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Starter Joe Musgrove raises his arms in celebration just ahead of the final out of the Padres’ series-clinching win. He dominated the Mets in the deciding game of the wild-card series. Photo credit: Screen shot, ESPN.

The San Diego Padres will try to complete their second postseason upset in seven days when they face the Los Angeles Dodgers Saturday evening in Game 4 of a National League Division Series at Petco Park.

The Padres defeated the Dodgers, 2-1, Friday to take a two games to one lead in the best-of-five series, putting L.A. on the brink of elimination after the team won a franchise-record 111 games in the regular season.

Right-hander Joe Musgrove will pitch for the Padres, six days after limiting the New York Mets to one hit over seven innings in a 6-0 victory that gave the Padres a two games to one victory in their best-of-three wild-card series, eliminating a team with 101 regular-season victories.

“We feel great every time he’s on the mound,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “Pitching in front of his hometown crowd I know is going to be exciting for him.”

The Padres were 19-11 in the 30 regular-season starts by the 2011 graduate of Grossmont High School in El Cajon, who was 10-7 with a 2.93 ERA during the regular season.

Musgrove said his performance against the Mets will “help settle the nerves a little bit.”

“I think that outing in New York, a high-leverage moment and crazy atmosphere and big market like New York, I think that’ll pay off a little bit,” Musgrove said during a news conference before Friday’s game.

Musgrove said he expects Dodgers batters to be patient.

“They’re going to sit in their zone until they get in a two-strike count, and then they’ll expand a little bit,” said Musgrove, who was 0-2 with a 3.63 ERA in three starts against the Dodgers during the regular season and is 0-6 with a 4.04 ERA in nine starts against them lifetime.

“For all of our starters … it’s going to be about getting strike one. This lineup and this team turns into a completely different threat when you’re ahead in the count and controlling the count as opposed to falling behind 1-0, 2-0 and having to work back in. It allows them to see a lot more pitches and ultimately do more damage on you the third time around having seen 10-plus pitches in those first two at-bats,” he said.

Musgrove’s fellow 2022 All-Star Game selection Tyler Anderson will pitch for Los Angeles. Anderson was 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA in four starts against the Padres in the regular season, when he was 15-5, and is 6-3 with a 2.36 ERA in 15 games lifetime against San Diego, including one relief appearance. The Dodgers were 20-8 in Anderson’s 28 regular-season starts.

Anderson had career highs in victories, ERA (2.57), walks plus hits allowed per inning (1.00) and opponents’ batting average (.221).

The game is set to begin at 6:37 p.m. and will be televised by FS1. Game 5, if necessary would be played Sunday at Dodger Stadium.

The bullpen has been a key to the Padres’ success in the series with their relievers not allowing a run in the 14 innings they have pitched.

Nick Martinez relieved starter Blake Snell with a runner on second and one out in the sixth inning Friday, then struck out Justin Turner and threw out Chris Taylor on a soft ground ball to end the inning.

Luis Garcia struck out the first two batters he faced in the seventh, Trayce Thompson and pinch-hitter Gavin Lux, and got Mookie Betts to line out to center fielder Trent Grisham for the third out.

The next Padres reliever, Robert Suarez, allowed a single to the first batter he faced, Trea Turner, then retired the next three, striking out Max Muncy to end the inning.

Josh Hader did not allow any of the three batters he faced in the ninth to hit the ball out of the infield. Justin Turner fouled out to third baseman Manny Machado. Hader struck out Taylor and Thompson to end the inning for his second save in two postseason save opportunities in 2022.

Both teams failed to capitalize on scoring opportunities. Los Angeles was hitless in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position and left seven runners on base. The Padres were one-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base.

Snell got the victory, allowing one run and five hits in 5 1/3 innings, striking six and walking two. Tony Gonsolin, the first of six Dodgers pitchers, was charged with the loss, allowing one run and four hits in 1 1/3 innings.

“I just think he wasn’t sharp, getting behind, stressed in the first inning,” Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said. “Second inning gives up a couple hits, and I felt at that point in time we had length with (Andrew) Heaney, and it was time to go to him at that point.”

The Padres opened the scoring in the first. Juan Soto doubled with one out and scored on Jake Croneworth’s two-out single. Grisham homered off Heaney leading off the fourth.

The Dodgers scored their run in the fifth. Thompson led off with a single. The next batter, Austin Barnes, doubled. Betts followed with a sacrifice fly that also advanced Barnes to third. However, Trea Turner fouled out to Machado and Freddie Freeman grounded out to end the inning.

The game was the Padres’ first postseason game at Petco Park with fans since 2006. The Padres’ only postseason games at Petco Park since 2006 before Friday were three wild-card series games against the St. Louis Cardinals in 2020 that fans were not permitted to attend in an attempt to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Melvin said the support from the crowd announced at 45,137 was a huge help “without a doubt, especially as the game went along.”

“All our relievers felt that,” Melvin said. “You don’t see (pitches thrown at) 100 miles an hour often, especially out of three guys in a row, so I’m sure it had a big say in it.”

— City News Service



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Ellen Bullock