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Wednesday, February 8, 2023
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Padres win NLDS Game 2 2022

LOS ANGELES — The Padres have played this game against the Dodgers before — a back-and-forth slugfest, two NL West heavyweights trading punches deep into the Los Angeles night. 

All too often, they’ve found themselves on the wrong end of it. But when they needed it most — when they absolutely had to have it — the Padres found a way on Wednesday night.

Now they’re headed back to San Diego with a split — and this National League Division Series just got awfully interesting.

In an instant classic at Dodger Stadium, the Padres held on for a 5-3 victory, evening the NLDS at one game apiece. After an off-day, the series will shift to Petco Park for the first home playoff games before fans in San Diego in 16 years. After a win like this — over a team like this — suddenly anything feels possible.

In Division Series with the current 2-2-1 format (excluding the 2020 series played at neutral sites), there have been 39 previous instances of teams splitting the first two games. In those 39 series, the club heading home for Games 3 and 4 went on to advance 26 times (67%).

The Padres took the lead in the sixth on Jurickson Profar‘s RBI single. In the bottom half, the Dodgers put men on the corners, spelling the end of Yu Darvish’s night. Right-hander Robert Suarez pulled a miraculous escape act, striking out Justin Turner before getting Gavin Lux to bounce into an inning-ending double play.

Jake Cronenworth’s eighth-inning moonshot doubled the lead. From there, the Padres’ bullpen continued its dominant form, bending but not breaking, with Suarez, Nick Martínez and Josh Hader all throwing up zeros.

When Hader had put the finishing touches on his first four-out save of the year, the Padres were on their way back to San Diego — where an enraptured fanbase awaits. Should be quite a weekend in the East Village.

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