SAN DIEGO – With a mighty swing and a brief pose at home plate to fire up his teammates, Trent Grisham added some spice to what could be a sprint to the finish between his San Diego Padres and the seven-time defending NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers.
Grisham's home run off Clayton Kershaw tied the game in the sixth inning and the Padres delivered the knockout punch in a five-run seventh to beat the Dodgers 7-2 Monday night and win their eighth straight game.
Dinelson Lamet outpitched Kershaw, and rookie Jorge Oña hit a go-ahead double in the opener of a series between the NL’s top two teams.
The Padres cut the Dodgers’ lead in the NL West to 1½ games. San Diego, closing in on its first playoff berth since 2006, has won 12 of 14.
The most memorable moment came when Grisham hit a no-doubter leading off the sixth against Kershaw (5-2) who had been cruising with a two-hit shutout and hadn't lost to San Diego since 2013.
Grisham posed for a second after hitting his ninth homer, looking toward the Padres’ dugout and gesturing toward his teammates. He then had an exchange with the Dodgers’ dugout just before hopping onto the plate.
“They wanted me to run and that was really about it. They told me to get going a little sooner. That was it,” Grisham said of the chatter that came from the Dodgers' dugout.
He said his gesture toward his teammates “happened naturally in the moment. It’s a big situation off a big pitcher in a big game. We look forward to this series and it’s one of the biggest series of the year. The look into the dugout was, ‘Hey, let’s go, let’s pick it up, let’s get after it and let’s go get this game.'"
“It was emotional, it was fun, it got us going and it was just an exciting time,” he added.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts felt Grisham disrespected Kershaw.
“I don’t mind guys admiring a homer,” Roberts said. “Certainly it’s a big game, big hit. Really like the player. But I just felt that to kind of overstay at home, certainly against a guy like Clayton, who’s got the respect of everyone in the big leagues and what he’s done in this game, I just took exception to that. I think there’s a certain respect you give a guy if you homer against him.”
Padres rookie manager Jayce Tingler said it was no big deal.
“We really don’t worry about it,” Tingler said. "We worry about our guys and our team. It was a big moment in the game. It was a huge hit, got us fired up. We have fun. We play the game right, we respect the game, but we’re going to have fun and we’re going to pull for one another. To us, that’s all it is.”
Lamet (3-1) got the victory thanks to a seventh-inning outburst that chased Kershaw (5-2). Lamet matched his season strikeout high with 11 while holding the Dodgers to one run and three hits. He walked only two.
Wil Myers added a solo homer in the eighth, his 13th.
Myers hit a leadoff single and Jurickson Profar had a one-out base hit to chase Kershaw in the seventh. Oña greeted Pedro Baez by lofting a double down the left-field line to give San Diego a 2-1 lead, and the Padres kept adding on.
Pinch-hitter Greg Garcia hit a grounder to first baseman Max Muncy, who couldn’t decide whether to throw home or touch first, allowing Profar to score. Grisham hit a grounder to Muncy, who tried to get Garcia at second but threw the ball into left field for an error that allowed Oña to score. Manny Machado hit a bases-loaded RBI single, and Austin Nola’s fielder’s choice brought in the final run of the inning.
Kershaw allowed three runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out nine and walked none.
“We want to play well if we want to beat the Padres," Kershaw said. “They’re a good ballclub. You've got some guys really swinging the bat well. Lamet is obviously a really good starting pitcher and they've got some other guys behind him as well, good bullpen. They’re a great team this year. Eventually we might see them again in the playoffs.”
The Padres had a prime chance against Kershaw an inning earlier when rookie Jake Cronenworth hit a leadoff double. But Kershaw got Profar to fly out and then struck out rookies Oña and Jorge Mateo.
The Dodgers broke through against Lamet in the third when Austin Barnes walked with one out, went to third as Mookie Betts flared a double down the right-field line and scored on Corey Seager’s groundout.
“For the last couple outings, he’s been as good as anybody in the league and we have a lot of confidence and a lot of faith when he takes the ball on the mound," Tingler said about Lamet.
Dodgers: RHP Tony Gonsolin (2-3, 5.23 ERA) is scheduled to start Tuesday night. He threw 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Padres and struck out eight on Aug. 12 but didn’t factor into the decision in a 6-0 win.
Padres: Zach Davies (7-2, 2.48 ERA) is set to go for San Diego.
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