NLCS Game 2 Recap: Padres even series with 8-5 win thanks to explosive fifth inning

Mandatory Credit: Photo by CAROLINE BREHMAN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (13479573ay) San Diego Padres Manny Machado (R) is greeted by San Diego Padres third base coach Matt Williams (L) after Machado hit a solo home run against the Philadelphia Phillies in the seventh inning during game two of the National League Championship Series between the San Diego Padres and the Philadephia Phillies at Petco Park in San Diego, California, USA, 19 October 2022. The Philadelphia Phillies lead the the best-of-seven series 1-0 and will go on to face either the New York Yankees or the Houston Astros in the World Series. MLB Philadephia Phillies at San Diego Padres, USA – 19 Oct 2022

NLCS Game 2 Recap: Padres even series with 8-5 win thanks to explosive fifth inning

NL Championship Series, Game 2: Padres 8, Phillies 5 (Series tied 1-1)

After Zack Wheeler’s starting pitching gem led the way in Philadelphia’s Game 1 win, they would turn to their reliable long-standing ace Aaron Nola in Game 2. Nola pitched in both the Wild Card Series and Division Series and did not allow an earned run over 12 ⅔ strong innings of work. He’d be opposed Wednesday by Padres’ lefty Blake Snell, who struggled in the Wild Card round against New York but pitched well in a win over the Dodgers in the ALDS. 

After a scoreless first inning highlighted by a Trent Grisham diving catch, Philadelphia would start applying pressure to Snell in the top of the second. Bryce Harper, Nick Castellanos, and Alec Bohm would pick up consecutive singles to start the inning and put Philadelphia ahead. The lead would quickly become 2-0 when Juan Soto failed to track a ball in the blistering sun in right field. Another bloop single by Edmundo Sosa extended the Phillies’ lead again to 3-0, and a Kyle Schwarber groundout would plate another run as Brandon Drury bobbled it at first. Snell would eventually escape the inning after more than 35 pitches, and Aaron Nola headed back to the mound with a 4-0 lead. 

Suddenly with their backs against the wall, San Diego’s bats responded in a big way to open the second. Brandon Drury and Josh Bell smashed back-to-back solo home runs in a span of just three pitches, cutting the lead in half and allowing the Petco Park faithful to erupt for the first time Wednesday afternoon. Both Aaron Nola and Blake Snell would settle in for a while from there, but it was Aaron Nola’s brother Austin who would kick the door open on an explosive fifth inning. Austin’s RBI single followed Ha-Seong Kim’s hit, making it 4-3. Jurickson Profar would single next, followed by a line-drive double into the right-field corner by Juan Soto to tie the game at 4. Phillies’ manager Rob Thomson would finally remove Aaron Nola after his strikeout of Machado, turning to Brad Hand in hopes of escaping a hornet’s nest in the fifth. Hand would prove ineffective, hitting Jake Cronenworth to load the bases before surrendering a two-run single to Brandon Drury to make it 6-4 Padres. Josh Bell would knock Hand out of the game moments later with yet another RBI single, and Philadelphia would dip into their bullpen once again for Andrew Bellatti as Ha-Seong Kim came to bat for the second time in the inning. Bellatti would escape without further damage, but Philadelphia faced a colossal task trailing 7-4 as the dominant San Diego bullpen entered the fray. Nick Martinez pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh for San Diego. Manny Machado added a solo home run off David Robertson to extend the San Diego lead to 8-4 in the bottom of the seventh.

Rhys Hoskins would halt the Padres’ momentum in the top of the eighth with a solo home run of his own off of San Diego reliever Robert Suarez, the first run Suarez had surrendered at Petco Park all season. Suarez would close out the inning without further damage, leaving the Phillies with an 8-5 deficit and only three outs at their disposal. San Diego closer Josh Hader’s fifth straight scoreless appearance secured the Padres’ victory in the ninth, tying the series at a game apiece as the two teams travel to Philadelphia.

Game 3: Friday, 6:37pm CT at Philadelphia

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