Will Smith, Max Muncy drive Dodgers past Padres again, 8-3

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LOS ANGELES — Will Smith homered and drove in three runs, and the Los Angeles Dodgers continued to sprint away from the rest of the NL West with their seventh consecutive victory, 8-3 over the second-place San Diego Padres on Saturday night.

Max Muncy hit a three-run homer in the fifth inning for the Dodgers, who boosted their division lead to a season-high 14 1/2 games with their 16th win in their last 18 meetings with San Diego.

The Dodgers have won six consecutive series against the Padres, whose big trade deadline moves haven’t yet overcome their powerhouse rivals’ everyday excellence: LA has outscored San Diego 16-4 in back-to-back big victories at Chavez Ravine.

The Dodgers also improved the majors’ best record to 74-33 with their 14th win in 17 games since hosting the All-Star Game last month.

Brandon Drury had an RBI double during a three-run fourth inning for the Padres, who have lost three straight. San Diego is 1-3 since adding Juan Soto, Drury and Josh Bell to the lineup.

Mike Clevinger (3-4) yielded seven hits and five runs while pitching into the fifth inning for San Diego. The Padres took a 3-2 lead into the fifth, but Muncy chased Clevinger by driving his 11th homer into the visitors’ bullpen.

Andrew Heaney lowered his ERA to 0.66 while pitching 4 2/3 innings of four-hit ball in his sixth start of the season for the Dodgers, his third since returning from three injury-plagued months.

Chris Martin (3-0) ended the Padres’ only rally by striking out Manny Machado, earning his second victory in four games with his new club.

Smith led off the second with his 16th homer, extending his hitting streak to nine games. The slugging catcher, who had three hits in Friday’s series opener, then drove in Mookie Betts with a two-out single in the third.

Heaney retired nine straight batters after Jurickson Profar led off the game with a double, but San Diego went ahead in the fourth with three unearned runs in a rally abetted by second baseman Gavin Lux‘s error on Bell’s easy one-out grounder. Drury, Jake Cronenworth and Wil Myers followed with consecutive RBIs.

After Muncy homered in the fifth for the latest step forward in his previously dismal season, Freddie Freeman and Smith drove in runs with sacrifice flies in the seventh. Betts started the rally with a single before Machado made a key error – to the delight of the Dodgers fans who boo their former third baseman relentlessly.

Cody Bellinger added an RBI double off the wall in the eighth.

BIG TICKET

Dodger Stadium was packed for the second straight night, with 52,124 fans watching the Southern California rivals. One night earlier, the Dodgers’ celebration of Vin Scully was one of the hottest tickets in recent LA history.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Padres: RHP Robert Suarez returned from the 60-day injured list and yielded two hits and a run in the eighth. He had been out since June 5 after knee surgery.

Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (low back pain) had an epidural injection, and an MRI exam revealed nothing new, manager Dave Roberts said. The team hasn’t decided when Kershaw will pick up a baseball again, but Roberts thinks “it’s going to be shorter-term, rather than longer-term.” … Dodgers relievers Blake Treinen (shoulder) and Brusdar Graterol (shoulder) both threw an inning in a simulated game, and both came out “really good,” Roberts said. Graterol is still about 10 days from returning, and Treinen isn’t expected back until September.

UP NEXT

Dodgers All-Star Tyler Anderson (12-1, 2.89 ERA) looks to remain unbeaten since June in the series finale. Yu Darvish (10-4, 3.30) takes the mound against his old team for San Diego after going 6-1 in his last 10 starts.

Pujols has 2 more RBIs, Cardinals beat Pirates 8-7 in 10

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PITTSBURGH – Albert Pujols drove in two more runs and the St. Louis Cardinals went on to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 in 10 innings Tuesday night.

Pujols hit a two-run single in the third inning to push his career total to 2,218 RBIs. That came a night after he broke a tie with Babe Ruth for second place on the career list. Hank Aaron holds the record with 2,287.

Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol then removed the 42-year-old Pujols at the end of the inning. St. Louis opens postseason play Friday when it hosts a best-of-three National League wild-card series.

Juan Yepez gave the Cardinals the win when he hit a tiebreaking single with one in the 10th inning off Chase De Jong (6-3) to score automatic runner Ben Deluzio.

“Tonight was interesting because you’re fairly scripted in who you want to use and who you don’t want to use and what you want tomorrow to look like so you can get ready for Friday,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “It was a good one to still figure out a way to come out on top.”

The Cardinals threw out the potential tying run at home in the bottom of the 10th when automatic runner Kevin Newman tried to score from second base on Oneil Cruz‘s line single off the glove of first baseman Alec Burleson. The ball deflected to second baseman Brendon Donovan, who threw home to catcher Andrew Knizner.

The Pirates challenged the call, but it was upheld on video review.

“I thought we were going to get it overturned,” Newman said. “I just thought he didn’t tag me until he got higher up on the body.”

It was the Pirates’ 100th loss, the second year in a row they have reached that mark.

The Cardinals got two hits each from Donovan, Corey Dickerson, Knizner and Paul DeJong.

Cruz had three hits for the Pirates and Bryan Reynolds, Rodolfo Castro, Jack Suwinski, Ke'Bryan Hayes and Ji-Hwan Bae added two apiece. Miguel Andujar drove in two runs.

Chris Stratton (10-4) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

“They weren’t the prettiest two innings I’ve ever pitched but I got a great play from the defense in the 10th inning to help me out,” Stratton said. “It was a good play all the way around.’

Pujols’ hit put the Cardinals ahead 3-1 but the Pirates answered with six runs in the bottom of the third. Andujar’s run-scoring double highlighted an inning that includes RBI singles by Castro, Suwinski, Ben Gamel and Bae.

The Cardinals then scored four runs in the seventh inning to tie the score at 7-all. Donovan hit an RBI single, Dickerson drove in two runs with a double and the tying run scored on a throwing error by Cruz, the rookie shortstop.

Both starting pitchers lasted just 2 2/3 innings. The Cardinals’ Dakota Hudson was rocked for seven runs and nine hits while the Pirates’ JT Brubaker allowed three runs on four hits.

Brubaker was activated from the injured list before the game. He had been out since Sept. 16 with right lat discomfort.

HELSLEY HURT

Reliever Ryan Helsley, the Cardinals’ closer, left in the eighth inning with a jammed right middle finger. Helsley was injured after catching a line drive by Bae and using his hands to brace himself while dodging a piece of a broken bat.

Helsley said he expects to be ready to pitch Friday.

“I don’t think there was anything super wrong with it,” Helsley said. `Just give it some rest and let it resolve itself.”

ROSTER MOVES

The Pirates optioned right-hander Roansy Contreras to Triple-A Indianapolis to clear a roster spot for Brubaker. They also recalled infielder/outfielder Tucapita Marcano from Indianapolis and optioned catcher Jose Godoy to the same club.

PIRATES AWARDS

Center fielder Bryan Reynolds was voted the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, emblematic of the Pirates’ MVP, by the Pittsburgh chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Mitch Keller won the Steve Blass Award for best pitcher. Former infielder Michael Chavis was voted the Chuck Tanner Good Guy Award.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: OF Tyler O'Neill (strained right hamstring) has been ruled out for the wild-card series but St. Louis is hopeful he can play in the NLDS round if it advances. . 3B Nolan Arenado (left quadriceps tightness) missed his second straight game but could play Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: Have not decided on a starter for Wednesday, though Marmol said LHP Matthew Liberatore (2-1, 5.46) and RHP Jake Woodford (4-0, 2.33) are possibilities.

Pirates: RHP Johan Oviedo (4-3, 3.12), who was acquired from the Cardinals on Aug. 1, gets the start.