Pa Pedro Moore
Posted by FOX Sports MLB

LOS ANGELES – During the regular season, Padres played Smart people as a team on the verge of relegation. The Dodgers have beaten them 14 times in 19 attempts, more than doubling San Diego’s offensive output.

The most dominant team since integration earned their status as heavy favorites entering the National League Division Series regardless of the momentum of the 101-win Padres Metz.

But in the first two games of the series, the Padres played the Dodgers as equals, if not better. Z 5-3 Game 2 win they evened that series on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium. And it’s not just back to back 5-3 results indicating the balance between these teams; it’s also how the Padres played. Seven reliefs provided flawless relief. Forwards all over the lineup made progress in key situations. And their stars performed.

“We’ve been fighting all year,” Manny Machado says of the Padres’ resilience

Manny Machado talks to Tom Verducci about the San Diego Padres’ blowout win over the Dodgers and his home run off Clayton Kershaw.

On Wednesday, the teams traded early solo hits from their No. 3 hitters. In the first inning, Manny Machado hit a hanging slider in left field, and Freddie Freeman cleared the center field wall with a ridiculous cutter. Max Muncy matched their efforts in the second half Clayton Kershaw held the inning, striking out two padres with two men on at bat.

After the Padres put together another rally in the third to win by two runs, Trea Turner tied it again with a solo shot in the third inning.

Trea Turner hits a solo home run

Trea Turner hits a solo home run against Yu Darvish to tie the game 3-3 between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres.

It stayed that way until the sixth, when the Padres pounced Brusdar Graterolthe first man out of the Dodgers bullpen. Brandon Drury redirected his first pitch into center field for a single. When Turner looked away from the potential double ball that followed, the Padres grabbed the gift. Yurikson Prafar sharply hit a single to right.

San Diego scored again in the eighth when Jake Cronenworth sent another home run into the stands.

Jake Cronenworth hits a home run to extend the lead over the Dodgers

San Diego second baseman Jake Cronenworth hit a home run to right field off reliever Blake Treinen to extend the Padres’ lead to 5-3.

Padres manager Bob Melvin leaned on the adjuster Robert Suarez and closer Josh Hader to get 10 runs and got two more from the swingman Nick Martinez. Most of the rest of his bullpen was depleted Mike Clevinger short beginning of st Game 1 on Tuesdaybut Melvin will give everyone a break when that streak resumes Friday in San Diego.

The Dodgers made the more egregious mistakes Wednesday, not the Padres. Turner made two misses, and what looked like a Juan Soto The mistake could have been an alert deck that convinced Muncie to stay on first base on a drive that should have gotten him second.

At third base, Machado limited the Dodgers’ offense on multiple occasions, most notably in the fifth inning when he executed a smooth slide game on Turner’s 103 mph hit. More than 50% of the time, according to Statcast, Turner’s drive would have been a hit. In Machado’s hands, it looked like an easy out.

San Diego’s strategy was to ambush Kershaw. In just the fourth inning, four batters swung at Kershaw’s first pitch. By then it was clear he couldn’t land his curveball for strikes. So they knew they were going to get something around 90 mph, either his slider or his fastball.

The Dodgers used a similar technique vs Yu Darvish, which offers many more potential performances. After Melvin bet that Darvish could carry him through the sixth, it looked like the bet might backfire. But Suarez came in just in time to induce a double play that allowed the Dodgers to escape with a Game 1 victory.

This time the Padres escaped. They will remain underdogs in a best-of-three series in which they now have home-field advantage.

But this series looks a lot closer than it did 48 hours ago.

Pedro Moura is a national baseball writer for FOX Sports. He previously covered the Dodgers for The Athletic, the Angels and Dodgers for the Orange County Register and LA Times, and his alma mater, USC, for ESPN Los Angeles. He is the author of How to Beat a Broken Game. Follow him on Twitter @masonry.

Get more from Major League Baseball Follow your favorites to stay updated on games, news and more