Vargas, Dodgers beat Padres 5-2 for 108th win
By BERNIE WILSON
SAN DIEGO (AP) Miguel Vargas is making a push to be included on the Los Angeles Dodgers' postseason roster - if manager Dave Roberts can find a spot for him.
The rookie outfielder hit a tiebreaking, two-run single with the bases loaded in the sixth inning and the NL West champion Dodgers beat San Diego 5-2 on Thursday night to slow the Padres' playoff push.
Vargas, who also had a sacrifice fly, made his big league debut on Aug. 3.
"His name is certainly in the mix to make the roster, absolutely," Roberts said.
Getting the big hit "is big" for Vargas, Roberts said. "When you're not out there every day, and still to take quality at-bats is hard to do. For him to be ready to be called upon, to show well, take good at-bats ... in his short sample, he's squared the ball up quite often."
The Dodgers added to their franchise single-season record with their 108th win. They've already clinched the NL's No. 1 seed in the playoffs and reduced their magic number to one for home-field advantage through the World Series.
Los Angeles beat San Diego in consecutive games to take the season series 14-5 and claim its ninth straight series against the Padres dating to 2021.
San Diego's magic number to wrap up a postseason berth was reduced to three when the Milwaukee Brewers lost 4-2 to Miami. San Diego is 2 1/2 games ahead of Philadelphia for the NL's second wild-card spot.
Both teams went with an opener. The Padres pushed back Yu Darvish to Friday to give him an extra day of rest with an eye toward their first playoff appearance in a full season since 2006.
Los Angeles lefty Andrew Heaney (4-3) relieved opener Brusdar Graterol and pitched four innings for the win. David Price worked the ninth for his second save.
The Dodgers trailed 2-1 going into the sixth before scoring three runs on four hits and a walk off Pierce Johnson (1-2), plus a double steal.
Mookie Betts hit a leadoff double, Trea Turner beat out an infield single and Freddie Freeman singled home Betts to tie it. Will Smith struck out and Turner and Freeman pulled off a double steal. Max Muncy walked to load the bases and Vargas singled to center with two outs to bring in Turner and Freeman.
"He clearly has the hit tool that we talk about," Roberts said. "He has a two-strike approach and can cover a lot of different pitches. He competes. It's no surprise, but certainly you don't know until you know. So when you get a young player up here in this environment and see how he responds, it's very telling."
Smith homered off Adrian Morejon in the eighth, his 24th.
Graterol allowed singles to Jurickson Profar and Juan Soto to start the first and they both scored on Brandon Drury's two-out single to center.
The Dodgers got one of those runs back in the second on Vargas' sacrifice fly off Sean Manaea, who took over for opener Steven Wilson starting the second.
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (10-3, 2.42 ERA) is scheduled to start Friday night in the opener of a six-game home series against the Colorado Rockies, who will go with RHP Chad Kuhl (6-10, 5.45).
Padres: Darvish (16-7, 3.05) starts Friday night in the opener of a three-game home series against the Chicago White Sox, who will counter with RHP Davis Martin (2-5, 3.86).
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Updated September 30, 2022