Dodgers clobber Yu Darvish early, win third straight over Padres – Daily News

LOS ANGELES ― Yu Darvish has made four appearances here since he last pitched for the Dodgers. The first three were typical: lots of strikeouts, not a lot of runs allowed. The fourth, on Saturday, went a lot like Game 7 of the 2017 World Series did for the 35-year-old right-hander.

By the end of one inning, the Dodgers had hit three home runs and just missed another. By the time Darvish left the game, the San Diego Padres were trailing by five runs. The Dodgers’ 7-2 win was deja vu for the announced crowd of 47,061.

Freddie Freeman and Will Smith hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning, giving the Dodgers a 2-0 lead in the span of three pitches. The next batter, Max Muncy, turned on a first-pitch cutter and flew out to the warning track in right-center field. Justin Turner then struck an 0-and-1 fastball into the short section of seats in left field, his third home run in three days.

That proved to be all the offense the Dodgers needed. Tyler Anderson (9-1)  rebounded from a pair of subpar starts to throw 6 ⅓ innings and allow only one run. A couple late insurance runs allowed the Dodgers (49-28) to rest closer Craig Kimbrel and top set-up man Evan Phillips, both of whom had appeared in back-to-back games.

“It just shows what we’re capable of,” Manager Dave Roberts said. “When we take team at-bats, good situationally, run counts, get into the ’pen, good things happen. I’m really excited about the way we’re playing.”

Three straight wins against the second-place Padres (46-34) have expanded the Dodgers’ lead in the National League West to 4 ½ games.

Freeman went 2 for 3 with two RBIs. Gavin Lux doubled in the second inning and scored on a Trea Turner single. Justin Turner singled in the third inning and scored on a double by Jake Lamb, who was serving as the designated hitter against the right-handed Darvish (7-4).

Darvish, who didn’t make it out of the second inning in losing the decisive World Series game to the Houston Astros, was torched for five runs in six innings while striking out 10.

Anderson allowed six hits, no hard-hit balls, and walked two batters. It was his first start at Dodger Stadium since taking a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the Angels on June 15; a scoring change days later reclassified a Dodgers error as an Angels hit.

In Anderson’s next two starts ― in Cincinnati and Colorado, both hitter-friendly parks ― the left-hander would allow seven earned runs across 11 innings. Saturday’s win lowered his ERA for the season to 3.09: 2.74 at home, 3.46 on the road.

“I’ve pitched a lot in Coors Field too, and overall I feel like I’ve done OK there,” Anderson said. “I think if you’re making good pitches it doesn’t really matter where you pitch. There’s probably a little more margin for error (at Dodger Stadium) but I don’t think that this park  ― you saw it today ― in day games the ball flies here. I think in night games, as you get later into the night, it’s more pitcher-friendly, but overall it’s a fair park to pitch in.”

Dodgers right fielder Chris Taylor was removed from the game with a contusion on his right foot, the apparent result of an errant foul ball. Roberts said x-rays were negative but he would give Taylor the day off Sunday as a precaution.

The Dodgers have won 14 of the last 15 head-to-head games between the teams going into the finale of the four-game series.

With two runners on and two outs in the seventh inning, Manny Machado battled Dodgers pitcher Brusdar Graterol to a seven-pitch at-bat. Machado ultimately foul-tipped the last pitch, a 101-mph sinker, into the mitt of catcher Will Smith for strike three, ending the inning and elating the crowd.

The Dodgers then loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh inning on three walks. Sacrifice flies by Max Muncy and Justin Turner extended the lead to 7-1.

“When you have points on the board to cushion the lead, to get sac flies, Max moving us all over to get another point on the board, that’s huge,” Freeman said. “The situational hitting the last couple days has been pretty phenomenal.”

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