With Rowan Kavner
FOX Sports MLB Writer
LOS ANGELES — By the time second baseman Gavin Lux doubled down the right-field line in the third inning Tuesday, shutting out Padres starter Mike Clevevinger in Game 1 of the National League Division Series, it felt like it was over.
And when the Padres fought back, showing the resilience of a team that had already beaten the odds once this postseason, the Dodgers’ middle infielders were there to answer the call again.
Shortstop Trea Turner singled and doubled in his first two at-bats, Lux delivered the knockout punch at the plate and the duo combined to end the Padres’ best chance to tie or take the lead when they reached a good , end of entries. double play to break the tying run on base in the sixth inning of the Dodgers’ 5-3 victory.
The defensive gem on a hot 100.1 mph grounder off the bat of Wil Myers was stabbed by Lux, who grounded out to Turner to complete the double-play. On the mound, the typically cool Evan Phillips pumped his fist and let out a scream. From the dugout, starter Julio Urías did the same before slamming his hands on the dugout railing.
It was a monumental game as the Padres made a sudden, surprising comeback after Urías had gone four scoreless innings.
Trea Turner reflects on the Dodgers’ Game 1 win
Trea Turner reflects on the Dodgers’ win over the Padres in Game 1 of the NLDS in a postgame interview with Tom Verducci.
It all looked more of the same for the Dodgers, who had long had the Padres’ number. In 2020, the Padres made their first playoff appearance in 14 years before the Dodgers disposed of them in a three-game sweep in the NLDS. Last year, the Dodgers were 12-7 against San Diego, which missed the postseason. This year, the Dodgers outscored the Padres by 62 runs in 19 games, posting a 14-5 record against them in the process.
In the first inning Tuesday, Turner immediately proceeded to do to Clevinger what the Dodgers have been doing all year. Clevinger was 0-2 with a 9.69 ERA in three starts against the Dodgers entering the playoffs.
After striking out Mookie Betts, Turner smoked a 419-foot home run to the Left Field Pavilion. The Dodgers shortstop had been out of touch at the plate late in the year, taking extra batting practice in an effort to regain his feel. Then something seemed to click in the final game of the regular season when Turner mashed a three-run homer against the Rockies.
Despite a five-day layoff for the division-winning Dodgers, Turner seemed to carry that momentum into Game 1. After recording just two extra-base hits in 12 games last postseason for the Dodgers, he recorded an extra-base hit in each of his first two at-bats against the Padres.
The Dodgers took a 5-0 lead after three innings with two-out hits from Turner and Will Smith. Lux’s strike did the final damage against Clevinger.
Trea Turner’s solo home run put the Dodgers up 1-0
Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner starts a one-run home run off Mike Clevinger to give LA a 1-0 lead over the San Diego Padres.
The five-run streak would hold, despite the Padres’ late charge against Urías. San Diego’s first three batters reached base to start the fifth inning, and all three scored. Not long after, manager Dave Roberts deployed his best high-leverage weapon in Phillips to deal with the heart of the Padres’ order.
Juan Soto walked to start the inning. Manny Machado followed with a single dribbler. Phillips got a vital hit from pinch-hitter Josh Bell before inducing Myers’ double play.
That was the last real threat for the Dodgers, whose middle infield work both offensively and defensively played a vital role in their 1-0 start in the playoffs.
Rowan Kavner covers the Dodgers and the NL West for FOX Sports. He was previously the editor of the Dodgers digital and print editions. Follow him on Twitter at @Rowan Kavner.
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