LOS ANGELES – Juan Soto hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the ninth inning, and the San Diego Padres rallied from an early five-run deficit for an 11-8 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night.
Manny Machado homered twice for the Padres, who beat their playoff-bound rivals for only the third time in 11 meetings this season. San Diego still had to survive a perilous bottom of the ninth for closer Josh Hader, who got Chris Taylor on a weak liner to shortstop with the bases loaded to end it.
The victory was a rare moment of satisfaction for the underachieving Padres, who eliminated the Dodgers from last year's playoffs before regressing this season.
“We haven't seen that in a while, and I've said for a while that we have the ability to do that,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “We have the length of the lineup to (make a comeback) like that. We just haven't done that.”
After Machado led the rally with a solo homer in the fourth and a two-run shot during the tying three-run surge in the sixth, the Padres capitalized on two Dodgers errors in the ninth before Soto's big shot and Xander Bogaerts' solo homer.
“That's huge, being down by that many runs and then coming all the way back,” Machado said. “We just kept chipping away, and when you do that, it puts you in a good spot.”
Mookie Betts hit another leadoff homer and added a three-run double in the third inning while burnishing his NL MVP credentials for the division-leading Dodgers, who have lost seven of 11. Max Muncy also hit his 35th homer, but Los Angeles’ patchwork pitching staff squandered a 7-2 lead.
The Dodgers went five straight innings without a hit before rallying in the ninth against Hader, who yielded two hits and two walks in a 43-pitch inning. J.D. Martinez delivered an RBI single and Kiké Hernandez drew a two-out walk to load the bases before Hader got Taylor.
Robert Suárez (3-2) pitched the eighth in his first appearance since serving a 10-game suspension for having a foreign substance on his wrist.
Trent Grisham started San Diego's last rally by reaching second leading off the ninth when center fielder James Outman and left fielder Taylor botched his fly ball. Taylor had settled under Grisham’s long drive, but Outman dislodged it in his own attempt at a catch.
Outman took the blame for the miscommunication, but manager Dave Roberts noted both players called for the ball, apparently not hearing each other.
Roberts called the error “something that’s uncharacteristic, something that shouldn’t happen.”
“It’s just something that I’m happy it happened now so we can clean it up going forward,” Roberts added. “It's a couple of things we should have taken care of that led to that big inning.”
Fernando Tatis Jr. then reached on a one-out fielding error by Evan Phillips (1-4) before Soto hammered his 29th homer to right, accompanied by a massive bat flip. Bogaerts' 18th homer then traveled only 335 feet into the shortest part of the right field porch.
“It feels amazing,” Soto said. “The whole game feels great. ... We're playing the Dodgers, (so) you bring your 110% game. The intensity was there.”
Spot starter Gavin Stone yielded nine hits and seven runs while pitching into the sixth for Los Angeles, which is trying to patch holes in its staff left by Julio Urías' arrest, Tony Gonsolin's Tommy John surgery and a bullpen-draining weekend series at Washington in which all three games were delayed by rain.
“I think I was just leaving the ball up a little bit with the changeup and the cutter," Stone said. "If I just get the ball down, a lot less runs.”
Pedro Avila also struggled, yielding seven runs on six hits while failing to get out of the third inning for the Padres. The rookie's ERA ballooned from 2.19 to 3.63.
Betts’ drive off the left field pole was his 39th homer of the season and his 12th leading off a game, tying him with Brady Anderson (1996), Alfonso Soriano (2007) and George Springer (2019) for the second-most in a season behind Soriano, who hit 13 leadoff homers in 2003.
Betts also became the third player in major league history with 100 RBIs out of the leadoff spot with that homer.
Padres: LHP Tim Hill went back on the 15-day injured list with the same sprained finger that kept him out for most of August. RHP Nick Hernandez replaced Hill, getting his first big league call-up. ... Machado returned to the lineup after missing Sunday's game with elbow soreness. The slugger said his elbow still doesn't feel great, and offseason surgery is one possibility.
Dodgers: RHP Wander Suero went on the 15-day injured list with lower back tightness, clearing a roster spot for Stone.
Lance Lynn (10-11, 6.09 ERA) makes his seventh start since joining the Dodgers and his first since giving up three homers in a loss to Miami. He faces Michael Wacha (11-3, 2.99), who is coming off his first loss in three months.
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