If the Yankees are seeking immediate inspiration following a League Championship Series-opening defeat that featured underwhelming offense, then they can simply dial up the highlights from the other LCS game yesterday. The Padres mustered just one hit in their Game 1 shutout loss to the Phillies; they only wish they could’ve had the solo homers of Harrison Bader and Anthony Rizzo because they fell by a score of 2-0. San Diego needed an answer, or else they’d be staring at the beginnings of a sweep with a flight to Philladelphia looming.
NLCS Game 2
San Diego Padres 8, Philadelphia Phillies 5
(Series tied, 1-1)
At the outset of the Wednesday afternoon matchup at Petco Park, the focus was on a fun story. Starting for the Phillies was Aaron Nola, and catching for the Padres was Austin Nola. The brothers became the first pair in MLB postseason history to square off in a batter/pitcher showdown, creating some conflict for their parents.
The Phillies brushed off the feel-good story and stormed out to a 4-0 lead against Blake Snell, who endured a long and grueling second inning. Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos knocked consecutive singles to begin the frame, and Alec Bohm drove in Harper with a clean hit to right. After Jean Segura went down on strikes, Matt Vierling lifted a fly ball to right that Juan Soto simply lost in the bright San Diego sun. That missed out opened the door for a second run, and then two more afterward.
Already mired in a 3-for-21 stretch dating back to the Division Series against the Dodgers, Soto was going to have to do some work to earn back some goodwill.
Brandon Drury and Josh Bell quickly paved the way for a comeback. Despite being handed a 4-0 lead, the Phillies’ Nola coughed up back-to-back bombs from Drury and Bell to begin the home half of the second. The lead was suddenly cut in half, though the right-hander settled down to retire the next nine Padres in order. However, Snell capably limited the damage to keep San Diego in it, as the 2018 Cy Young Award winner threw hitless ball from the Sosa single in the second until a Harper double in the sixth.
By that time, the Phillies were in trouble because their starter utterly fell apart in the bottom of the fifth, and it was partially his brother’s fault. With one out and Ha-Seong Kim on first with a single, Austin Nola lined an 0-2 pitch into right-center for a hit. Kim was running already and it took Castellanos a few seconds to reach the ball, so the shortstop came around to score. That would have been frustrating on its own for Aaron Nola, but the Padres poured salt in the wound.
Jurickson Profar singled Austin Nola to third, bringing up Soto. The superstar snapped his playoff skid with a double to right to tie the game at 4-4, and though Aaron Nola fanned Manny Machado, that was the end of his day.
In came Brad Hand to ... not lend a hand. In fact, he made things worse. Jake Cronenworth got plunked, Drury smacked a single to give San Diego the lead, and Bell followed with a hit of his own.
The Phillies’ 4-2 lead had turned into a 7-4 deficit, and while Machado and Rhys Hoskins exchanged solo homers later, that was just about the ballgame. Josh Hader entered in the ninth to continue his brilliant October by striking out the side. San Diego won, 8-5, though the Phils still have home-field advantage as Citizens Bank Park prepares for the next three games.
Offday today; will resume play on Friday.