Intensity up as Dodgers, Padres start season series

The Dodgers and Padres weren’t about to pace themselves.

The NL West rivals have 19 games scheduled against each other this season, and if the first three were any indication, that should be a treat. The Dodgers took two of three — and there was no shortage of entertainment in this pulsating series that featured star power and hostility.

In the opener Friday night, the Dodgers prevailed 11-6 in 12 innings. Los Angeles led 5-3 in the eighth before the Padres tied it on a two-run double by Jurickson Profar. Both teams scored a run in the ninth. Then San Diego left the winning run on third in both the 10th and 11th before Los Angeles broke through.

Saturday night’s matchup pitted Clayton Kershaw against Yu Darvish, and the Dodgers won 2-0. At one point, Kershaw and Profar started yelling at each other over a disputed play involving catcher’s interference, and Los Angeles didn’t wrap up the win until Mookie Betts’ diving catch in right-center field for the final out — after the Padres put men on second and third.

San Diego salvaged the final game Sunday, scoring three runs in the bottom of the eighth to win 5-2.

The teams meet again in a four-game set in Los Angeles starting Thursday night.

AT THE BOTTOM

On the other coast, the New York Yankees were swept in a three-game home series against Tampa Bay. The Yankees have the worst record in the American League at 5-10, and while there’s no need for panic just yet, the home fans didn’t seem to be enjoying themselves.

Fans threw balls on the field in Friday night’s game, causing a brief stoppage. New York manager Aaron Boone had a meeting with his players after that 8-2 loss, but the Yankees dropped the next two as well. They’ve lost five straight overall.

TRIVIA TIME

Sean Kazmar Jr. made his first big league appearance in about 12 1/2 years when he entered Saturday’s game for the Atlanta Braves as a pinch-hitter. His previous major league game was Sept. 23, 2008, with San Diego.

That was a different era for the Padres. Who led San Diego in home runs that year?

HIGHLIGHT

Ronald Acuña Jr. came within three steals of a 40-40 season in 2019, and the Atlanta outfielder is already showing off his speed this year. On Monday against Miami, he tagged up and scored from third on a popout to the second baseman.

Ozzie Albies’ popup in the third inning carried out into short center field. When Jazz Chisholm Jr. made the catch, his momentum was taking him away from the infield, and that gave Acuña the chance to score relatively easily.

Honorable mention: Cincinnati’s Joey Votto caught a line drive, tagged a runner who had been on first and then threw to third to double off another runner for a triple play in Saturday’s game against Cleveland.

LINE OF THE WEEK

Carlos Rodón threw the season’s second no-hitter Wednesday night when the Chicago left-hander blanked Cleveland 8-0. Rodón came within two outs of a perfect game before hitting a batter in the ninth. The White Sox declined to offer Rodón a contract in December, but he eventually re-signed with them and has now brightened what has been a so-so start for Chicago.

COMEBACK OF THE WEEK

With one out in the top of the seventh Tuesday, Oakland trailed Arizona 5-1. The Athletics had just a 3.9% chance of winning, according to Baseball Savant.

Then Oakland got hits from four of the next five hitters, including a three-run homer by Jed Lowrie that tied the game. Seth Brown led off the eighth with a homer to put the A’s ahead, and they went on to win 7-5.

TRIVIA ANSWER

Adrian Gonzalez led the Padres with 36 homers in 2008. They finished last in the NL West.

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Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister

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