On Friday night, the Padres played their first home playoff game at Petco Park since 2006. It doesn’t take a fool to know that the place will be bursting with energy and awfully loud.
Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin said he wasn’t worried about the atmosphere before his Game 3 start. Too bad he wasn’t around long enough to enjoy it. From first pitch to last, Friar Faithful unleashed 16 years worth of frustration in a 2-1 victory that put San Diego on the brink of history.
Gonsolin was immediately transferred. Juan Soto doubled for his first hit of the playoffs and scored on Jake Cronenworth’s single to make it 1-0 Padres after the inning. In the 2nd inning, Trent Grisham singled to the bag at 1st base and Austin Nola hit a missile over the left field fence, prompting Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to pull his opener after just four outs.
LA’s bullpen was able to limit the damage until the 4th inning when Trent Grisham continued his postseason surge. The center fielder hit a rocket into the right seats, a solo shot that was his third home run in six playoff games to put San Diego up 2-0 and for a moment the press box at Petco Park literally shook.
Meanwhile, Snell was ineffective, but he was effective. He struck out the side in the 1st inning and got out of a jam in the 3rd by striking out Treo Turner. Snell allowed one run, on a sacrifice bunt by Mookie Betts, over 5.1 innings of work. He gave up a double to Max Muncy in the 6th inning, and captain Bob Melvin replaced him with Nick Martinez, who immediately struck out Justin Turner and forced Chris Taylor to dribble to end the threat.
After that it was set up exactly how Melvin wanted it for his pen.
Luis Garcia pitched a perfect 7th with two strikes. Robert Suarez worked around Treo Turner’s infield single in a scoreless eighth. That left Josh Hader in the 9th. When they traded for the All-Star closer, they envisioned him in exactly these situations.
Again, it’s pretty good. Hader locked down his second save of the series with a 1-2-3 final frame, and now Padres fans can truly dare to dream. San Diego is one win away from firing their longtime tormentors from Highway 5 and they have the right guy on the hill to do it. Joe Musgrove will start Saturday night, trying to get his hometown team into the National League Championship Series for the first time since 1998.
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