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Sports Media

Can the Padres win the NL West?

Padres
Jake Roth, USA Today Sports

The race for the 2020 NL West title is on after the Padres defeated the Dodgers 7-2 last night. The Dodgers’ streak of seven straight NL West titles is in peril. It was the biggest series opener for the Padres as they sit 1 ½ games back of the Dodgers after winning eight games in a row and are 10-2 in September. The Dodgers are 7-5 this month and are have seen their six-game lead in the division diminish.

Padres Pitching

Right-hander Dinelson Lamet was brilliant again, using the same weapon he always uses — a near-unhittable slider. For the second consecutive start, Lamet racked up 11 punchouts. He’s the first Padres pitcher to do that since Jake Peavy in his NL Cy Young Award-winning 2007 campaign. Lamet finished with seven innings of one-run ball, allowing only three hits as he lowered his ERA to 2.12. He’s the first pitcher to strike out at least 10 Dodgers this season, and he moved into a tie with Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer for the NL strikeout lead.

Tensions in the game

Trent Grisham, whose solo shot in the sixth tied the game at one, stood and admired his shot for a little longer than the Dodgers thought acceptable. Grisham’s admiration for his home run led to some chirping from the Dodgers bench as he rounded third, to which Grisham chirped back. After the game, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts took exception to Grisham’s celebration at the expense of an active legend such as Clayton Kershaw.

Padres Playoffs

The Padres on Sunday clinched their first winning season since 2010. They haven’t made the playoffs or won the division since 2006. On this date a year ago, the Dodgers were 19 ½ games ahead in first place, and the Padres were 27 games out and in fourth place. Overtaking the rival Dodgers would be a massive coup for the Padres and their thrilling young core. Such an outcome is now very much in play.

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