The Los Angeles Dodgers officially have a new rival out west.
Friday's Dodgers-Padres clash was a tense, emotional roller-coaster that somehow felt like it had the gravity of a playoff game in mid-April. The defending World Series champs prevailed 11-6 in a thrilling 12-inning marathon that stretched past midnight Saturday morning in San Diego.
Buckle up, because we've got 18 more matchups between these star-studded teams this season.
Dodgers-Padres had everything
This one had every ingredient needed to ratchet up the drama. A star player returning from injury. A lively Petco Park crowd at a maximum limited capacity of 15,250. Lead changes and comebacks. A ninth-inning rally. Benches clearing in extra innings.
And finally, it was a veteran L.A. squad that got the job done with a crowd-silencing 5-run onslaught in the 12th inning.
Corey Seager's two-run blast to open the 12th broke a 6-6 tie and gave the Dodgers their third and final lead of the night. But the final score hardly tells the story of a game filled with memorable moments.
It started when San Diego's star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., playing for the first time after a 10-day injury absence, cranked a go-ahead home run in the fifth inning.
That's when the ping-pong battle began. The Dodgers recaptured control and took a two-run lead into the eight, only to see the Padres rally to tie it on Jurickson Profar's two-run double.
Once again, it looked like L.A. was in good shape when a Justin Turner RBI single in the ninth gave his team a 6-5 edge. But the Padres weren't done.
Padres big-money slugger Manny Machado drew a two-out walk against his former team, stole second, hustled to third on a wild pitch and eventually scored the tying run on Eric Hosmer's single.
Nine innings weren't enough to decide this one. And somehow neither were 10 or 11 as both teams continued to leave runners stranded in scoring position.
Tensions peaked when Dodgers' Dennis Santana plunked San Diego's Jorge Mateo in the 10th. Words were exchanged, benches cleared, and then everyone remembered it's April and went back to their dugouts without much incident.
The finishing blow came two tense innings later, after both teams came short of scoring despite the controversial runner-on-second rule in extra innings. Seager's go-ahead homer in the 12th only opened the floodgates, and the Dodgers kept going.
The weirdness peaked when the Padres pulled reliever Tim Hill and brought in starting pitcher Joe Musgrove, who is a week removed from throwing a no-hitter, to play ... left field. Utility man Jake Cronenworth, a two-way player in the minors, took over on the mound and got two outs, one of them a sacrifice fly from Dodgers reliever David Price.
Price eventually ended the game after five hours, 12 innings and 17 different pitchers used. The only Padres players to not appear in the game were three starters and reliever Craig Stammen, who threw three innings the night before.
The good news is the season-long war has only just begun between these loaded squads.
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