LOS ANGELES — Blame Kevin Cash.
In a scenario remarkably reminiscent of the pivotal point in Game 6 of last fall’s World Series, San Diego Padres manager Jayce Tingler followed Cash’s template, pulling left-hander Blake Snell after 5 1/3 innings against the Dodgers even though Snell was pitching with a lead, a reasonable pitch count and no signs of danger.
That didn’t work out well for the Tampa Bay Rays in October and Tingler was left with burn marks as well. The Dodgers rallied for three runs in the sixth inning after Snell was pulled from the game to come from behind and beat the Padres 5-4 Saturday night.
The win was just the second in the past six games for the Dodgers but it evens the season series with the Padres at three games apiece.
No one was on base when Snell left the game this time but the reliever who followed, right-hander Pierce Johnson, faced four batters and retired none of them. He gave up consecutive singles to Sheldon Neuse and pinch-hitters Chris Taylor and Matt Beaty to load the bases. Dodgers pinch-hitters had gone 0 for 19 with 13 strikeouts before Saturday.
Johnson forced in the tying run when he walked Mookie Betts then Corey Seager gave the Dodgers the lead with a two-run single off lefty reliever Tim Hill.
The three-run inning was the biggest spark of life from the Dodgers’ offense since they scored five times in the 12th inning at Petco Park eight days earlier. Their five runs Saturday night was nearly half of their total (11) for the six games in between.
The October throwback interrupted a father-son game between Fernando Tatis Sr. and Jr.
Twenty-two years ago, Fernando Tatis Sr. followed up his one-of-its-kind achievement of hitting two grand slams in one inning by hitting another home run the next day at Dodger Stadium.
One night after commemorating his father’s feat with a two-home run game of his own at Dodger Stadium, Fernando Tatis Jr. did him one better, having a second consecutive two-homer game.
Only two visiting players at Dodger Stadium have ever had multi-homer games in back-to-back games — Tatis and Barry Bonds (April 2-3, 2002). According to STATS Inc, Tatis — who homered twice off Clayton Kershaw on Friday and twice off Trevor Bauer on Saturday — is the the sixth player with multi-homer games off two former Cy Young winners in the same season and the first to do it in back-to-back games.
And according to Elias Sports Bureau, the 22-year-old Tatis is the third-youngest MLB player with consecutive multi-homer games. A 21-year-old Cody Bellinger is the youngest to do it back in 2017.
After taking the lead in the sixth, the Dodgers still had to deal with Tatis.
Victor Gonzalez replaced Bauer in the seventh and walked the first batter he faced then gave up a one-out single. Blake Treinen came in and gave up a single to load the bases for Tatis.
A wild pitch scored one run but Treinen struck Tatis out on a slider then got a favorable called third strike on a 94-mph cut fastball on the inside corner.
Things got messy again in the eighth and the Dodgers turned to Kenley Jansen to get the final four outs in the game. One of those outs was Tatis who grounded out in the ninth with the tying run in scoring position. Jansen then blew a 95 mph fastball past Trent Grisham to end the game with the tying run at third base.