Dodgers roll over Padres, get closer to NL West clinch – Press Enterprise

SAN DIEGO – The first two games of the Dodgers series in San Diego this weekend drew the 23rd and 24th sold-out crowds of the season for the Padres, their most equalizing in a season at Petco Park.

Many of those tickets were undoubtedly bought long ago in anticipation of a gripping September series between two teams vying for supremacy in the NL West.

Well, at least there were tacos.

Freddie Freeman had four hits and drove in four runs as the Dodgers got one step closer to capturing their ninth NL West title in the past 10 years by turning over the San Diego Padres 8-4 Saturday night.

It was the 53rd of their 95 wins this season in which the Dodgers beat their opponent by four or more points – dropping their magic number to take the division to four.

The Dodgers could earn a postseason berth on Sunday and the division title as early as Tuesday in Arizona.

If they take home the division at the end of this road trip this Sunday, it will be the first time they have secured the division title during this decade of dominance. The previous earliest clinch came in 2019 when they secured the division in the 146th game of the season (and 21 games finished second-place Arizona Diamondbacks).

“I think we all know what kind of edge we have,” Freeman said. “But if you start looking at that… leads can evaporate if you get a little relaxed. I like the way we play games. Even yesterday’s game was just a good baseball game. We just have to keep the foot on the pedal until we grab it and when we do, we keep going after that too. ”

Manny Machado hit a pair of solo homeruns on Saturday off of Dodgers starter Julio Urias. But the rest of the Padres’ lineup went smoothly. Urias gave up only three other basehits, walked two and struckout five.

“He’s incredible, man,” Trea Turner said of Urias. “I’ve seen it from the other side. I don’t think people really see the ball well from him. He has three good pitches. He competes. Every now and then he drops a little. But his stuff has been electric lately. I feel like fastball has been really, really good. He makes sure people just miss here and there. I think he is also very good, when he gets into trouble or when he makes a mistake, to pick himself up and make the next throw. I think he’s really good at that. And that is difficult to do.”

Urias tested that in the first inning. His two walks loaded the bases in the first inning when only 10 of his first 21 pitches were strikes. He knocked out Jake Cronenworth to escape that threat unscathed and only struggled the rest of the way with Machado, making it through seven innings on just 83 pitches.

The two runs were the most allowed Urias since July 29 in Colorado. He hasn’t given up more than two at once since July 10.

Now 16-7, Urias’ ERA (2.30) is the lowest among qualified National League pitchers and his WHIP (0.95) is second only to Arizona’s Zac Gallen (0.92), making an even stronger case for the NL Cy Young Award than he did as the winner of 20 games last season.

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