Miguel Vargas capped a three-run sixth inning with a two-run, tiebreaking single and Will Smith hit a solo homer in the eighth as the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Diego Padres 5-2 on Thursday in the rubber match of a three-game series.
The Dodgers (108-48) finished the season series against the Padres with a 14-5 record. Los Angeles has won nine straight series against San Diego dating back to June 2021.
The Padres (86-70) still saw their magic number for clinching a National League wild card reduced to three as both Philadelphia (83-72) and Milwaukee (83-73) lost on Thursday. San Diego maintains a 2 1/2-game lead over the Phillies in the race for the second of three wild cards, and the Padres have a three-game edge on the Brewers.
In a bullpen game for both teams, the Padres took a 2-0 lead in the first inning against Dodgers opener Brusdar Graterol.
Jurickson Profar and Juan Soto opened the frame with back-to-back singles. Graterol retired the next two hitters before Brandon Drury hit a grounder that rolled under the gloves of both shortstop Trea Turner and second baseman Chris Taylor for a two-run single.
The Dodgers scored a run in the second. Smith greeted Sean Manaea with a leadoff single and moved to second when the San Diego left-hander hit Max Muncy with a pitch. Smith reached third on a grounder to short that the Padres couldn’t convert into a double play. Vargas then hit a sacrifice fly to left for the first of his three RBIs.
The Dodgers trailed 2-1 going into the sixth when Pierce Johnson (1-2) replaced Manaea. Mookie Betts greeted Johnson with a double and reached third on Trea Turner’s infield single on a slow roller to short.
Freddie Freeman tied the game on a bloop single to left. Muncy drew a bases-loading walk sandwiched between strikeouts of Smith and Taylor. Vargas then put the Dodgers ahead to stay with his two-run single.
Smith’s 24th homer of the season came off Adrian Morejon with one out in the eighth.
Andrew Heaney (4-3) allowed three hits and a walk with six strikeouts in four scoreless innings to earn the win. David Price, the seventh Dodger pitcher, earned his second save by working around a walk in the ninth.
Manaea gave up one run on two hits and no walks with three strikeouts over four innings.