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Dodgers continue power surge and sweep the Padres, 8-3

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Corey Seager hits a solo home run against the Padres in the first inning Thursday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Dodgers get five homers, two from Corey Seager, and easily defeat San Diego.

Here’s what you need to know

Dodgers defeat the Padres, 8-3

The Dodgers completed their third straight series sweep of the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, discarding their once competitive foes aside like the dismal sub-.500 team they’ve become in an 8-3 victory.

It was their 103rd win of the season — tied for fifth most in franchise history — with three games remaining. An undefeated finish and they’d match the franchise record set two years ago.

The problem is the San Francisco Giants have been even better, leaving the Dodgers as quite possibly the best second-place team since divisions were implemented in 1969.

Minutes after the Dodgers completed their win Thursday, the Giants’ expectation-defying season continued with a walk-off single from LaMonte Wade Jr. in a 5-4 triumph over the 50-win Arizona Diamondbacks that kept the Dodgers two games behind them in the National League West standings.

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We go to the ninth, 8-3 Dodgers

Padres: Right-hander Evan Phillips now pitching for the Dodgers. Myers struck out swinging. Hosmer struck out swinging. Kim popped to first.

Dodgers: Smith flied to center. J.Turner walked on four pitches. Taylor struck out swinging. Bellinger grounded to second.

Score after eight: Dodgers 8, Padres 3

Meanwhile, in San Francisco: Diamondbacks 4, Giants 4 in the bottom of the ninth

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Dodgers take 8-3 lead on Corey Seager’s second homer of game

Padres: Chris Taylor in at left. Rivas struck out swinging. Trent Grisham, batting for Anderson, walked on seven pitches. Right-hander Joe Kelly now pitching for the Dodgers. Tatis struck out looking. Frazier walked on five pitches. Machado struck out swinging.

Dodgers: Right-hander Austin Adams now pitching for the Padres. Betts popped to short. Seager homered to right, estimated at 414 feet. T.Turner popped to second. Muncy popped to second.

Score after seven: Dodgers 8, Padres 3

Meanwhile, in San Francisco: Diamondbacks 4, Giants 4 in the bottom of the eighth

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Dodgers increase lead to 7-3

Padres: Right-hander Corey Knebel now pitching for the Dodgers. Myers grounded to short. Hosmer grounded to the pitcher. Kim hit a ground-rule double to left. Marisnick flied to left.

Dodgers: Right-hander Shaun Anderson now pitching for the Padres. T.Turner singled to left. Muncy grounded to second, T.Turner to second. Smith singled to right, scoring T.Turner. J.Turner singled to right, Smith to third. Pollock flied to left, scoring Smith, J.Turner to second. Bellinger singled to center, J.Turner scoring. Knebel grounded to third.

Score after six: Dodgers 7, Padres 3

Meanwhile, in San Francisco: Diamondbacks 4, Giants 4 in the top of the seventh

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Padres close within 4-3 on Fernando Tatis Jr.'s mammoth home run

Padres: Rivas walked on six pitches. Velasquez bunted Rivas to second. Tatis hit a mammoth homer to left, estimated at 467 feet. Frazier struck out looking. Right-hander Brusdar Graterol now pitching for the Dodgers. Machado grounded to short.

Dodgers: Matt Beaty, batting for Graterol, grounded to short. Betts struck out looking. Left-hander Tim Hill now pitching for the Padres. Seager grounded to second.

Score after five: Dodgers 4, Padres 3

Meanwhile, in San Francisco: Diamondbacks 4, Giants 4 in the top of the sixth

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Dodgers take 4-1 lead on homers by Justin Turner and AJ Pollock

Padres: Hosmer popped to short. Kim struck out looking. Marisnick struck out looking.

Dodgers: Muncy walked on five pitches. Smith grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. J.Turner homered to left, estimated at 378 feet. Pollock homered to left-center, estimated at 422 feet. Bellinger struck out looking.

Score after four: Dodgers 4, Padres 1

Meanwhile, in San Francisco: Diamondbacks 4, Giants 3 in the top of the fifth

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Dodgers 2, Padres 1 after three innings

Padres: Frazier flied to left. Machado grounded to short. Myers grounded to short.

Dodgers: Tony Gonsolin struck out swinging. Betts lined to right. Seager doubled to right-center. T.Turner flied to right.

Score after three: Dodgers 2, Padres 1

Meanwhile, in San Francisco: Diamondbacks 3, Giants 3, bottom of the fourth

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It’s 2-1 Dodgers after two innings

Padres: Eric Hosmer lined to center. Ha-Seong Kim homered to left. Jake Marisnick struck out swinging. Webster Rivas singled to right-center. Vince Velasquez walked on six pitches. Tatis flied to left.

Dodgers: Justin Turner struck out swinging. AJ Pollock flied to right. Cody Bellinger struck out swinging.

Score after two: Dodgers 2, Padres 1

Meanwhile, in San Francisco: Diamondbacks 3, Giants 2 in the bottom of the third

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Gavin Lux’s crash into the wall Wednesday went from scary to something to laugh about

Gavin Lux collides with the wall Wednesday.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Gavin Lux slamming into the wall trying to make a catch in left-center field at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday was one of the scarier moments of the Dodgers’ season. By Thursday, it was something the team could laugh about.

By the afternoon, there was a silhouette taped onto the State Farm ad where Lux’s body crashed into. It was the work of video coordinator Chad Chop, who used bullpen catcher Francisco “Chico” Herrera as his model for the outline.

“It’s hilarious,” Lux said before the Dodgers faced the San Diego Padres on Thursday. “He was like, ‘Can I do that?’ I was like ‘I don’t care.’ It’s a good way to make a joke about it. Now looking back at it, you can joke about it. So, it’s funny.”

The Dodgers could joke about it because Lux didn’t suffer any major injuries. The former top prospect said his neck was stiff, but there aren’t any structural issues. He said he took swings in the batting cage and fly balls in the field. He was available off the bench Thursday.

“It was scary,” Lux said. “But I’ll get some anti-inflammatories and we’ll roll.”

Three weeks ago, Lux’s status would’ve been a footnote in the Dodgers’ push for a World Series. He was in triple-A after a disappointing five-month run in the majors. He didn’t appear to fit in the Dodgers’ plans after they traded for Trea Turner, his replacement at second base.

But the Dodgers found a spot for him: in the outfield. Lux had never played the outfield before starting in left field for triple-A Oklahoma City on Sept. 5. He made one other start in center field for the affiliate but that was it. Lux initially started in left field for the Dodgers and stuck because he was hitting enough, in the decision makers’ eye, to outweigh his inexperience.

Lux started 10 games in left field before transitioning to center field once AJ Pollock returned from the injured list last week. Wednesday was his sixth straight start in center field even though the Dodgers had activated Cody Bellinger, the club’s starting center fielder for most of the season, from the injured list Tuesday.

Lux kept hitting. In his 16 games since returning from the minors, he’s 18 for 49 (.367) with a .976 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. In two weeks he went from out of the picture to key contributor, creating a logjam in the outfield heading into the postseason with Bellinger, Chris Taylor and Pollock in the mix for playing time in center field and left field.

Before Wednesday’s game, Roberts said he’d be willing to start Lux in center field in a playoff game.

“Is it going to happen?” Roberts said. “I don’t know yet. I just think to keep every combination, every option open, I think that’s the smart thing to do. He’s playing well. So, I think that once we get to that, I think we have options.”

A few hours later, Lux’s season appeared in jeopardy. He slowly walked off the field holding his right shoulder area. The Dodgers were trailing 9-5. It looked like a terrible development on a bad night. Then the Dodgers slugged four home runs in two innings in a wild 11-9 comeback win to keep pace with the first-place San Francisco Giants in the National League West.

By Thursday night, the silhouette in left-center field was a tribute to Lux. The Dodgers’ three starting outfielders – Pollock,, Bellinger and Mookie Betts – went over to pay their respects to the crash site before first pitch, saying a prayer and tapping the outline after a kiss. Lux cackled watching from the dugout. It was something they could laugh about — and Lux could learn from.

“It’s a learning lesson,” Lux said. “A tough learning lesson.”

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Dodgers take 2-0 lead on homers by Betts and Seager

Padres: Right-hander Tony Gonsolin pitching for the Dodgers. Fernando Tatis Jr. struck out swinging. Adam Frazier flied to left. Manny Machado singled to left. Wil Myers grounded to short, forcing Machado.

Dodgers: Right-hander Vince Velasquez pitching for the Padres. Mookie Betts homered to left, estimated at 407 feet. Corey Seager homered to right, estimated at 385 feet. Trea Turner singled to center. Max Muncy struck out swinging. Will Smith struck out swinging. With Justin Turner batting, Trea Turner was caught stealing second.

Score after one: Dodgers 2, Padres 0

Meanwhile, in San Francisco: Diamondbacks 3, Giants 1 after two innings

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Gavin Lux isn’t in the Dodgers’ lineup Thursday but he’s on the wall at Dodger Stadium

Dodgers players immortalized Gavin Lux's wall-crashing exploits during Wednesday's game.
Dodgers players immortalized Gavin Lux’s wall-crashing exploits during Wednesday’s game by taping up a silhouette on the wall during batting practice Thursday.
(Jorge Castillo / Los Angeles Times)

Gavin Lux isn’t in the Dodgers’ lineup Thursday against the Padres after crashing into the wall attempting to make a catch in Wednesday’s win.

After the game, manager Dave Roberts said Lux had a “neck stinger” and was probably not going to play over the next couple of days. Lux, a middle infielder until this month, had made six straight starts in center field after nine starts in left field.

In a sign that the injury isn’t serious, somebody with the Dodgers jokingly taped an outline of a body on the spot on the wall in left-center field where Lux smashed into.

Cody Bellinger will start in center field for the first time since coming off the injured list Tuesday. Bellinger replaced Lux in the sixth inning Wednesday and delivered the tying home run in the eighth inning.

Tony Gonsolin will make his final start of the regular season — and possibly 2021 — for the Dodgers. The right-hander will likely be used exclusively as a reliever in the postseason unless the Dodgers find themselves in need of a fifth starter.

DODGERS (102-56)
Mookie Betts RF
Corey Seager SS
Trea Turner 2B
Max Muncy 1B
Will Smith C
Justin Turner 3B
AJ Pollock LF
Cody Bellinger CF
Tony Gonsolin P

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Miraculous comeback leads Dodgers over Padres, 11-9

The Dodgers’ pursuit of a ninth straight National League West title appeared to have effectively ended shortly after 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.

While Brusdar Graterol imploded on the mound against the dispirited San Diego Padres in the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium, the San Francisco Giants applied the finishing touches on a 1-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks up north. Graterol faced four batters, surrendered three runs, and didn’t record an out before he was yanked to boos. The Dodgers trailed by four runs. Fans streamed for the parking lot.

A loss and the Dodgers would’ve fallen to three games behind the first-place Giants with four games remaining in the regular season – all but sealing their spot in next week’s NL wild-card game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

But the Dodgers didn’t lose Wednesday. They mashed their way back, one booming swat at a time, leaving Dodger Stadium shaking with a thunderous 11-9 comeback victory.

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Dodgers take lead in incredible four-homer eighth inning

Padres: Left-hander David Price now pitching for the Dodgers. Cronenworth grounded to second. Machado lined to second. Hosmer grounded to the pitcher.

Dodgers: Right-hander Emilio Pagan now pitching for the Padres. Muncy homered to right-center, estimated at 406 feet. Pollock homered to right, estimated at 379 feet. Taylor flied to center. Bellinger homered to right, estimated at 372 feet. Can you believe it? We are tied. Justin Turner, batting for Price, doubled to left. Right-hander Nabil Crismatt now pitching for the Padres. Fernando Tatis Jr. in at short. Cronenworth to first. Betts flied to left. Turner took third on defensive indifference. Seager homered to right. Unbelievable! The Dodgers now lead 11-9! T.Turner struck out swinging.

Score after eight: Dodgers 11, Padres 9

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Dodgers trail Padres 9-6; Giants defeat Diamondbacks

Padres: Right-hander Brusdar Graterol now pitching for the Dodgers. Machado walked on seven pitches. Hosmer walked on four pitches. Pham doubled to right, Machado scoring, Hosmer to third. Grisham singled to right, scoring Hosmer and Pham. It’s 9-5 Padres. Right-hander Phil Bickford now pitching for the Dodgers. Grisham stole second. Jake Marisnick, batting for Hill, walked on six pitches. First and second, nobody out. Caratini struck out looking. Myers struck out swinging, with the runners moving up on a passed ball. Frazier flied to center.

Dodgers: Right-hander Daniel Hudson now pitching for the Padres. Betts homered to left-center, estimated at 427 feet. Seager struck out swinging. T.Turner grounded to the pitcher. Smith grounded to third.

Score after seven: Padres 9, Dodgers 6

Final score in San Francisco: Giants 1, Diamondbacks 0

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Padres take 6-5 lead; Gavin Lux is injured

Padres: Lamet struck out swinging. Caratini singled to right. Myers tripled to left-center. It went in and out of Lux’s glove before he slammed into the fence. Caratini scoring. Lux is holding his right shoulder in pain and is coming out of the game. Cody Bellinger replaces him in center. And that’s it for Scherzer too. His worst outing of the season. Five earned runs and 11 hits in 5.1 innings, with four strikeouts and no walks. He threw 97 pitches. Left-hander Justin Bruihl now pitching for the Dodgers. Frazier grounded to first, Myers was caught in a rundown trying to score and was tagged out, Frazier to second. Cronenworth lined to left.

Dodgers: Pollock grounded to first. Taylor singled to left. Left-hander Tim Hill now pitching for the Padres. Bellinger struck out swinging. Albert Pujols, batting for Bruihl, flied to right.

Score after six: Padres 6, Dodgers 5

Meanwhile, in San Francisco: Giants 1, Diamondbacks 0 after eight innings

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It’s 5-5 after five

Padres: Hosmer struck out swinging. Pham lined to right. Grisham struck out swinging.

Dodgers: T.Turner struck out swinging. Smith flied to left. Muncy grounded to first.

Score after five: Dodgers 5, Padres 5

Meanwhile, in San Francisco: Giants 1, Diamondbacks 0 after six

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Padres tie it in fourth, 5-5

Padres: Grisham flied to center. Profar reached first on an error by Taylor at third. Profar was caught stealing. He was called safe at first, but it was overturned on replay. Caratini singled to center. Myers singled to left, Caratini to second. That’s eight hits off of Scherzer. Frazier hit a ground-rule double to left-center, scoring Caratini, Myers to third. Cronenworth grounded to short, but Seager booted it, scoring Myers. It’s tied. First and third, two out. Machado flied to right.

Dodgers: Right-hander Dinelson Lamet now pitching for the Padres. Myers in right. Scherzer flied to right. Betts struck out swinging. Seager flied to left.

Score after four: Dodgers 5, Padres 5

Meanwhile, in San Francisco: No score after six innings

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Padres close to 5-3 in the third inning

Padres: Frazier singled to right. Cronenworth lined to left. Machado homered to right-center. Hosmer singled to right. Pham struck out looking and Hosmer was caught stealing. Strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out.

Dodgers: Muncy walked on five pitches. Pollock grounded to third, forcing Muncy. Taylor struck out swinging. Lux fouled to the catcher.

Score after three: Dodgers 5, Padres 3

Meanwhile, in San Francisco: No score after five innings

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Dodgers take 5-1 lead after two innings

Padres: Trent Grisham lined to right. Jurickson Profar lined to short. Victor Caratini homered to left. Ryan Weathers lined to third.

Dodgers: Max Scherzer struck out swinging. Betts walked on four pitches. Seager doubled to right, Seager scoring. T.Turner flied to center. Smith fouled to first.

Score after two: Dodgers 5, Padres 0

Meanwhile, in San Francisco: No score after three innings

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Dodgers score four runs in the first inning

Padres: Right-hander Max Scherzer pitching for the Dodgers. Adam Frazier flied to right. Jake Cronenworth grounded to the pitcher. Manny Machado singled to left-center. Eric Hosmer singled to left, Machado to second. Tommy Pham grounded to short.

Dodgers: Left-hander Ryan Weathers pitching for the Padres. Mookie Betts popped to short. Corey Seager doubled to left. Trea Turner singled to left, scoring Seager, Turner taking second on the throw home. Will Smith flied to center. Max Muncy singled to right, Turner scoring. AJ Pollock homered to left. Chris Taylor walked on six pitches. Gavin Lux lined to third.

Score after one: Dodgers 4, Padres 0

Meanwhile, in San Francisco: No score after two innings

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Trea Turner could become the Dodgers’ first batting champ since 1963

Trea Turner follows the flight of his RBI single.
Trea Turner
(Associated Press)

Max Scherzer’s tenure as a Dodger has drawn the headlines – and rightfully so. The future Hall of Famer has arguably been the best pitcher in the majors since arriving from the Washington Nationals. The dominant trip has put Scherzer in the mix for a fourth Cy Young Award.

But the other player the Dodgers acquired in that deadline exchange wasn’t some filler. Trea Turner has provided Dodgers’ offense a spark -- in the batter’s box and on the bases -- while transitioning from shortstop to second base midseason. And the All-Star might just become the Dodgers’ first batting champion since Tommy Davis won the title back-to-back years in 1962 and 1963.

Turner, 28, entered Wednesday’s game against the San Diego Padres with a .325 batting average – seven points clear of the competition with five games remaining. In second place in the National League? His former Nationals teammate Juan Soto.

“He texted me a little while ago,” Turner said after going 3 for 5 in Tuesday’s win. “He told me he was coming for me, which I had no doubt in my mind that he was going to be putting good at-bats together.

“So, he told me he was coming, and he did that but there’s so much unknown. You don’t know how the at-bats are going to go. How you’re going to feel. Who you’re facing, this and that. So, we had a few texts messages back and forth but seeing me and him up there is pretty cool.

Soto is perhaps the best hitter in the major leagues at just 22 years old. But Turner’s five-tool skill set might be unmatched.

He boasts surprising power for someone with his slight frame. His elite athleticism has helped make the on-the-fly move to second base easier. He’s one of the fastest – if not the fastest – players in the majors. That speed poses problems for pitchers once he reaches base, applying pressure to them even when he’s not trying to steal bases. And, combined with his bat-to-ball ability, it has him atop the batting leaderboard.

“With Trea, there’s just no panic,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I talk about the heartbeat a lot and he’s just got a good heartbeat. Whether it’s big spots in the batter’s box, obviously, he’s competing for a batting title but his primary goal is to help us win ballgames and to get on base and he’s doing that. He’s been a huge addition for us. it’s fun to watch him play every night.”

Turner ranks first on the Dodgers in batting average (.330), third in OPS (.905) and fourth in home runs (7) since making his team debut Aug. 6.

While Scherzer’s time as a Dodger could end after this season – he’s a free agent this winter – Turner is at least one year away from free agency. He’ll return in 2022 as the Dodgers’ starting shortstop if Corey Seager, an impending free agent, doesn’t re-sign. It hasn’t been long, but he’s already made an impression. It could include the eighth batting title in Dodgers franchise history – if he beats out an old friend.

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Justin Turner sits, Chris Taylor to start at third base against Padres

Justin Turner won't be in the starting lineup
(Associated Press)

Justin Turner has played in more games and logged more plate appearances this season than in any season in his 13-year career besides 2016. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts on Wednesday noted the workload has been heavy.

As a result, Turner wasn’t in the Dodgers’ starting Wednesday against the Padres after also not starting Sunday against the Diamondbacks. Chris Taylor will instead make his ninth start at third base this season.

Gavin Lux will start again in center field over Cody Bellinger opposite Padres left-hander Ryan Weathers. Bellinger was activated from the injured list Tuesday but didn’t start. Roberts said Bellinger is available off the bench Wednesday and will start Thursday.

It will be Lux’s sixth straight start in center field. The former top prospect has only played left field or center field in his first 15 games since being recalled from the minors Sept. 10.

The Dodgers activated first baseman Albert Pujols from the injured list and optioned left-hander Andrew Vasquez to the minors. Pujols was inactive for just one day; he was placed on the injured list Tuesday after an adverse reaction to the second shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. He’ll be available off the bench.

Max Scherzer will take the mound for his final scheduled start of the regular season. As it stands, Scherzer, a candidate for the National League Cy Young Award, is lined up to pitch the Dodgers’ potential wild-card game against the Cardinals next Wednesday.

DODGERS (101-56)
Mookie Betts RF
Corey Seager SS
Trea Turner 2B
Will Smith C
Max Muncy 1B
AJ Pollock LF
Chris Taylor 3B
Gavin Lux CF
Max Scherzer P

PADRES (78-79)
Adam Frazier 2B
Jake Cronenworth SS
Manny Machado 3B
Eric Hosmer 1B
Tommy Pham LF
Trent Grisham CF
Jurickson Profar RF
Victor Caratini C
Ryan Weathers P

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Dodgers defeat Padres, 2-1

These were the nights made for Vin Scully. To a previous generation of fans, a Dodgers-Giants pennant stretch meant a transistor radio was a must, as a city listened to Scully call the Dodgers and Giants games simultaneously — the Dodgers live from Los Angeles, the Giants off the ticker from San Francisco.

ESPN had not been invented, and neither had the internet. The score from an out-of-town game was not instantly available to the average fan.

Scully was a dramatic narrator for a city hanging on his every word.

Those days are long gone, of course, and Scully is retired. Any score, anywhere, is a click or two away on your phone.

Everything old is new again: In 1962, the Dodgers led the Giants by two games with five to play, but San Francisco forced a tiebreaker. In 2021, the Giants lead the Dodgers by two games with five to play, with the Dodgers hoping to force a tiebreaker.

At Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers beat the San Diego Padres 2-1 behind seven shutout innings from Walker Buehler. However, in San Francisco, the Giants maintained their lead with a 6-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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We go to the ninth, 2-0 Dodgers

Padres: Right-hander Joe Kelly now pitching for the Dodgers. Bellinger in center. Chris Taylor in left. Profar struck out swinging. Caratini struck out looking. Marisnick was hit by a pitch. Frazier grounded to second.

Dodgers: Betts walked on five pitches. Seager grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. T.Turner grounded to third.

Score after eight: Dodgers 2, Padres 0

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Still 2-0 Dodgers after seven

Padres: Cronenworth grounded to short. Machado grounded to third. Hosmer doubled to left. Myers popped to second.

Dodgers: Right-hander Javy Guerra now pitching for the Padres. Smith walked on five pitches. J.Turner flied to left. Pollock struck out swinging. Lux grounded to Machado and the ball clanked off his glove for an error. First and second, two out. Cody Bellinger was announced for Buehler. Which brings in left-hander Ross Detwiler to pitch for the Padres. Jurickson Profar in at right. Bellinger grounded to second, forcing Lux.

Score after seven: Dodgers 2, Padres 0

Meanwhile, in San Francisco: Giants 6, Diamondbacks 2 in the seventh

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Dodgers lead 2-0 after six innings

Padres: Caratini singled to left. Marisnick lined to right. Frazier walked on five pitches. Tatis grounded into a 5-4-3 double play.

Dodgers: Buehler struck out swinging. Betts grounded to third. Seager walked on eight pitches. T.Turner singled to center, Seager to second. Muncy struck out swinging.

Score after six: Dodgers 2, Padres 0

Meanwhile, in San Francisco: Giants 5, Diamondbacks 1 after six

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Dodgers 2, Padres 0 after five innings

Padres: Hosmer beat out a bouncer to short. Myers grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. Grisham flied to left.

Dodgers: Right-hander Reiss Knehr now pitching for the Padres. Jake Marisnick in center. Muncy walked on six pitches. Smith struck out looking. J.Turner flied to right. Muncy took second on a wild pitch. Pollock walked on four pitches. Lux flied to left.

Score after five: Dodgers 2, Padres 0

Meanwhile in San Francisco: Giants 1, Diamondbacks 1

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It’s 2-0 Dodgers after four innings

Padres: Tatis Jr. struck out swinging. Cronenworth struck out looking. Machado grounded to short.

Dodgers: Betts flied to right. Seager struck out swinging. T.Turner struck out swinging.

Score after four: Dodgers 2, Padres 0

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Dodgers take 2-0 lead in third inning

Padres: Victor Caratini struck out swinging. Yu Darvish struck out swinging. Frazier grounded to short.

Dodgers: T.Turner beat out a grounder to short. Muncy flied to center. Smith grounded to third, T.Turner to second. J.Turner walked on six pitches. T.Turner moved to third on a wild pitch. Pollock singled to left-center, T.Turner scoring, J.Turner to third. Lux was walked intentionally. Buehler struck out looking.

Score after three: Dodgers 2, Padres 0

Meanwhile, in San Francisco: Giants 1, Diamondbacks 1 after four innings

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Joe Davis to return to broadcast booth Saturday

Dodgers play-by-play television broadcaster Joe Davis, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week, tweeted Tuesday that he is scheduled to return to the booth Saturday.

Davis has been isolating at home since testing positive Sept. 22. He is fully vaccinated. Orel Hershiser, the broadcast’s color analyst, was also instructed to quarantine because he was a close contact.

The Dodgers host the Milwaukee Brewers at Dodger Stadium on Saturday in their penultimate game of the regular season schedule.

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Dodgers leave bases loaded, still lead 1-0

Padres: Eric Hosmer flied to left. Wil Myers flied to right. Trent Grisham grounded to short.

Dodgers: Justin Turner walked on five pitches. AJ Pollock struck out swinging. Gavin Lux singled to left-center, J.Turner to second. Walker Buehler struck out looking. Betts walked on six pitches, loading the bases with two out. Seager flied to center.

Score after two: Dodgers 1, Padres 0

Meanwhile, in San Francisco: Giants 1, Diamondbacks 1 after three innings

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Dodgers take quick 1-0 lead on Trea Turner’s double

Padres: Right-hander Walker Buehler pitching for the Dodgers. Adam Frazier flied to right. Fernando Tatis Jr. struck out swinging. Jake Cronenworth walked on nine pitches. Manny Machado grounded to short, forcing Cronenworth.

Dodgers: Right-hander Yu Darvish pitching for the Padres. Mookie Betts doubled to left. Corey Seager struck out swinging. Trea Turner doubled to left-center, scoring Betts. Darvish had Turner picked off second, but the Padres botched the rundown and Turner was safe at third. Max Muncy grounded to first, who threw home. They got Turner out in the rundown this time, but Machado, trying to get Muncy advancing to second, threw the ball into right field for an error. Muncy on third, two out. Will Smith lined to center.

Score after one: Dodgers 1, Padres 0

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The Dodgers-Giants sprint is on, 25 minutes and 400 miles apart

The six-game sprint to the National League West finish starts Tuesday night.

In San Francisco, the Giants play host to the Arizona Diamondbacks at 6:45 p.m. The Giants lead the Dodgers by two games in the NL West.

On Monday, the Giants put their top hitter, first baseman Brandon Belt, on the injured list because of a broken thumb. Belt leads the Giants in home runs (29), OPS (.975) and OPS+ (159, meaning he has produced at a rate 59% better than league average).

In Los Angeles, the Dodgers play host to the San Diego Padres at 7:10 p.m. The Dodgers activated Cody Bellinger and put Albert Pujols on the injured list. Pujols did not feel well after his second COVID-19 vaccination shot, manager Dave Roberts said.

Gavin Lux started in center field Tuesday. Bellinger is “not 100% but dang near close to it,” Roberts said, and the manager made no commitment to either player in center field beyond Tuesday.

“I’m not sure yet,” Roberts said. “I think we have a lot of good options. Gavin is playing really good baseball. He’s getting better each day in the outfield.”

Bellinger is a Gold Glove winner, but he is batting .159 this season. Lux is batting .386 this month; he has played five professional games in center field.

If the Dodgers do not win the NL West, they would play the St. Louis Cardinals in the wild-card game. Derrick Goold, who covers the Cardinals for the St. Louis Post Dispatch, posted a picture of Dodgers scouts at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

The Dodgers’ lineup Tuesday:

Mookie Betts, rf
Corey Seager, ss
Trea Turner, 2b
Max Muncy, 1b
Will Smith, c
Justin Turner, 3b
AJ Pollock, lf
Gavin Lux, cf
Walker Buehler, p

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Here’s what needs to happen for Dodgers to pass Giants and win NL West

Trea Turner hits a home run as Max Muncy (13), umpire Chad Whitson and Arizona catcher Carson Kelly look on.
Trea Turner hits a home run as Max Muncy (13), umpire Chad Whitson and Arizona catcher Carson Kelly look on Sept. 25 in Phoenix.
(Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

The Dodgers sealed their third 100-win season in five years Sunday. They could tie the franchise record of 106 wins with a perfect final homestand at Dodger Stadium this week. They boast the best run differential in the major leagues. It is already one of the most successful regular seasons in the club’s history.

But context sours that fact and modifies the narrative because the San Francisco Giants, somehow, someway, have been even better. Projected by humans and computers to finish somewhere behind the Dodgers and San Diego Padres in the standings, the Giants are 102-54 — two games clear of the Dodgers for first place.

As a result, the Dodgers, owners of the second-best record in the majors at 100-56, have a 16.1% chance to win their ninth straight National League West title, according to FanGraphs. That means they have an 83.9% chance of playing in the wild-card game Oct. 6 at Dodger Stadium — likely against the suddenly invincible St. Louis Cardinals.

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Dodgers’ bat boys are different than they appear to be. Here’s the inside info

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts calls timeout and makes a beeline to the pitcher’s mound. He takes the ball and signals to the bullpen.

That’s the cue for the bat boy to race to the mound where infielders have congregated and hand cards to Corey Seager, Trea Turner, Max Muncy and Justin Turner, all of whom tower over his short, lithe frame. Next the bat boy is sprinting to deep center field where Chris Taylor, Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts await.

He hands the outfielders cards and dashes toward the left-field line. Once in foul territory, he slows to a jog and waves to fans calling his name.

The cards inform fielders where to position themselves given the new pitcher and hitters he’ll face. Delivering them was added to a bat boy’s tasks in this era of advanced analytics and defensive shifts, and can become a full-blown cardio workout when pitching changes are frequent.

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Dodgers have played 16 winner-take-all playoff games. Here’s the story of each one

Dodgers teammates Austin Barnes, Kenley Jansen and Clayton Kershaw celebrate.
Dodgers teammates (from left) Austin Barnes, Kenley Jansen and Clayton Kershaw celebrate after winning the 2018 NLCS against the Milwaukee Brewers.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

There is a better than 50-50 chance that the Dodgers will have to play their way into the National League Division Series, which begins on Oct. 8. Should the San Francisco Giants hold on to first place in the NL West — and they were two games up with six to play as of this writing — the Dodgers would host a play-in game on Oct. 6, likely against the St. Louis Cardinals.

It would be the first play-in game for the Dodgers since 1980 and the 16th winner-take-all game in franchise history, the last being Game 7 of the 2020 NLCS against the Atlanta Braves.

This list tells the story of each of the 16 winner-take-all games in Dodgers history.

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Second base can wait for now: Gavin Lux is helping the Dodgers in the outfield

Dodgers second baseman Gavin Lux runs to first during a game against the Colorado Rockies on Sept. 22.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

PHOENIX — Gavin Lux tracked the ball looking over his left shoulder, then quickly flipped his head back around to the right. He turned his body to make a catch in deep center field, then caught his balance after stumbling near the warning track.

It might have looked uncomfortable, with Lux — a natural infielder in his third MLB season — playing center field Sunday for only the fourth time in his big league career.

But if the 23-year-old was lacking in confidence, it didn’t show. Instead, Lux fired the ball back into the infield, then laughed with teammate Mookie Betts after one of the rare reminders he’s still adjusting to his new role.

“It’s actually been pretty fun,” Lux said this past weekend. “It’s a challenge, almost, just trying to get more comfortable.”

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One-game playoff for Dodgers in 2021? Blame one Dodgers game in 1996

San Diego Padres pitcher Fernando Valenzuela, center, celebrates with teammates, including Rickey Henderson.
San Diego Padres pitcher Fernando Valenzuela, center, celebrates with teammates, including Rickey Henderson, right, after clinching the National League West title in a win over the Dodgers on Sept. 29, 1996.
(Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press)

As this final week of the regular season dawns, with the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants fighting one another for first place, you will hear a lot about 1951 and 1962. You will not hear as much about 1996, but you should.

It is the season that could come back to haunt the Dodgers, 25 years later.

If the Dodgers can win two more games than the Giants this week, the two teams would play a tiebreaker for the National League West championship. If San Francisco wins the division, the Dodgers’ postseason could be limited to one game, in part because of the indifference they showed to one particular game in 1996.

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Betting odds and lines for Dodgers vs. Padres on Tuesday

The Dodgers are two games behind the San Francisco Giants in the National League West standings as they turn to Walker Buehler to face the San Diego Padres on Tuesday.

Buehler has pitched at least six innings in 28 of his 31 starts this season but allowed five or more runs in two of his four starts in September, posting a 7.32 ERA. He had a 2.05 ERA on the season entering September after allowing only three earned runs or fewer in 20 consecutive starts.

That has not detracted bettors from backing Buehler as DraftKings opened the Dodgers as a -165 favorite and the number was up to -190 overnight. Buehler will face a Padres team that has posted an 11-29 record in their last 40 games.

Yu Darvish will get the start for the Padres. He has given up at least four runs in nine of his 13 starts since the beginning of July, with a 6.17 ERA and 2.3 home runs per nine innings allowed. He allowed only 0.9 home runs per nine innings with a 2.44 ERA in his first 16 starts.

The Padres are 4-9 in Darvish’s last 13 starts after going 13-3 in his first 16 starts. The Padres’ 4.1 runs per game since the beginning of August is the fewest in MLB. Despite this, the opening total of 7.5 climbed to eight overnight at DraftKings as the Dodgers have defeated the Padres in six matchups in the season series since the All-Star break.

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

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