Catcher Will Smith drove in three runs and AJ Pollock and Chris Taylor hit solo homers Wednesday afternoon as the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Padres 7-5 in the rubber match of a three-game series.
The win increased the 35-15 Dodgers’ edge on the Padres (32-19) to 3 1/2 games in the National League West and gave Los Angeles a 6-4 edge in the season series. The Dodgers became the first team in the majors to clinch a berth in the expanded playoffs.
The Dodgers scored runs against five of the nine pitchers deployed by the Padres.
Left-handed reliever Adam Kolarek (3-1) earned the win by pitching two-thirds scoreless innings. Right-hander Dustin May entered the game in the third and held the Padres to three runs (one earned) on three hits over 5 1/3 innings.
Pollock gave the Dodgers a 1-0 lead with his 11th homer of the season in the second off Padres starter and loser Adrian Morejon (2-1). The Padres tied the game in the bottom of the inning when Wil Myers opened the inning with a double off “opener” Brusdar Graterol and scored on Jason Castro’s double off Kolarek.
The Dodgers took the lead for good in the third in an inning that opened with Gavin Lux reaching on an error by second baseman Jake Cronenworth. Max Muncy broke the tie with a double off Joey Lucchesi and Smith followed with a RBI, infield single to make it 3-1.
The Dodgers broke it open with three runs in the fifth. Mookie Betts opened the inning with his second hit, then stole his third base of the game. After Luis Perdomo walked Justin Turner, Tim Hill entered the game and struck out Muncy. But Smith followed with a two-run double and scored on Cody Bellinger’s single.
Taylor scored the Dodgers final run with a homer off Garrett Richards leading off the sixth, making it 7-1.
Jurickson Profar hit a two-run homer off May with two out in the seventh. Mitch Moreland had reached on an error to open the inning. Machado hit his 14th homer of the season with one out in the eighth off May. Profar added a RBI single in the ninth off Pedro Baez, who was credited with the save.