LOS ANGELES – Although the Padres and the Dodgers know it's only spring, every remarkable thing that happened in their seven games over the past 10 days proved this matchup was far more important than your average April baseball.
When a distinctly autumnal chill settled in Chavez Ravine while their seventh exhausting meeting stretched into extra innings Sunday night, both teams and their fans could be forgiven for thinking ahead to the bigger, colder nights possibly on the way.
“Definitely a good preview of what should come in October,” San Diego's Eric Hosmer said.
The Padres could take plenty of extra warmth back home after a stirring comeback and an impressive finish gave them an early advantage in this unfolding showdown.
Fernando Tatís Jr. scored on Hosmer’s sacrifice fly in the 11th inning, and the Padres rallied from a late six-run deficit for an 8-7 victory over Los Angeles and their fourth win in seven largely thrilling games against the Dodgers.
Manny Machado delivered the tying RBI single in the ninth inning for the Padres, who claimed their third win in this four-game series between Southern California rivals in appropriately dramatic fashion.
“I think we certainly made a statement,” said Hosmer, who also had an RBI single in the eighth. “The whole baseball world was watching these games, and I think we showed we can compete with these guys. We respect who they are, we respect what they’ve done, but we’re certainly not going to back down from them.”
The Padres trailed 7-1 entering the seventh, but scored two runs in each of the next three innings to force the defending World Series champs into extras. After scoring an 11th-inning run without a hit, San Diego won for the fourth time its last five matchups with the powerhouse Dodgers, who took the first two at Petco Park last weekend.