The Los Angeles Dodgers didn’t make much, if any, effort to re-sign Manny Machado over the winter, and while they may not necessarily regret the decision, their loss has been the San Diego Padres’ gain in head-to-head matchups thus far.
When the Dodgers and Padres first met this season, Machado hit three home runs through the first two games at Petco Park. It was enough for Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to joke that perhaps Padres skipper would rest Machado in the series finale.
He remained in the lineup but went hitless in the Padres’ walk-off win. Tuesday marked Machado’s first visit at Dodger Stadium since leaving the Dodgers in free agency. He hit a towering home run off Clayton Kershaw and finished 3-for-4 with two RBI, a double and the aforementioned homer.
The home run was one of two Kershaw allowed in the Dodgers’ 6-3 win, and a second this season to Machado. The left-hander was complimentary of his former teammate after the game, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“He’s been one of the elite players in our game for a long time. He signed that contract for a reason. He puts up numbers every year. Just a special talent, man.”
Kershaw retired nine of the next 10 batters faced, with Machado’s two-out single in the sixth inning serving as the Padres’ lone baserunner during that stretch. Kershaw went seven innings in a start he considered somewhat average:
“I felt alright. It was a great team win. Getting that early run and keep piling on after that against a good pitcher. He’s throwing the ball really well for them. That was a good win. For myself, I felt alright. The damage was those two big guys in the middle. They made me pay when I made some mistakes. Other than that it was alright.”
Aside from Franmil Reyes’ solo home run in the first inning and Machado’s blast in the fourth, Kershaw largely managed to keep the Padres in check. Eric Hosmer’s leadoff single in the seventh inning marked their fifth and final hit off Kershaw.
Nothing came of it, however, as Kershaw induced a double play and struck out Wil Myers to complete his night’s work. The strikeout was Kershaw’s fifth, giving him at least that many in five of six starts this season.
He improved to 3-0 and the Dodgers remained undefeated in his outings this year. Dating back to last season, L.A. has won 14 consecutive Kershaw starts during the regular season.