The Padres and Dodgers delivered everything great — and tense — about postseason baseball. even a goose

LOS ANGELES — This game had it all: legendary pitchers looking to beat local ghosts, speedboats doing home runs to the skies, a reliever with a twisted story hitting 101 mph to get out of a jam, a bit of shrewd deception, a good defense, poor defense, the tying run coming home late in the ninth against a closer pushing past his usual limit, a poultry in the field, Cody Bellinger get a hit.

There was even something never seen before: a playoff San Diego Padres victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. With a 5-3 victory On Wednesday night, the 89-win upstarts split the NLDS’ first two games against their 111-win juggernaut neighbors to the north. And together, they wrote an instant classic in the not-yet-particularly storied annals of the Padres-Dodgers rivalry.

“It’s probably as back-and-forth a game as you’re going to see,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said after the Deadline acquisition. Josh Hader made a four-out save for the first time since Oct. 1, 2020, and only the third time in three years. “A lot of drama. Fun win.

They count the amusing as well as the predictable or superficial. So often, in fact, is the problem in baseball, how a successful play can circumvent excitement en route to a win. After all, they are paying people on the field and in the offices to go from the first pitch to 27 out and at least one more run than their opponent with as much certainty as possible.

“Satisfaction is getting the ‘W'” Manny Machado said, avoiding an investigation into any extra pleasure he derived from calming more than 53,000 hostile fans who are still angry, he did not show enough performative agitation during his half season four years ago with his first home run. But OK, where’s the fun in that?

A goose takes flight over the infield during the eighth inning of Game 2 of an NL Division baseball series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres, Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

We’re quick to lament the boring baseball that results from ruthless efficiency, so allow me to be unequivocal in my glee. This game was great. Letter of Recommendation: A 68-degree evening in Los Angeles spent watching tense postseason baseball where every batter could change the game, all the way to the Finals, and there’s a buffet of the game’s biggest possible plays .

Josh Bell, Padres slugger who came into the John Soto deal, didn’t play Wednesday but had a great view from the dugout. In his eyes, the key moment was Jake Cronenwroth’s solo home run in the eighth inning to give San Diego a two-run lead and a small cushion going into the final frames. The 416-foot bomb — the furthest of five solo shots between the two teams combined — was the longest play of the game in terms of distance, but by that point the Padres had all the lead they needed. would need.

Austin Howthe Padres catcher who launched a personalized PitchCom for Yu Darvishcomplicated arsenal in the game, chose a field gem by Machado from the start of Trea Turner in the seventh inning with runners on second and third, one of the few missed opportunities for the Dodgers to tie the game on the final 90 feet of third at home.

“Amazing play all around just to keep them from getting that run there,” Nola said. “Manny makes him a non-routine play, at all, a hard-hit ball. It makes the game easy.

He didn’t mention his own defensive highlight, knocking down Mookie Bets on an early game steal attempt after a regular season in which Nola had one of the worst stolen steal percentages in baseball.

But the consensus, from Machado, Soto, Cronenworth and Melvin for the key moment was the throwing performance of 31-year-old rookie journeyman Robert Suárez. Specifically, the strikeout followed by a double play he induced, with a little help from the infielders behind him, to bail out Darvish’s start and escape a two-way no-out jam in the sixth. sleeve.

“It was game of the match,” Melvin said.

“I think if they run into one or even score one, I think the game changes a lot. He was able to put a stop to it,” Machado said.

For what it’s worth, they’re right. That double play to finish sixth was the biggest win probability swing added in a match that saw the expected winner changes direction almost every round.

The right answer, but certainly not the only one. There was Soto’s successful deke on a fly ball from Max Muncy which he couldn’t catch but faked it to keep the runners confused. If the game had gone the other way, perhaps the pivotal moment would have been Brusdar Graterol’s good lineout in his own defense to bring Wil Myers to the plate after Trent Grisham tried to score a single. Or any of Freddie Freeman’s, Muncy’s or Turner’s home runs. Perhaps the weirdest part is that Clatyon Kershaw’s first playoff start — and first since 2020 after missing last year’s playoffs — was among the game’s least notable performances, for the better or for worse. Go figure.

Unbiased observers would probably say the most memorable moment of the night had nothing to do with baseball. Giving the set the kind of real-time viral quality that makes for memorable nicknames – the Goose Game? Poultry game? Poultry ball? The dawn of a duck dynasty? Gander Gate? – a bird of some sort briefly disrupted the game in the eighth inning, flapping around the field as an unsubtle reminder of the perpetual possibility of seeing something new every time you go to the stadium or turn on the television.

This is exactly why we do it.

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 12: A goose flies down the field during NLDS Game 2 between the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers on October 12, 2022 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA.  (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 12: A goose flies down the field during NLDS Game 2 between the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers on October 12, 2022 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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