LOS ANGELES ― The Dodgers found a new way to win Sunday.
Eight pitchers teamed up to pitch the series finale against the San Diego Padres. A late offensive outburst made the unplanned “bullpen game” a minor footnote to the 9-4 win before an announced crowd of 48,522 at Dodger Stadium.
The win separated the Dodgers (92-41) and Padres (74-61) by 19 games atop the National League West. The Dodgers’ back-to-back wins to conclude the series reduced their magic number to clinch the division to 9.
The Dodgers saw their 5-1 lead shrink to 5-4 in the seventh inning, before scoring four runs in the bottom of the inning to make the final score appear more comfortable than the 100-degree heat made it feel.
Trayce Thompson’s three-run pinch hit home run against reliever Adrian Morejon was the final blow. Will Smith also homered for the Dodgers, and Mookie Betts hit two doubles in the win.
Justin Turner’s 2-for-3 performance extended his hitting streak to 14 games.
Caleb Ferguson struck out the side in a scoreless first inning, before giving way to Ryan Pepiot in the second inning. The rookie right-hander struggled with his command, throwing 74 pitches across two innings. After issuing his fourth walk, manager Dave Roberts summoned Alex Vesia (4-0) from the bullpen, beginning a parade of relief pitchers that ultimately delivered the win.
A five-run fourth inning knocked out Padres starter Mike Clevinger (5-6) and gave the Dodgers a comfortable lead.