bellinger bats during a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Cody Bellinger
(Associated Press)

SAN DIEGO — The Dodgers added another key contributor Wednesday, activating Cody Bellinger from the injured list ahead of their series finale against the Padres.

Bellinger joins the roster after Max Muncy came off the injured list Tuesday. Infielder Andy Burns was optioned to triple-A Oklahoma City to make room on the roster.

Bellinger was placed on the injured list June 15 with left hamstring tightness. He’s expected to start in center field Wednesday.

It’s been a frustrating stretch since the end of last season for Bellinger.

The 2019 NL MVP underwent shoulder surgery in November and didn’t appear in spring training games until mid-March. He then fractured his left fibula April 5 when an Athletics reliever stepped on his leg. He returned to play in 12 games before the hamstring injury surfaced June 11.

In all, the 25-year-old Bellinger has played in just 16 of the Dodgers’ 73 games this season. He’s batting .226 with one home run and a .647 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 71 plate appearances.

Burns, 30, played in eight games in his first stint with the Dodgers. He went 3 for 11 with three walks. He recorded his first major league hit in his Dodgers debut June 12.

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Clayton Kershaw suggests managers should face punishment for unsuccessful sticky stuff requests

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw delivers during the first inning against the San Diego Padres.
Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw delivers during the first inning against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday in San Diego.
(Denis Poroy / Associated Press)

SAN DIEGO — Clayton Kershaw’s first experience in the Sticky Stuff Rule Enforcement Era proceeded without any problems Tuesday. The left-hander was subject to multiple inspections during his six-inning outing against the Padres and was cleared each time.

But things went awry across the country between the Phillies and Nationals, and Kershaw had something to say on it.

The odd situation at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia began when Phillies manager Joe Girardi requested that the umpires check on Nationals ace Max Scherzer for foreign substances during the middle of an inning soon after Scherzer was subject to a random check. The request enraged Scherzer.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner dropped his hat and glove to the ground and unbuckled his belt. Nationals manager Dave Martinez yelled towards the Phillies dugout.

Later, when Scherzer struck out J.T. Realmuto to end the inning, he stared down Girardi during his walk back to the dugout. A furious Girardi emerged to yell at Scherzer. He was promptly ejected.

MLB’s enforcement memo for foreign substances included a clause to deter managers from making requests in “bad faith (e.g. a request intended to disrupt the pitcher in a critical game situation, a routine request that is not based on observable evidence, etc.).

“If a manager makes a request for inspection, the umpire will determine whether and when to inspect the pitcher, taking into account when the pitcher was last inspected and whether the request was made in good faith.”

Kershaw said he thinks the league should go a step further and penalize a team if the manager’s request doesn’t lead to finding anything illegal.

“I think there should be a punishment if they don’t catch anything on the guy,” Kershaw said. “Scherzer is one of the best pitchers of our generation. ...You better find something if you’re going to call him out like that. Maybe there should be a punishment if a manager checks a guy and there isn’t anything or something like that.

Kershaw continued: “It throws you off. It’s something you’re not used to. Maybe they lose a challenge or maybe if they don’t have a challenge they can’t do it. But I think there should be some repercussions for managers just doing it on a whim like that.”

After the game, Girardi said he made the request because he saw Scherzer go to his hair more than usual. Scherzer said he did that because he had a tough time finding a grip with just rosin and needed his sweat to help.

In the end, the umpires determined he didn’t break any rules and he continued pitching. Whether the episode changes how MLB handles enforcement remains to be seen.

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Dodgers make it close, but lose 3-2 to Padres

SAN DIEGO — It took until the eighth inning of their 3-2 loss Tuesday night, 17 innings into their marquee three-game series against San Diego, for the Dodgers to apply pressure to the Padres’ pitching staff.

Chris Taylor singled, Justin Turner walked and Albert Pujols singled to load the bases with no outs. The Dodgers fans at Petco Park sensed the moment. A “Let’s Go Dodgers!” chant echoed. It was time. But the rally never came to fruition.

Will Smith hit a ground ball to third baseman Manny Machado, who turned a crafty double play by getting Turner to step out of the base line before firing to second base as Taylor scored the Dodgers’ first run. Padres manager Jayce Tingler then summoned Mason Thompson to face Max Muncy in his major league debut. Muncy walked before AJ Pollock grounded into a fielder’s choice to squash the threat.

Austin Barnes clubbed a pinch-hit solo home run in the ninth inning, but that was all the Dodgers (44-29) mustered as their sporadic offense fell short again. A night after tallying two runs on three hits, left-hander Blake Snell held the Dodgers scoreless over five innings in his third start against them this season. They finished went two for eight with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base.

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Dodgers close within 3-1, but are three outs away from losing

Dodgers: Taylor singled to center. Turner walked on six pitches. Last one was way outside. Is Crismatt getting tired? Pujols singled sharply to right, loading the bases. Andy Burns ran for Pujols. Smith grounded to third. Machado tagged Turner running by and then threw to second for the force. Taylor scored. Man on first, two out. That took the air out of the sails of the Dodger fans in Petco Park. With Muncy coming up, the Padres bring in right-hander Mason Thompson. Strange they wouldn’t bring in a left-hander there. Muncy walked on five pitches. Pollock grounded to third.

Padres: Burns at second base. Muncy at first base. Right-hander Jimmy Nelson now pitching. Tatis struck out swinging. Cronenworth lined to center. Machado struck out swinging.

Score after eight: Padres 3, Dodgers 1

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Dodgers six outs away from another loss to Padres

Dodgers: Souza struck out swinging. Beaty fouled to left. Lux struck out swinging.

Padres: Left-hander Victor Gonzalez now pitching for the Dodgers. Grisham grounded to the pitcher. Rivas walked on five pitches. Crismatt fouled off a two-strike bunt attempt, striking out. And that’s it for Gonzalez. Right-hander Blake Treinen is now pitching for the Dodgers. Pham grounded to second, forcing Rivas at second.

Score after seven: Padres 3, Dodgers 0

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Padres lead 3-0 after six innings

Dodgers: Right-hander Nabil Crismatt now pitching for the Padres. Smith grounded to second. Muncy grounded to Machado, who was playing in shallow right. It must be tough to keep score nowadays. Pollock struck out swinging.

Padres: Gavin Lux in at short. Taylor to short. Before the game, it was reported that Betts had stomach flu symptoms. Cronenworth fouled to short. Machado struck out swinging. Myers singled to third. Myers stole second. I’m beginning to think I could steal second against the Dodgers. Hosmer struck out looking at a full-count pitch.

Score after six: Padres 3, Dodgers 0

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Padres take 3-0 lead on Ha-Seong Kim’s homer

Dodgers: Kershaw reached on an infield single. Betts flied to center. Taylor struck out swinging. Turner walked on five pitches. First and second, two out. Pujols struck out swinging.

Padres: Rivas grounded to third. Ha-Seong Kim, batting for Snell, homered to left. That was 373 feet. Pham struck out swinging. Tatis grounded to short.

Score after five: Padres 3, Dodgers 0

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Nothing doing in fourth, still 2-0 Padres

Dodgers: Turner singled to center. Pujols grounded hard to third. The ball deflected off Machado’s glove and right to Tatis, who forced Turner at second. That’s why Tatis is leading All-Star game voting. Smith flied to the warning track in center. Muncy walked. Pollock reached first on Machado’s error, loading the bases. Souza grounded to short, forcing Pollock at second.

Padres: Machado struck out looking. Myers struck out swinging. Hosmer singled to third. Hosmer took second on a wild pitch. Grisham flied to left.

Score after four: Padres 2, Dodgers 0

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Padres 2, Dodgers 0 after three innings

Dodgers: Kershaw grounded to short. Betts grounded to third. Taylor struck out swinging.

Padres: Pham struck out swinging. Tatis flied to center. Cronenworth flied to left.

Score after three: Padres 2, Dodgers 0

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It’s 2-0 Padres after two innings

Dodgers: Max Muncy, back from the IL and in his first game since June 11, lined to left. AJ Pollock flied to right. Steven Souza Jr. flied to right.

Padres: Eric Hosmer grounded to left. Trent Grisham lined to left. Webster Rivas walked on four pitches. Blake Snell grounded to first.

Score after two: Padres 2, Dodgers 0

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Dave Roberts reverses stances, now thinks MLB should limit shifts

Dave Roberts looks on in the dugout.
Dave Roberts
(Associated Press)

SAN DIEGO – The Dodgers’ 6-2 loss to the San Diego Padres on Monday was perhaps best epitomized by an unusual play in the fifth inning.

Yu Darvish was cruising through the Dodgers’ lineup when Matt Beaty cracked a line drive to left field. It would’ve been an easy single in almost any other situation. But in this one the Padres had Manny Machado – their third baseman – standing in right field. Machado leapt to make the catch and end the inning.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has been a vocal proponent of defensive shifts. His club is one of the best at optimizing fielders’ positioning and turning balls in play into outs because of it. But Roberts on Tuesday said he’s reversed course.

“I just think that sometimes we end up kind of talking out of both sides of our mouths as far as trying to promote offense but allowing for other things that kind of suppress it,” Roberts said. “So I guess if I had my druthers I would do away with it.”

Roberts said Major League Baseball should limit shifts by forcing two infielders to stand on each side of second base or forcing infielders to stand on the infield dirt for pitches. Teams now regularly have their third basemen play in shallow right field against left-handed hitters.

The Dodgers entered Tuesday leading the majors in total shifts with 1,465 – nearly 200 more than the second-place New York Mets, according to Baseball Savant. They’ve shifted the most against right-handed hitters and the fifth-most against left-handed batters.

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Padres take 2-0 lead on Jake Cronenworth’s homer

Dodgers: Left-hander Blake Snell pitching for the Padres. Can we still do Kevin Cash jokes or is that out of style now? Mookie Betts struck out swinging. Chris Taylor doubled to deep left. Justin Turner grounded to second, Taylor to third. Albert Pujols walked on six pitches. Will Smith struck out swinging.

Padres: Left-hander Clayton Kershaw pitching for the Dodgers. Tommy Pham walked on five pitches. Fernando Tatis Jr. fouled to first. Jake Cronenworth homered to right. That was measure at 404 feet. Manny Machado struck out swinging. Wil Myers grounded to third.

Score after one: Padres 2, Dodgers 0

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Max Muncy activated, starting Tuesday against Padres

Dodgers infielder Max Muncy bats against the Arizona Diamondbacks on May 18.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

SAN DIEGO — Max Muncy was activated from the injured list and will be in the Dodgers’ lineup Tuesday against the Padres.

The slugger will bat sixth and play second base. Manager Dave Roberts said Muncy will start at first base in Wednesday’s series finale.

The Dodgers optioned outfielder Zach Reks to triple-A Oklahoma City to make room for Muncy on the active roster. Reks was with the Dodgers for a day. He made his major-league debut in Monday’s loss. He started in left field and went 0 for 2 before he was removed from the game.

Muncy credited returning so quickly from the strain – oblique stains often force players to miss weeks – to immediately speaking up when he felt the discomfort. He took between 12 and 14 at-bats over the weekend at the Dodgers’ spring training facility in Arizona and a few more Monday in a simulated game against Dodgers left-hander Scott Alexander.

“I had a swing and felt it grab a little bit, felt some pain in there and I did all the checks that we normally do and I could feel it a little bit, but it wasn’t too severe,” Muncy said before Tuesday’s game. “I mentioned something to the trainers and we decided to be precautionary with it. I got pulled out of the game and the next day it didn’t get any better, so we figured we should give it some rest. 10 days is better than six weeks.”

Muncy had been playing through a mysterious ankle injury before landing on the injured list. He said the time off allowed for it to improve, but it’s still not 100% and the Dodgers still aren’t sure what’s wrong. Muncy said they believe it could be a nerve problem.

He was the only left-handed hitting position player in the Dodgers’ lineup Tuesday against left-hander Blake Snell (Clayton Kershaw is the other left-handed hitter).

In a twist, Will Smith, not Austin Barnes, will catch Kershaw. Barnes has been Kershaw’s personal catcher in recent years. Smith was behind the plate for one of Kershaw’s first 15 starts this season.

DODGERS (44-28, +99)
Mookie Betts CF
Chris Taylor SS
Justin Turner 3B
Albert Pujols 1B
Will Smith C
Max Muncy 2B
AJ Pollock LF
Steven Souza Jr. RF
Clayton Kershaw P

PADRES (43-32, +76)
Tommy Pham LF
Fernando Tatis Jr. SS
Jake Cronenworth 2B
Manny Machado 3B
Wil Myers RF
Eric Hosmer 1B
Trent Grisham CF
Webster Rivas C
Blake Snell P

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Alex Verdugo overcomes Mookie Betts trade stigma by thriving for Red Sox

Boston Red Sox's Alex Verdugo celebrates his three-run home run during the fifth inning.
Boston’s Alex Verdugo celebrates hitting a three-run home run against the Miami Marlins on May 28. The former Dodger is making a good impression on Red Sox fans.
(Michael Dwyer / Associated Press)

The song doesn’t hit the same.

Fans don’t shriek when the trumpets blare over the speakers like they did at Dodger Stadium. They don’t sing along once Vicente Fernandez starts crooning. “Volver Volver” doesn’t evoke the same emotion when Alex Verdugo steps into the batter’s box at Fenway Park, where the fan base’s Latino sector prefers salsa and merengue over rancheras.

“It doesn’t get appreciated as it did in L.A., for sure,” Verdugo said in a recent phone interview, “but Boston fans have been coming around.”

That was the question when Verdugo arrived in Boston last February: Would Red Sox fans ever accept the guy replacing Mookie Betts?

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Dodgers’ Julio Urías is struggling, but Dave Roberts doesn’t think fatigue is a factor

Dodgers starter Julio Urías delivers during a loss to the San Diego Padres on Monday.
(Denis Poroy / Associated Press)

Julio Urías reached the summit of his sport last October when the Dodgers left-hander nailed down the final seven outs of a World Series-clinching Game 6 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays, helping his team win its first title since 1988.

The 24-year-old pitching prodigy has ascended to new heights again this year, his 88 innings before the All-Star break already more than he’s thrown in any of his five previous seasons, and his legs seem to be wobbling a bit in the rarefied air.

Urías gave up four runs before recording an out Monday night and threw 36 pitches to nine batters in a four-run first inning, digging a hole the Dodgers were unable to climb out of in a 6-2 loss to the San Diego Padres in Petco Park.

Tommy Pham and Jake Cronenworth both doubled in the first, and Manny Machado hit a towering three-run homer to left field for a 4-0 lead. Fernando Tatís Jr. doubled to lead off the fifth, and Cronenworth delivered a knockout blow to Urias, a two-run homer to right that made it 6-1.

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Betting lines and odds for Dodgers vs. Padres on Tuesday

San Diego Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell delivers against the Colorado Rockies on June 16.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

The Dodgers dropped the opener of a three-game series with the San Diego Padres on Monday, losing for the fourth time in their last five games against the NL West rival.

Clayton Kershaw will start for the Dodgers on Tuesday. He’s been very good against the Padres recently, winning nine of his last 10 starts at Petco Park.

The Padres will oppose him with former American League Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell, who has a 1.65 home ERA with opponents hitting .160 off him. He also is averaging 13.8 strikeouts per nine innings at Petco Park.

Dodgers line for June 22, 2021
(VSiN)

Both teams are among the top-four teams in ERA, but the Dodgers rank 20th in bullpen ERA (4.50) over the past 30 days. The rank second in the majors in bullpen ERA this season.

The Padres are 5-1 In Snell’s six home starts, allowing an average of 1.7 runs per. Nine of Kershaw’s last 11 starts have gone over the total.

VSiN, the Sports Betting Network, offers more expert sports betting content in a free daily email at VSiN.com/email.

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Julio Urías has a tough night as Dodgers drop series opener to Padres

Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias looks down as San Diego Padres' Manny Machado rounds the bases.
Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias looks down as San Diego Padres’ Manny Machado rounds the bases after hitting a three-run home run during the first inning on Monday in San Diego.
(Denis Poroy / Associated Press)

Two months ago, when the Dodgers and San Diego Padres squared off for the first time in 2021, their three-game series was billed as a clash between the top teams in the National League West and major league baseball’s newest rivals. It was as hyped as an April series could get. And it delivered thrills to match the expectations inside a Petco Park restricted to one-third capacity.

On Monday night, the teams reconvened at Petco Park to begin a three-game series with a sellout crowd and a slightly different tagline: second- and third-place clubs trying to not lose ground on the surging first-place San Francisco Giants.

The Padres took the first round, a 6-2 wire-to-wire win behind Yu Darvish to snap the Dodgers’ three-game winning streak. The Dodgers (44-28) have lost five of six games against San Diego since winning the clubs’ first two meetings this season. The Padres (43-32) moved within two 2½ games of the Dodgers and 4½ games of the Giants in the standings.

Monday’s result came down to the two starting pitchers. Darvish held the Dodgers — still without Corey Seager, Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger — to one run and two hits over six innings. He walked one and struck out 11 and became the first pitcher in major league history to reach 1,500 career strikeouts in fewer than 200 games. He has limited his former team to three runs over 20 innings in three outings this season.

“I just don’t see him not dominating any major league lineup tonight with the stuff that he had,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

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Dodgers fall to Padres, 6-2

Dodgers: Right-hander Emilio Pagan now pitching for the Padres. Taylor lined to second. McKinstry struck out swinging. The Dodgers have struck out 16 times tonight. Pollock fouled to third.

Final score: Padres 6, Dodgers 2

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Dodgers pull a little closer on Will Smith’s homer

Dodgers: Right-hander Craig Stammen now pitching. Lux lined to right. Turner struck out swinging. Smith homered to DEEP left. Measured at 433 feet. It’s 6-2 Padres. Beaty struck out swinging.

Padres: Right-hander Joe Kelly now pitching for the Dodgers. Hosmer struck out swinging. Pham grounded to second. Tatis walked on six pitches. Cronenworth grounded to short.

Score after eight innings: Padres 6, Dodgers 2

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Dodgers have six outs left, trail 6-1

Dodgers: Left-hander Tim Hill now pitching for the Padres. Beaty was hit by a pitch. Taylor walked on nine pitches. McKinstry struck out looking. That’s it for Hill. Right-hander Austin Adams now pitching. AJ Pollock, batting for Bickford, struck out looking. Souza walked on six pitches, loading the bases for Mookie Betts with two out. Betts flied to center.

Padres: Left-hander David Price now pitching for the Dodgers. Machado singled to right. Myers grounded to short, forcing Machado at second. Grisham was hit by a pitch. Jurickson Profar, batting for the pitcher, popped to second. Caratini grounded to second.

Score after seven innings: Padres 6, Dodgers 1

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‘Fernandomania @ 40’ Episode 6: Fernando Valenzuela changed the Dodgers’ fanbase forever

The word "Fernandomania" appears with a colorful bar and the number 40  below it.
40 years later, Fernandomania is very much alive and well.
(Dylan Harris for the Los Angeles Times)

Catch up on the latest episode of “Fernandomania @ 40.”

When the Dodgers were in Brooklyn, owner Walter O’Malley prided himself on team rosters that reflected the community. When he moved west to Los Angeles in 1958, that proved a tougher task – until Fernando Valenzuela’s arrival. With the frenzy surrounding of Fernandomania in 1981, the complexion of a predominantly white fanbase transformed into something that looked a lot more like Los Angeles itself.

Why did Los Angeles Latinos flock to see him? Well, it helped that Valenzuela delivered wins while looking like the Mexican American community where he pitched. He affectionately was referred to as gordito thanks to his prominent belly and round cheeks.

Watch more here:

You can also binge watch the first six episodes of the season via our playlist.

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It’s still 6-1 Padres after six

Dodgers: Souza struck out looking. Betts flied to right center. Lux grounded to first and it clanked off of Cronenworth’s glove for an error. Turner singled to right, Lux to third. Smith grounded to second.

Padres: Caratini flied to center. Eric Hosmer, batting for Darvish, doubled to right-center. Pham struck out looking. Tatis hit a bleeder between the mound and third. There was no play to be made. First and third, two out. Tatis stole second while Cronenworth was batting. Cronenworth flied to center.

Score after six: Padres 6, Dodgers 1

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Padres take 6-1 lead in fifth on Jake Cronenworth’s home run

Dodgers: Taylor struck out swinging. McKinstry grounded to first. Reks flied to left-center.

Padres: Tatis doubled to left. Cronenworth homered to right. It’s 6-1 Padres. That’s it for Urías, with right-hander Phil Bickford coming in to replace him. Steven Souza Jr. in the game in left as Reks’ debut comes to an early end. Machado singled off of Turner’s glove. With Myers batting, Machado stole second. Myers struck out swinging. Grisham grounded to second. Kim struck out swinging.

Score after five: Padres 6, Dodgers 1

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Yu Darvish has nine strikeouts through four innings

Dodgers: Turner struck out swinging. Smith struck out swinging. Beaty lined to third. Darvish has nine strikeouts through four innings. It’s still 4-1 Padres.

Padres: Caratini grounded to second. Darvish struck out swinging. Pham struck out swinging.

Score after four: Padres 4, Dodgers 1

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Dodgers close to 4-1 on Mookie Betts’ home run

Dodgers: Zach Reks, making his major league debut, struck out swinging. Urías struck out swinging. Seven straight strikeouts. The record is 10 by Tom Seaver. Betts homered to DEEP center. He just unloaded on that pitch. 406 feet. By the way, the ESPN announcers never stop talking. Lux grounded to first.

Padres: Myers struck out swinging. Grisham walked on five pitches. Kim grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.

Score after three: Padres 4, Dodgers 1

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It’s 4-0 Padres after two innings

Dodgers: Matt Beaty struck out swinging. Chris Taylor struck out swinging. Zach McKinstry struck out swinging. Darvish has five strikeouts through two innings.

Padres: Pham struck out looking. Tatis struck out swinging. Cronenworth walked. Machado grounded to second.

Score after two: Padres 4, Dodgers 0

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Padres storm to 4-0 lead in first inning

Dodgers: Right-hander and former Dodger Yu Darvish pitching for the Padres. Mookie Betts grounded to third. Gavin Lux walked. Justin Turner struck out swinging. Will Smith struck out swinging.

Padres: Left-hander Julio Urías pitching for the Dodgers. Tommy Pham doubled to right. Fernando Tatis Jr. walked. Jake Cronenworth doubled to left, scoring Pham, Tatis to third. Manny Machado homered to left. It’s 4-0 Padres, and the ESPN announcers are in heaven. Wil Myers flied to center. Trent Grisham flied to center. ESPN announcer now speculating that Urías may have been using sticky substances on the ball, and now isn’t, explaining the four runs. That seems like a fair thing to speculate on national TV, especially after all of four batters. They are now saying what Urías is thinking. Ha-Seong Kim walked on six pitches. Victor Caratini singled to right, Kim to second. Yu Darvish grounded to short.

Score after one: Padres 4, Dodgers 0

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Rejuvenated slugger Albert Pujols is “having a blast” with Dodgers

Albert Pujols hits a solo home run against the Rangers on June 11.
Albert Pujols hits a solo home run against the Rangers on June 11.
(Associated Press)

The mere mention of Albert Pujols, the slugger who was discarded by the Angels in early May before rejuvenating his Hall-of-Fame career with the Dodgers, brings a huge grin to the face of Dodgers third-base coach Dino Ebel.

“He’s having a blast,” said Ebel, who spent seven seasons (2012-2018) with Pujols as an Angels coach before going to the Dodgers. “He’s got a new lease on life.”

The end of an illustrious 21-year career appeared to be near when Pujols, batting .198 with a .622 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, five homers and 12 RBIs in 24 games in the final year of a 10-year, $240-million deal, was designated for assignment by the Angels on May 6.

As impressive as his resumé is, —there didn’t appear to be much demand for a slow-footed 41-year-old with diminished power and limited range at first base, the only position he plays.

But the Dodgers, in need of reinforcements for their injury plagued lineup and a right-handed bat to combat the left-handed starters who have often befuddled them, threw Pujols a lifeline, signing him on May 17.

Pujols has rewarded his new employer by hitting .263 (20 for 76) with an .826 OPS, six homers and 16 RBIs in 26 games, including a three-run homer off Arizona left-hander Alex Young in Sunday’s 9-8 win over the Diamondbacks. His .526 slugging percentage is higher than any he posted in nine-plus seasons in Anaheim.

“I thank God for opening this door and for the Dodgers for giving give me another opportunity and for believing in me,” Pujols said before Monday night’s game against the San Diego Padres in Petco Park.

“That’s something that is really critical for me, having somebody that trusts me and knows I can still play this game. When you have that from your manager, your front office, your coaches, it’s pretty awesome.”

Albert Pujols celebrates with teammates after hitting a home run.
Albert Pujols celebrates with teammates after hitting a home run.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

The Dodgers were 22-18 when they signed Pujols. They entered Monday night with a 22-9 record with Pujols. Though Pujols has been more of a platoon player and pinch-hitter, he has hit .381 (16 for 42) against left-handers.

His five homers against left-handers were the fifth-most in the major leagues against lefties since May 17, behind Kansas City’s Salvador Perez (seven) and Oakland’s Matt Olson, Cleveland’s Cesar Hernandez and Detroit’s Jonathan Schoop (six each).

Pujols also may lead the major leagues in hugs, high-fives, ear-to-ear grins, pats on the back, taps of the helmet—which the Dodgers do to salute each other after big hits—since he arrived in Los Angeles, a stark contrast to the scowl he often played with in St. Louis and Anaheim.

“This is the most fun I’ve had in a while,” Pujols said. “I think it’s just the chemistry, the opportunity, being around veteran guys who have the same mindset that I have about winning, and I think it’s just a great mix of guys.

“It reminded me of my times back in St. Louis. As soon as I walked into the clubhouse, from day one, I could sense the vibe, the energy. … The way the guys welcomed me allowed me to relax and enjoy it. I feel like I belong here. I feel like I’ve been here since opening day.”

Pujols insisted he enjoyed his time with the Angels this year—“any time I wear a uniform, man, I enjoy it and have fun,” he said—despite the sour way his tenure in Anaheim ended.

The Angels were 13-13 with Pujols and have gone 23-23 without him, but Pujols’ departure ensured that two-way star Shohei Ohtani, who is tied for the major league lead with 23 homers, would remain the primary designated hitter and hot-hitting and slick-fielding Jared Walsh (.290, .931 OPS, 18 homers, 51 RBIs) would remain the primary first baseman.

“I know in my time there, we were not playing as well,” Pujols said. “I know the fans and the organization were disappointed because we weren’t in first place or playing better.”

It has been a totally different story some 35 miles up the 5 Freeway, where Pujols has regained his power stroke in the batter’s box and seems as giddy as a 23-year-old rookie on the field, in the dugout and in the clubhouse.

“I just think his mind is clear,” Ebel said. “He was let go with Anaheim, obviously. But coming here, with a chance to win every night with veteran players … he came into the locker room, the culture is great.

“So I think the players embraced him, he embraced the players and he’s having fun. He comes to the park every day early. He’s got a smile on his face.”

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Max Muncy to return Tuesday, Cody Bellinger to return Wednesday

SAN DIEGO — The Dodgers are expecting to receive reinforcements over the next two days against Padres.

Manager Dave Roberts said Monday that Max Muncy will be in the lineup Tuesday and Cody Bellinger is slated to return Wednesday.

Both are on the injured list and are eligible for activation Tuesday. Muncy is out with an oblique strain. Bellinger has missed time with a left hamstring strain.

The sluggers took at-bats against left-hander Scott Alexander in a simulated game Monday. Alexander is on the injured list with a shoulder injury. He isn’t eligible to return until July 2.

In the meantime, the Dodgers will have Zach Reks make his major-league debut in left field Monday. Reks was called up from triple-A Oklahoma City earlier in the day.

DODGERS (44-27, +103)
Mookie Betts CF
Gavin Lux SS
Justin Turner 3B
Will Smith C
Matt Beaty 1B
Chris Taylor 2B
Zach McKinstry RF
Zach Reks LF
Julio Urías P

PADRES (42-32, +72)
Tommy Pham LF
Fernando Tatis Jr. SS
Jake Cronenworth 1B
Manny Machado 3B
Wil Myers RF
Trent Grisham CF
Ha-Seong Kim 2B
Victor Caratini C
Yu Darvish P

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Zach Reks, the accidental outfielder, is called up from triple-A

Dodgers outfielder Zach Reks poses for a portrait in February 2020.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Zach Reks, who once gave up baseball to concentrate on his pursuit of a mechanical engineering degree at the University of Kentucky, was recalled from triple-A Oklahoma City on Monday, and the 27-year-old outfielder will make his big-league debut against the San Diego Padres in Petco Park Monday night. Pitcher Edwin Uceta was optioned back to triple-A.

A 10th-round pick of the Dodgers in 2017, Reks signed for $5,000, a fraction of the $131,600 slot value for his pick. He had a breakout season in 2019, hitting .291 with a .921 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, 28 homers and 93 RBIs in a combined 121 games for double-A Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

The left-handed-hitting Reks spent the pandemic-shortened 2020 season at the team’s alternate training site. He hit .341 with a 1.022 OPS, five homers and 19 RBIs in 32 games for Oklahoma City this season.

A standout high school player in Illinois, Reks enrolled at the Air Force Academy and hit .210 with no homers and eight RBIs in 37 games as a freshman in 2013. He transferred to Kentucky in 2014 and had all but given up on baseball when he failed to make the team as a walk-on that fall.

The Dodgers hold on for a 9-8 win over the last-place Arizona Diamondbacks, with the bullpen running into problems after a solid start by Tony Gonsolin.

But one day in the summer of 2015, Reks was riding through campus on the back of a moped scooter driven by Bo Wilson, a friend and former teammate who also transferred to Kentucky from Air Force.

The pair whizzed past then-Kentucky assistant coach Rick Eckstein on their way to the baseball field, and as the scooter came to a stop, “I jumped off and did like a 180-degree hop,” Reks told The Times in 2020. “I was shirtless.”

Eckstein, the brother of former Angels and St. Louis Cardinals shortstop David Eckstein, did a double-take, saying the dismount was “the most athletic thing I’ve ever seen.” He suggested Reks try out for the Wildcats baseball team in the fall.

Not only did Reks make the team, he started for two years, batting .331 with seven homers and 22 RBIs in 53 games in 2016 and .352 with three homers and 65 games in 2017, a performance good enough to be drafted. Four years later, Reks has reached the big leagues.

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Betting lines and odds for Dodgers vs. Padres on Monday

San Diego Padres starting pitcher Yu Darvish throws against the Colorado Rockies on June 15.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

The Dodgers, who’ve won 10 of their last 12 games, open a three-game road series against the San Diego Padres on Monday at Petco Park.

Former Dodgers starting pitcher Yu Darvish gets the start for the Padres. Since giving up four runs to the Arizona Diamondbacks in his season debut, has allowed two runs or fewer in his last eight home starts, posting a 1.75 ERA and 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings. Darvish has faced the Dodgers three times in his career, allowing one run in each game.

The Dodgers will start Julio Urías, who is tied for the National League lead in wins (9) and has a 2.72 road ERA.

Dodgers line for June 21, 2021.
(VSiN)

The Padres have played five of their last six games over the total and six of Darvish’s last seven starts over. The Dodgers have played eight of Urías’ last nine starts over the total.

The Dodgers have allowed at least four runs to the Padres in five of their seven meetings this season with the Padres having covered the run line in each of the last five games in this series.

VSiN, the Sports Betting Network, offers more expert sports betting content in a free daily email at VSiN.com/email.

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ICYMI: Dodgers bullpen nearly blows huge lead before edging Diamondbacks in series sweep

Highlights from the Dodgers’ 9-8 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.

PHOENIX — The Dodgers were bulldozing the Arizona Diamondbacks through five innings in their 9-8 win Sunday, on their way to a clinical three-game series sweep of the worst team in the majors without a sweat.

They had finally mashed a left-handed starting pitcher — Alex Young gave up five runs in three innings — to build a 9-1 lead and put the Diamondbacks on track for their 17th straight loss. They were confident. So confident that manager Dave Roberts took Justin Turner out of the game in the fifth inning to give him some rest.

Then it nearly all fell apart. The Diamondbacks scored one run in the sixth inning and erupted for six more in the eighth, hammering the soft underbelly of the Dodgers’ bullpen.

Edwin Uceta, called up before the game, yielded three hits, two walks and three runs in the eighth inning before he was pulled with two outs. The suddenly tight score forced Roberts to summon Victor González, one of his three most trusted relievers, for his 29th appearance, a small defeat regardless of the game’s outcome.

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How to watch and stream Dodgers vs. Padres this week

A giant American flag is displayed on the field at Petco Park.
A giant American flag is displayed on the field at Petco Park during the national anthem before a game between the San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds on Thursday.
(Derrick Tuskan / Associated Press)

Here’s how to watch this week’s three-game series between the Dodgers and the San Diego Padres:

How to stream

Spectrum SportsNet LA is available with a subscription to AT&T TV “Choice Plan” ($84.99 / mo.). You can stream the game on your Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast, and your browser.

Fans outside of the Los Angeles market can stream the games using MLB.TV.

Wednesday’s game will be available on ESPN.

How to watch on TV

Spectrum SportsNet LA and SportsNet LA Desportes are carrying the games on cable and satellite providers. In the San Diego area, the games can be seen on Bally Sports San Diego. Wednesday’s game will be available on ESPN.

How to listen

In Los Angeles, the games can be heard on 570 AM or 1020 AM (Español). In San Diego, the games can be heard on 97.3 FM or 860 AM (Español).

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