Corey Seager, Dodgers win thriller over Padres in 12 innings

Corey Seager, Dodgers win thriller over Padres in 12 innings

SAN DIEGO — Before the start of the weekend series against the Padres, Corey Seager called it another matchup against a division opponent. Dave Roberts tried to pump the brakes on any talk of a rivalry between the Dodgers and Padres, saying there’s more to a rivalry than just geography.

The intensity at Petco Park on Friday told a different story. Before the first pitch was thrown, the limited-capacity sellout crowd of 15,250 had already started a pair of loud “Beat LA” chants. Good defensive plays and key strikeouts were received with larger emotions than most games played on April 16. It also didn’t take long to see some fireworks, either, as the benches cleared in the 10th inning.

San Diego made a flurry of moves this past offseason, with its sights set on trying to dethrone Los Angeles atop the National League West standings. The Dodgers reminded the Padres that it won’t be easy, taking the series opener, 11-6, in a thrilling 12-inning game, extending their winning streak to seven.

With both teams trading jabs throughout the night, it was Seager and the Dodgers that delivered the knockout punch in the 12th. Seager jumped on the first pitch he saw from left-hander Tim Hill, crushing a two-run homer to give Los Angeles an 8-6 lead.

The Dodgers continued to add on, as Zach McKinstry and Luke Raley chipped in with RBI singles. Then, David Price (yes, David Price) plated a run with a sacrifice fly to left field off Jake Cronenworth (who moved from second base to the mound for San Diego) to make it 11-6.

While the Dodgers said all the right things externally in order to downplay the magnitude of the series, it’s no coincidence that they had Walker Buehler on the mound on Friday and will turn to Clayton Kershaw on Saturday and Trevor Bauer on Sunday. It’s also not by accident that Roberts was aggressive in using Blake Treinen, Victor González, Corey Knebel and Kenley Jansen out of the bullpen.

On the other side, the Padres have Yu Darvish scheduled for Saturday and Blake Snell taking the bump on Sunday. Both teams are trying to send an early message to each other, and the first act this season was a classic.

If there was any doubt about these two teams being rivals, Friday night’s game put an end to that. The Dodgers-Padres rivalry has the star power, a division title potentially on the line and clearly no love lost between the teams after their heated NL Division Series last season. The baseball world will get to enjoy at least 18 more battles between two of the most talented teams in the Majors.

The first round went to the Dodgers.

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