LOS ANGELES — Despite all the noise the San Diego Padres have made at the trade deadline, it has been drowned out by the relentless drumbeat of the Los Angeles Dodgers heading into October.
Will Smith homered and drove a 3-pointer as the Dodgers continued to stand out from the rest of the NL West with an 8-3 win over the second-place Padres Saturday night for their seventh straight win.
Max Muncy hit a three-run homer in the fifth inning for the Dodgers, who won their 16th of their last 18 games against San Diego to boost their division lead to a season-high 14 1/2 field. Days after the Padres signaled their World Series intentions by adding Juan Soto, Josh Bell and Brandon Drury to the lineup, Los Angeles clinched 16 in back-to-back victories at Chavez Canyon -4 coolly beat San Diego.
“Tonight was a clinic, (a) team offense clinic,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Using the entire field, depending on the situation, you can draw it. … Just a good, professional way of approaching the game from every aspect.”
The Dodgers have won six straight series against the Padres, and their bold trade-deadline moves have yet to overcome the day-to-day performance of their formidable opponents. Los Angeles had its 14th win in 17 games since hosting the All-Star Game last month, improving the majors’ best record to 74-33.
“We’re a very, very good lineup,” said Muncy, whose form is on the rise after a very dismal season. “It’s kind of like our squad has been forgotten by something that has happened and it feels good to go out and prove we have a really good squad.”
Drury ran a double in the fourth inning of the third inning for the Padres, who lost their third straight. San Diego is 1-3 since the addition of three shiny new bats, and manager Bob Melvin is eager to see his team’s massive investment pay off.
“We’re going to play better than this, (but) unfortunately, we’re off to a bad start,” said Melvin, whose club has hit 19 hits and no home runs in three straight losses. “The first day was great, we haven’t followed up yet. These guys, we’ll have to address (the Dodgers) at some point.”
Soto has been successful in every game against San Diego, but he only played a weak single on Saturday night. Bell went 0 for 4, and Drury’s double was his only hit.
“We brought (the new hitters) here at the end of the season, and we’re doing it now,” Melvin said. “After the first game, we were not where we should be.”
Mike Clevinger (3-4) had 7 hits and 5 runs as he pitched into the fifth inning for San Diego. The Padres went into the fifth inning with a 3-2 lead, but Muncy caught up with Clvinger by hitting his 11th homer into the visitors’ bullpen.
“They’re good at exploiting mistakes, and I think two pitches cost us the game,” Clevinger said.
Andrew Heaney threw four hits in 4 2/3 innings in his sixth start of the season for the Dodgers, lowering his ERA to 0.66, a move from three injury-plagued starters The third time since the month’s comeback. Egged on by second baseman Gavin Lux’s blunder on Bell’s easy grounder, San Diego moved on with three unearned runs in a rally.
Chris Martin (3-0) closed out Game 5 with strikeout Manny Machado, earning his second win in four games at his new club.
Smith led the second with his 16th homer, extending his streak to nine. The hitters hit three hits in Friday’s series opener before hitting Mookie Betts with a two-out single in the third inning.
Freddie Freeman and Smith sacrificed flies in the seventh. Betts started the game with a single before Machado made a key mistake — much to the delight of Dodgers fans who ruthlessly booed their former infielder.
Cody Bellinger added an RBI double in the eighth.
Clayton Kershaw had an epidural for his lower back pain, and the MRI didn’t reveal anything new, Roberts said. The team hasn’t decided when Kershaw will pick up baseball again, but Roberts believes “it’s going to be short-term, not long-term.”
Dodger Stadium was packed for the second night in a row, with 52,124 fans watching the Southern California rival. One night, the Dodgers’ celebration of Vince Curry was one of the hottest tickets in recent Los Angeles history.
Padres: RHP Robert Suarez returned from a 60-day injured list with two hits and a run in the eighth inning. He has been out since June 5 following knee surgery.
Dodgers: Dodgers backups Blake Trining (shoulder) and Bruce Dahl Gratroll (shoulder) both pitched one inning in the mock game, and both were “very good,” Roberts said. Graterol is about 10 days away from returning, while Treinen is not expected to return until September.
Dodgers All-Star Tyler Anderson (12-1, 2.89 ERA) looks unbeaten in the series finale since June. Yu Darvish (10-4, 3.30) played against his old club in San Diego after going 6-1 in his past 10 starts.
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