Clayton Kershaw bested Yu Darvish in a clash of staff aces Saturday, but it took a huge play by Mookie Betts in the bottom of ninth to thwart a Padres comeback.
The Padres fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers, 2-0, as Betts made a diving, sliding catch on Tommy Pham’s line drive to center with two on and the game on the line.
Betts pounded his chest in celebration while the Friars moved to contest the play, hoping that he trapped the ball. Replays, though, showed that the Dodgers centerfielder caught the ball on the heel of his glove.
“Off the bat you think it’s down,” Manager Jayce Tingler said. “We’re about maybe a half inch away from tying this game up.”
The teams mostly restored order at Petco Park, settling in for a pitchers’ duel following Friday’s wild 12-inning Dodger victory, which included more than one Padre comeback, a near brawl, a position player taking the mound and a pitcher playing left field.
Darvish retired the first 14 batters he faced, but after hitting Zach McKinstry with a pitch in the fifth, he gave up a single to Luke Raley and walked Austin Barnes. That brought Kershaw, known for being capable with the bat, to the plate.
Kershaw worked Darvish for an eight-pitch walk to drive in the game’s first run. It held up until the top of the 9th, when Justin Turner hit a homer to left off reliever Emilio Pagan.
Darvish, now 1-1, went seven innings, giving up only the one hit, while striking out nine and walking two. Kershaw, who improved to 3-1, gave up two hits, struck out eight and also walked two in his six innings of work.
The waters weren’t completely calm though. Jurickson Profar riled up Kershaw in the 4th after the umpires granted him first base on a catcher’s interference call.
The Dodgers appeared to argue that Profar altered his swing to hit Barnes’ mitt. Kershaw jawed at Profar, who gestured back, but the confrontation went no further.
Before the game, Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. received their 2020 Silver Slugger Awards, for being the best hitters at their positions last season.
The teams close out the series at 1:10 p.m. Sunday when Blake Snell, who has yet to log his first win with the Padres, faces new Dodger Trevor Bauer (2-0).