A special guest witnessed the action up close as the San Diego Padres defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-3 on Wednesday.
The visitor came in the form of a big goose that flew into the stadium and landed in the shallow right center with two outs in the eights. It was on the grass when Gavin Lux fired to the right.
The ground crew rushed out with a blue plastic trash can, but the bird took off. It flew all the way to near the Dodgers’ deck circle where LA’s Cody Bellinger was standing. He pushed away from it as it landed.
As the crew closed in again, the bird flew to the infield near third base. A worker rushed over, put a towel over the bird and dropped it in the trash can.
Before the stoppage, Padres’ Manny Machado hit an early homer and added an RBI double against Clayton Kershaw, and Jurickson Profar hit the go-ahead run home in the sixth inning.
The wildcard Padres beat the rival Dodgers for the first time in a postseason game. San Diego was defeated 3-0 by the Dodgers in a 2020 Division Series, losing Game 1 of that series on Tuesday.
Dropped in batting order from first to seventh for matchup purposes, Profar’s single-to-right field landed sixth off-release Brusdar Graterol, who suffered the loss. Jake Cronenworth scored to lead 4-3.
Cronenworth netted a home goal from Blake Treinen in game eight to give San Diego some reassurance, and Josh Hader made his first four-from save with Milwaukee since August 2020.
Freddie Freeman, Max Muncy and Trea Turner went deep for the NL West Champion Dodgers.
Teams traded one-run leads on a night when two of baseball’s elite pitchers — Kershaw and the Padres’ Yu Darvish — were knocked out. In the middle innings, it was the second game in a row that the bullpens battled.
Hader, who took the final out of the eighth, gave a two-out double to Freeman off the right center wall in the ninth. That brought Will Smith to the plate as a potential tie run. But he flew right out to end the game.
After a rest day on Thursday, the best-of-five series continues with Game 3 on Friday in San Diego.
Cronenworth also drove for the Padres in one run with a groundout in the third.
Freeman, Muncy and Turner each hit a solo homer for the Dodgers, whose only lead was a 2-1 advantage in the second. Baseball’s highest-scoring regular-season team struggled to hit the clutch.
Darvish, who clinched the win, allowed three runs and seven hits in five innings and had at least one baserunner in every inning. The right-hander hit seven and walked two. Kershaw gave up three carries and six hits in five innings. The left-hander batted out a six and eventually settled down to retire his last nine straight batters.
In the sixth, the Dodgers made two nifty defensive plays but couldn’t stop the Padres from taking the lead.
Trent Grisham played against Graterol in Outfield Choice. He charged for the third base foul line, picked up the ball with his bare hands and threw the sidearm to Smith, who hit a headfirst sliding Wil Myers to save a run. Graterol glanced at his shelter and spread his hands as if to say, “How about this?”
Bellinger ended the inning with an unlikely over-the-shoulder catch after chasing the ball with an evasive running pattern.
The Dodgers had a great chance to tie the game at the end of the sixth with runners in the corners.
Muncy hit a shot to the right that went after Darvish. A stunned Muncy stopped at first base, apparently thinking the ball was going to be caught by Juan Soto, but it went over his head near the bullpen gate. Will Smith, who took second place with an infield single, moved up to third with no outs.
But the Dodgers couldn’t cash in. Robert Suarez came up against Justin Turner and Gavin Lux landed in a double play to end the inning, which left the 53,122 sell-out crowd stunned.
The Dodgers came up short again in the seventh.
With nervous fans on their feet chanting “Let’s go, Dodgers!” they loaded the bases after an intentional walk to Freeman with two outs. But Smith flew to the center to end the threat.
Yency Almonte beat the Padres at the top of the seventh, with Ha-Seong Kim, Soto and Machado taking a sweeping floor. Tommy Kahnle defeated Soto, Machado and Brandon Drury by a 1-2-3 in ninth place.