Padres roar back against Phillies to level NLCS at one game apiece
Brandon Drury hit a go-ahead, two-run single during a five-run rally in the fifth inning and the San Diego Padres stunned Aaron Nola and the Philadelphia Phillies 8-5 on Wednesday to tie their all-wild card NL Championship Series at one game apiece.
The outburst started with Padres catcher Austin Nola hitting an RBI single off his younger brother that brought the sellout, rally towel-twirling crowd of 44,607 at Petco Park to life. Three innings earlier, the Phillies had taken a 4-0 lead with a rally that included bloop hits, a sun-aided double on a gorgeous, 92F afternoon and some shoddy Padres defense.
But just as they did Saturday night in eliminating the 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers, the Padres were spurred by the bottom of their lineup in a big comeback.
Drury and Josh Bell hit back-to-back homers for the Padres, and Manny Machado went deep late.
The series shifts to Philadelphia for three games starting with Game 3 on Friday night. The Phillies, trying to reach their first World Series since 2009, outscored Atlanta 17-4 in two home Division Series games last weekend to eliminate the defending World Series champion Braves.
Blake Snell got the win and Josh Hader the save after striking out the side in the ninth to send the crowd into a frenzy. Aaron Nola, in the playoffs for the first time in his career and off to a brilliant start, took the loss.
The Padres, playing in their first NLCS since 1998, appeared to be in deep trouble after Snell threw 37 pitches in the Phillies’ four-run second.
San Diego began their comeback with homers on consecutive pitches by Drury and Bell to open the bottom of the inning. Drury lined a shot to left field and Bell lifted a fly ball deep to right that stayed just fair.
Bell and Juan Soto, who had an RBI double in the fifth, were obtained in a blockbuster trade with Washington on 2 August, the same day the Padres got Drury from Cincinnati.
When Austin Nola grounded out in the second inning, it was the first pitcher-batter matchup between siblings in postseason history. Big brother came up again in the fifth with one out and Kim Ha-seong on first base. Aaron Nola threw to first several times before Austin singled to center to bring in the speedy Kim, whose helmet flew off between second and third before he scored with a headfirst slide.
Jurickson Profar singled, Soto hit an RBI double to tie the game at 4 and Machado struck out before Aaron Nola was pulled for former Padres closer Brad Hand.
Jake Cronenworth was hit by a pitch to load the bases. With the fans on their feet and waving yellow rally towels, Drury singled to put the Padres ahead. Bell capped the really with a single to right. The Padres sent 11 batters to the plate, collecting six hits, a walk and a hit batter.
Aaron Nola hadn’t allowed an earned run in picking up a win in each of the first two playoff rounds.
After winning 2-0 Tuesday night on Kyle Schwarber’s jaw-dropping 488ft homer and another homer by Bryce Harper, the Phillies went ahead with small ball in the second inning Wednesday.
Snell needed only six pitches to get through a 1-2-3 first but wasn’t as lucky in the second.
Harper and Nick Castellanos opened the inning with bloop singles before Alec Bohm hit a sharp single to right to bring in Harper. After Jean Segura struck out, Soto, the right fielder, lost Matt Vierling’s fly ball in the sun and it dropped behind him for an RBI double.
Edmundo Sosa golfed an RBI single that landed just in front of left fielder Profar. Schwarber hit a weak grounder that first baseman Drury bobbled before stepping on the bag as Vierling scored.
Snell allowed four runs and five hits in five innings, struck out six and walked one.
Aaron Nola was tagged for six runs and seven hits in four and two-thirds innings. He struck out six and walked none.
Machado homered leading off the seventh and Philly’s Rhys Hoskins homered on the first pitch from Robert Suarez in the eighth, ending the reliever’s scoreless streak of 19 and one-third innings.