Trea Turner’s costly error in Dodgers’ loss dims his bright start to postseason
It was a routine ground ball, just a few steps to Trea Turner’s right. He had time to slide over in front of the baseball and field it between his legs. It’s a play the Dodgers’ shortstop usually makes. This time, in the sixth inning at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday night, he didn’t.
The ball bounced in and out of Turner’s glove as he rushed to turn an inning-ending double play, allowing Wil Myers to reach base. Turner stared at the dirt in front of him. The San Diego Padres had runners on first and second base because of his mistake, threatening to take the lead in Game 2 of the National League Division Series.
“He hit it a little bit softer than I thought,” Turner said. “I tried going forward with my hands at the last second to kind of be aggressive towards it.”
Two pitches later, Jurickson Profar capitalized on the error with a run-scoring single to give the Padres a one-run lead in the sixth inning. The Padres added another run in the eighth to win 5-3 and even the series at one game apiece.
The Dodgers gave the Padres too many chances to win, and San Diego exploited them for a 5-3 victory in Game 2 of the National League Division Series.
“That’s a play that Trea knows that we just need to get that lead runner,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
Turner was a star over the first 14 innings of this NLDS. He smashed a home run in his first at-bat in Game 1 on Tuesday. He later added a double in the Dodgers’ 5-3 win.
On Wednesday, he belted the first pitch he saw from Yu Darvish in the third inning for a towering solo home run. Turner then hit the ball hard in his next two at-bats — a 100-mph lineout and a 103-mph one-hopper to third base — with nothing to show for it.
Turner had entered this postseason with dismal career playoff numbers. In 39 games, all starts, he posted a .228 batting average and .561 on-base-plus-slugging percentage with one home run. A broken pinkie in 2019, when he helped the Washington Nationals win the World Series, and a fractured hand last year with the Dodgers helped limit his production.
This year, he said he’s as healthy in October as he’s been in years. The production has followed: he tripled his career playoff home run total in six plate appearances in this series.
Searching for his second hit Wednesday, Turner in the seventh inning was given an opportunity to rectify his costly fielding blunder. The rally began with Cody Bellinger lining a one-out single. Mookie Betts followed with a double. Turner stepped into the batter’s box with runners on second and third to face Robert Suárez.
But he hit his weakest ball of the night, an easy ground ball to the sure-handed Manny Machado at third base.
Machado sailed a high throw to Myers at first base. Myers caught it with a leap to ensure the inning’s second out.
The Dodgers struggle to generate offense in a 5-3 loss to the San Diego Padres in Game 2 of the National League Division Series. The series is tied 1-1, with Game 3 in San Diego on Friday.
The Padres then intentionally walked Freddie Freeman to load the bases for Will Smith. The catcher lined out to center field. The Dodgers ultimately left 10 runners on base.
Turner’s defense did in the Dodgers again in the eighth. The Padres had runners on first and second base with two outs when Austin Nola hit a ground ball to Turner. He fielded it cleanly, but chose to flip the ball to second base over throwing it to first for the easy out. Trent Grisham never slowed down and beat the flip with time to spare, loading the bases.
This time, Blake Treinen, who surrendered a home run earlier in the inning, bailed out Turner by getting Ha-Seong Kim to pop out. But the damage was done.
The Dodgers’ inability to convert scoring chances into runs over the final four innings provided little wiggle room. Turner’s first mistake was enough.
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