LOS ANGELES ― Yu Darvish has made four appearances at Dodger Stadium since he last pitched for the Dodgers. The first three were typical of Darvish: lots of strikeouts and not a lot of hard hits allowed. The fourth, on Saturday, went a lot like Game 7 of the 2017 World Series did for the 35-year-old right-hander.
By the end of one inning, the Dodgers had hit three home runs and just missed another. By the time Darvish left the game, the San Diego Padres were trailing by five runs. The Dodgers’ 7-2 win was deja vu for the announced crowd of 47,061.
Freddie Freeman and Will Smith hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning, giving the Dodgers a 2-0 lead in the span of three pitches. The next batter, Max Muncy, turned on a first-pitch cutter and flew out to the warning track in right-center field. Justin Turner then struck an 0-and-1 fastball into the short section of seats in left field, his third home run in three days.
That proved to be all the offense the Dodgers would need. Left-hander Tyler Anderson (9-1) rebounded from a pair of subpar starts to throw 6 ⅓ innings and allow only one run. The margin of victory allowed the Dodgers to save closer Craig Kimbrel and top set-up man Evan Phillips, both of whom had appeared in back-to-back games.
Three straight wins against the second-place Padres (46-34) have allowed the Dodgers (49-28) to expand their lead in the National League West to 4 ½ games.
Freeman went 2 for 3 with two RBIs. Gavin Lux doubled in the second inning and scored on a Trea Turner single. Justin Turner singled in the third inning and scored on a double by Jake Lamb, who was serving as the designated hitter against the right-handed Darvish (7-4).
Anderson allowed six hits, no hard-hit balls, and walked two batters. It was his first start at Dodger Stadium since taking a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the Angels on June 15; only a postgame scoring change reclassified a Dodgers error as an Angels hit.
In his next two starts ― in Cincinnati and Colorado, both hitter-friendly parks ― Anderson would allow seven earned runs across 11 innings. Saturday’s win lowered his ERA to 3.09.
Dodgers right fielder Chris Taylor was removed from the game with a contusion on his right foot, the apparent result of an errant foul ball.
Dodgers reliever Reyes Moronta allowed a solo home run to Luke Voit in the eighth inning, completing the scoring.
The Dodgers and Padres will close out the four-game series Sunday. The Dodgers have won 14 of the last 15 head-to-head games between the teams.