SAN DIEGO -- Doubleheaders at Petco Park don't come around often. The Padres made the most of their once-in-a-decade opportunity Saturday.
After walking off in Game 1, the San Diego offense roughed up Yu Darvish in the nightcap, en route to a 5-2 victory and a sweep of the Dodgers, owners of baseball's best record. Carlos Asuaje homered and Erick Aybar had three hits, as the Padres chased Darvish after three-plus innings -- the shortest start of his career.
"It just says a lot about the type of potential we have," Asuaje said. "... Maybe we haven't put everything together so far this season, as a whole. But we have some serious talent and serious ability. To me, [today] says a lot about us and the possibilities we have for the future."
Eleven of 20 Padres batters reached base against Darvish, and he allowed five earned runs on eight hits before exiting with two men aboard in the fourth inning. Making his Padres debut, right-hander Jordan Lyles didn't last much longer. But, despite four walks and six hits allowed, Lyles escaped a couple jams and held the L.A. offense to two runs over 4 1/3 innings.
The bullpen did the rest with 4 2/3 scoreless frames to close the second doubleheader in the history of the 13-year-old ballpark, and the first since July 1, 2006. The Padres hadn't swept Los Angeles in a twin bill since June 17, 1988, at Dodger Stadium.
"Today, look at that team, two games, they outplayed us," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.
The Dodgers have lost seven of eight, their worst stretch of the season. Still, at 92-43, they're comfortably atop the race for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, with a 10-game lead over Houston.
The Dodgers' nightcap lineup was not only missing shortstop Corey Seager, who hasn't started since last Sunday because of an elbow injury, but also first baseman Cody Bellinger, who in Game 1 hit his 35th homer to tie Mike Piazza for the rookie franchise record. Suddenly hot Justin Turner doubled in one run, and Adrian Gonzalez singled in the other. The Dodgers had only one base runner after the fifth inning.
"You look at what Corey brings, arguably our best offensive player, and Cody is just getting his feet wet, trying to get untracked," said Roberts. "[Justin Turner] the last four games is swinging the way he has all year and we've got to get [Curtis Granderson] going. Right now we're not firing, but I see the compete."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Szcz the moment: Asuaje tied the game at 2 with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the third, and the Padres quickly pushed another run across before loading the bases for Matt Szczur. Making a rare start in center field in place of Manuel Margot, Szczur smacked a two-run double down the right-field line, giving the Padres a 5-2 lead. San Diego batted around in the frame, and Lyles made two of their three outs.
Turning point: Half an inning later, the Dodgers also loaded the bases -- and they did so with a red-hot Justin Turner at the plate. But Lyles coolly got Turner to chop to third base, ending the threat. It was Darvish who began the attempted rally with his fourth career hit, and he spent much of the inning on the basepaths -- after enduring a 30-minute bottom half of the third. Sure enough, Darvish allowed a walk and a single to open the fourth, spelling the end of his night.
"I think that fun element carried the team. It sounds really elementary, but it's a big deal in a doubleheader when you're exhausted and you've been out there. Guys had a lot of fun." -- Padres manager Andy Green
AYBAR RETURNS IN STYLE
Making his first start in six weeks, Aybar made his presence felt at the top of the Padres' lineup. Aybar, who broke a bone in his left foot on a foul ball on July 21, went 3-for-3 against Darvish, improving to .406 in 32 career at-bats against him. Aybar would tack on a sixth-inning walk as well.
"You come back and try to do the little things right," Aybar said. "You don't try to do anything crazy -- you just try to do the little things. Luckily, I was able to have a good game against a good team."
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Dodgers challenged a safe call at first base on a grounder hit by Cory Spangenberg to first baseman Gonzalez, who threw to Darvish, who didn't step on the bag. The call was confirmed and Spangenberg was safe at first with Aybar advancing from second to third base.
WHAT'S NEXT Dodgers:Alex Wood comes off the disabled list for a second time from a sternum irritation to start the Sunday series finale at 1:10 p.m. PT. Despite the discomfort, he's having a breakout, All-Star season and a strong finish will put him in the NL Cy Young Award discussion.
Padres: August was a bit of a grind for Padres right-hander Jhoulys Chacin, who starts Sunday's series finale against the Dodgers. He's coming off a stretch of four starts in which he didn't last more than five innings -- yet he allowed one run in three of those games.