The Dodgers-Padres rivalry jumped up another notch Saturday night courtesy of Mookie Betts.
Betts made a diving catch in center field to rob the Padres’ Tommy Pham of a game-tying hit in the bottom of the ninth inning and seal a 2-0 Los Angeles victory. Betts caught Pham’s line drive in the palm of his glove and then held onto the ball with both hands before it could drop to the turf. The catch withstood a video review.
Statcast pegged the catch probability at 10 percent.
“I just kind of blacked out,” Betts told reporters, per MLB.com. “I just knew when the ball went up in the air, I had to catch it.”
The play ended another tense affair between the top two teams in the National League West. Emotions were running hot for much of Saturday after Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw and Padres utility man Jurickson Profar shouted profanities at each other in the fourth inning. Kershaw was upset that Profar hit catcher Austin Barnes’ mitt with a late swing and drew a catcher’s interference call.
The benches emptied in Friday night’s series opener after Dodgers reliever Dennis Santana hit the Padres’ Jorge Mateo with a pitch in the 10th inning. LA went on to win that game 11-6 in 12.
Kershaw wound up outdueling the Padres’ Yu Darvish over six innings in Game 2, and he also drove in the Dodgers’ first run with a bases-loaded walk. Justin Turner added insurance with a solo home run in the ninth inning.
These teams will wrap up the series Sunday at Petco Park. Another high-level pitching matchup is on tap: Trevor Bauer for the Dodgers and Blake Snell for the Padres.