2022 MLB Playoffs: Padres even NLCS with five-run inning to win Game 2

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2022 MLB Playoffs: Padres even NLCS with five-run inning to win Game 2
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By Pedro Moura
FOX Sports MLB Writer

SAN DIEGO — The Padres reached the NLCS because of a five-run, 42-pitch inning on Saturday night at Petco Park. On Wednesday afternoon, they evened the NLCS with an even longer rally. They strung together a five-run, 46-pitch inning to enliven a playoff matinée. 

This one, within their 8-5 win, might’ve been even more important to their World Series chances.

San Diego first staked the Philadelphia Phillies to a 4-0 lead with some putrid second-inning defense. At that score, the Padres’ win-probability chances checked in at about 15%. But they didn’t stay that low for long. Brandon Drury and Josh Bell, two men who had been splitting the designated hitter role all postseason, hit next to each other in Wednesday’s lineup and repeatedly hit.

Because of Drury, Bell and the rest of San Diego’s hitters who collaborated on a 13-hit effort, the Padres have turned this series back in their favor. With up to five games left and the next three scheduled to be played in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia possesses home-field advantage. But San Diego has the starting-pitching edge, at least behind Joe Musgrove in Friday’s Game 3.

Juan Soto, Brandon Drury propel Padres to 7-4 lead against Phillies

Juan Soto and Brandon Drury contributed to a fifth-inning Padres rally with an RBI double and a two-run single to help San Diego take a 7-4 lead.

Wednesday’s back-and-forth game began with both starters, Blake Snell and Aaron Nola, missing over the plate in the first inning — and both teams failing to capitalize. Snell completed a six-pitch first inning. Nola surrendered a two-out, two-strike double to Manny Machado but caught Jake Cronenworth looking to end the threat.

The Phillies mounted their first rally in the second. Bryce Harper shot a single over the infielders, and Nick Castellanos blooped a single past them. Alec Bohm followed by shooting an RBI single into right-center, and when Juan Soto overthrew his target, Bohm took second base. With two runners in scoring position and one out, Matt Vierling lifted a likely sacrifice fly into right field. Soto jogged near the spot where the ball landed, but, with the early-afternoon sun shining, helplessly let it bounce next to him.

That scored a second run and incited boos from the home crowd. Next, Edmundo Sosa popped a ball into short left field, probably not far enough to function as a sacrifice fly but also not far enough for left fielder Jurickson Profar to reach. That scored a third run. 

Kyle Schwarber then slapped a grounder directly to first base, where Drury was playing for the first time in 11 days. Had Drury gloved it speedily, he could’ve turned an inning-ending double-play. Instead, he bobbled it and settled for one out. That scored a fourth run.

Next, Rhys Hoskins lofted a routine fly to right. Soto shifted his body under it as the crowd nervously tittered. When he secured the baseball, the Padres fans gave him a Bronx cheer. It was over.

Phillies put up a four-spot in the second inning of Game 2

The Philadelphia Phillies scored four runs in the second inning behind singles from Kyle Schwarber and Edmundo Sosa and a double by Matt Vierling.

Drury and the Padres made up for their mistakes post-haste. He swatted Nola’s second pitch of the second inning inches over the shortest part of this ballpark’s perimeter, down the left-field line. Bell cleared the wall with room to spare on Nola’s next pitch. Like that, San Diego halved Philadelphia’s lead. The Padres made up the other half — and more — in the fifth inning.

Ha-Seong Kim ignited the rally with a leadoff single, then scampered all the way around the bases on an Austin Nola single. The hit-and-run play helped his odds. Profar singled on the next pitch to put runners on the corners, and Soto soon doubled to score Nola.

As he did during the Padres’ epic rally that won them the NLDS, Machado next struck out. The Phillies then pulled their Nola in favor of left-hander Brad Hand, who hit Cronenworth and surrendered the go-ahead single to Drury, plus an additional RBI single to Bell. Like the NLDS iteration, this rally netted the Padres five runs, and they held the resulting three-run lead from there. 

Machado and Hoskins swapped solo shots before it was over, and the Phillies started a rare rally against shutdown setup man Robert Suarez in the eighth. But a smooth double-play turned by Machado and Kim nipped that before it presented an existential threat.

Pedro Moura is the national baseball writer for FOX Sports. He previously covered the Dodgers for The Athletic, the Angels and Dodgers for the Orange County Register and L.A. Times, and his alma mater, USC, for ESPN Los Angeles. He is the author of “How to Beat a Broken Game.” Follow him on Twitter @pedromoura.


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