Dodgers defeat Padres, Astros put A's on brink of elimination

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Corey Seager scored the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly as the Los Angeles Dodgers erupted for four runs in the sixth inning en route to a 5-1 come-from-behind win over the San Diego Padres in the opening game of their NL Division Series on Tuesday.

Justin Turner scored two runs and walked twice, and starting pitcher Walker Buehler pitched four solid innings and struck out eight for the Dodgers, who recorded their fifth straight NLDS game one victory.

Closer Kenley Jansen got the final out of the four-hour marathon contest by forcing Padres batter Jake Croenworth to ground out to first base at the neutral Globe Life Field stadium outside Dallas, Texas.

The Dodgers were hitless through the first five innings and drew a total of 10 walks in the contest including three to catcher Will Smith.

After falling behind 1-0 in the fourth, Los Angeles did not get their first hit until Mookie Betts smacked a one-out double early in the sixth which helped open the flood gates with a combination of singles, doubles, walks and errors on the part of the Padres.

"It's not about getting a bunch of hits, it's about taking our walks and setting the table," said right fielder Betts.

Game two is Wednesday when the Dodgers will start left hander Clayton Kershaw.

"It is good to get game one under our belt," said Betts. "It is a lot better feeling getting a win in game one and knowing we got Kershew up next."

The Padres didn't announce their game one starter until Tuesday, deciding to go with ace Mike Clevinger who was pitching for the first time in 13 days.

Clevinger's status had been a mystery due to an elbow problem. He hasn't pitched since leaving a start against the Los Angeles Angels after one inning on September 23.

Clevinger missed the Padres' first-round series triumph against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Clevinger worked a scoreless first against the Dodgers but had to exit early, making just two pitches in the second before being pulled by manager Jayce Tingler. Clevinger finished with three walks and one strikeout.

"He's getting checked out," Tingler said. "His stuff was right where it usually is. We've got our fingers crossed and hoping for the best of news."

- 'We're expecting good things' -

Elsewhere, George Springer hammered two home runs and Framber Valdez won the battle of the lefties as the Houston Astros moved to within one win of reaching their fourth straight AL Championship Series with a 5-2 win over the Oakland A's.

Left-handed starter Valdez gave up two runs on five hits over seven innings and fanned four batters for the Astros, who will try to sweep the best of five series on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

"With every victory, the energy and the confidence grows," Houston manager Dusty Baker said. "We're expecting good things to happen."

Houston grabbed a 4-2 lead in the fifth inning on Martin Maldonado's home run that knocked Oakland lefty Sean Manaea from the contest. Springer then smacked the first pitch from Oakland relief pitcher Yusmeiro Petit over the left field wall.

Manaea surrendered four runs on five hits over 4 1/3 innings with one walk and two strikeouts.

The Astros belted three homers Tuesday, one day after hitting three in a game one victory at the same southern California ballpark.

Elsewhere, Tyler Glasnow and three other pitchers combined for 18 strikeouts and the batting order erupted for four homers as the Tampa Bay Rays rebounded from a game one loss to beat the New York Yankees 7-5.

Rays right-hander Glasnow struck out a franchise playoff-record 10 batters in five-plus innings. He gave up four runs and three hits while walking three as the Ray leveled the series at 1-1.

Randy Arozarena slugged a homer for the second straight game, Mike Zunino and Manuel Margot drilled two run shots, and Austin Meadows hit a solo home run for the Rays, who equaled a club playoff record with four long balls.

Game three is Wednesday night at Petco Park in San Diego.

New York star Giancarlo Stanton homered in his fourth consecutive playoff game, including a towering 460-foot, three-run drive that cleared the upper deck in the fourth inning.

Stanton's four straight homers tie for the third-longest streak in a single postseason. He now trails only Daniel Murphy, six in 2015, and Carlos Beltran, five in 2004.