1 of 5 | San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. returns to the dugout after scoring a run on the single by Manny Machado against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
April 23 (UPI) -- San Diego Padres infielder Fernando Tatis Jr. stepped on second base and threw a rocket to first base for a clutch double play with the bases loaded in the eighth inning of a dramatic win Thursday night over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The play killed what could have been a game-changing inning in the Padres' 3-2 victory at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
"I thought all-around that that was our best-played game so far," Padres manager Jayce Tingler told reporters. "It was certainly well needed.
"The dugout was electric. That play defensively felt like a playoff home run in a critical moment."
Padres starter Ryan Weathers and Dodgers starter Walker Buehler had a pitching duel through the first six innings. The Padres got on the scoreboard first with a RBI single from Manny Machado in the top of the fourth frame.
Padres center fielder Trent Grisham added to the lead with a 419-foot solo home run in the top of the sixth. The Dodgers rallied with two solo home runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Padres relief pitcher Austin Adams replaced Weathers in the bottom of the sixth inning. Fellow reliever Emilio Pagan stepped in for Adams in the bottom of the seventh. He earned a 1-2 lead in the count against Dodgers outfielder A.J. Pollock in his first exchange.
Pollock hit his fourth offering, an 86.7-mph cutter, to left field for a 394-foot home run. Dodgers second baseman Sheldon Neuse followed with a 399-foot home run to center field off a 2-1 Pagan fastball.
Jurickson Profar and Victor Caratini hit back-to-back singles for the Padres to start the eighth inning. Tatis grounded into a double play in the next at-bat, but Profar scored the go-ahead run on the play.
The Dodgers got a single from Justin Turner and a double from Will Smith to lead off the bottom of the eighth frame. Padres relief pitcher Tim Hill walked Pollock in the fourth at-bat of the inning to load the bases with one out.
Neuse stepped to the plate for the final at-bat of the inning. The Dodgers infielder hit a 2-1 sinker directly at Padres second baseman Jake Cronenworth.
Cronenworth didn't get a clean catch on the play, but managed to knock the ball down and flipped it to Tatis for the second out at second base. Tatis stepped on the bag and fired a throw to Eric Hosmer to get the third out at first base.
The Dodgers challenged the close call at first base, but umpires confirmed the out to end the inning. Neuse's grounder to Cronenworth traveled 105 mph off his bat, according to Statcast.
Both teams' hitters got out in order in the ninth inning.
Weathers allowed one hit and had six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings for the Padres. Buehler allowed four hits and two runs in seven innings for the Dodgers.
Grisham went 2 for 4 with an RBI in the win. He was the only player with more than one hit in the game.
The Dodgers (14-5) next host the Padres (11-10) at 7:10 p.m. PDT Friday at Dodger Stadium. Dodgers ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw is expected to face Padres right-handed pitcher Yu Darvish in the second game of the four-game series.
San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. looks to the sky as he crosses the plate after hitting a leadoff solo home run in the first inning off Los Angeles Dodgers' starting pitcher Trevor Bauer at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday. The Dodgers held on to win 5-4. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo