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Juan Soto saved two runs by keeping a Mookie Betts blast in the park at Dodger Stadium. Photo credit: Screen shot, ESPN

The Padres had some momentum late in the game Sunday, having pulled within one run of the Dodgers, but things fell apart in the seventh inning and L.A. won 9-4.

With the loss, the Padres dropped the series, as Dodgers’ recent dominance over San Diego continued. But the Friars held onto the second spot in the wild-card race, behind the Atlanta Braves and ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Padres went out in front in the third inning when Austin Nola scored on a Manny Machado single, but the Dodgers got to Mike Clevinger the next inning. The starter struggled with his control, and was charged with five runs.

The big blow came on a Trey Turner double off reliever Luis Garcia, driving in Chris Taylor, who Clevinger hit with a pitch, and Cody Bellinger, who he had walked.

The Padres, down 5-1, showed some life in the sixth, preventing the Dodgers from scoring on two key plays.

Juan Soto kept a Mookie Betts blast in the park, though he couldn’t hold on to the ball after leaping above the fence in right field. Betts settled for a double rather than a two-run homer, as Bellinger had just walked.

An out later, Freddie Freeman sent a ground ball up the middle, but Jake Cronenworth slid to his right to snag it and throw out the Dodger first baseman to end the inning.

A half inning later, the Padres got themselves back into the game, scoring three runs with two outs.

Jurickson Profar found new life after catcher Will Smith couldn’t get to a pop up behind the plate, and doubled to drive in Soto and Josh Bell. Cronenworth followed with a double to bring in Profar, making the score 5-4, but Trent Grisham found himself called out on strikes on a ball that appeared to be inside. Manager Bob Melvin flatly described it as “a bad call.”

But the Dodgers promptly pounded Adrian Morejon. The reliever faced four batters in the bottom of the seventh and failed to retire one. The big blow came from pinch hitter Trayce Thompson, who hit a three-run shot to knock him out of the game.

Yet Morejon still has a fan in Melvin.

“He’s one of our guys now. They were on his heater, he didn’t locate it a well as he could, but he will continue to be one of our guys in close games late,” the manager said.

The Padres return home Monday to face the suddenly hot Arizona Diamondbacks with Blake Snell, Joe Musgrove and Yu Darvish getting the starts. After an off-day Thursday, the Dodgers arrive for another three-game series.



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Ellen Bullock