SAN DIEGO – Brandon Drury hit a go-ahead, two-run single during a five-run rally in the fifth inning and the San Diego Padres stunned Aaron Nola and the Philadelphia Phillies 8-5 on Wednesday to tie their all-wild card NL Championship Series at one game apiece.
The outburst started with Padres catcher Austin Nola hitting an RBI single off his younger brother that brought the sellout, towel-twirling crowd of 44,607 at Petco Park to life. Three innings earlier, the Phillies took a 4-0 lead with a rally that included bloop hits, a sun-aided double on a gorgeous, 92-degree afternoon and some shoddy Padres defense.
But just as they did Saturday night in eliminating the 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers, the Padres were spurred by the bottom of their lineup in a big comeback.
“We both knew we were going to do everything we can to help our team,” said Austin Nola, the No. 9 batter for San Diego. “That was kind of understood – the magnitude of the game, the magnitude of the situation, there was not going to be anything given up on both sides.”
The series shifts to Philadelphia for three games beginning Friday night. The Phillies, trying to reach their first World Series since 2009, outscored Atlanta 17-4 in two home Division Series games last weekend to eliminate the defending World Series champion Braves.
Aaron Nola said facing his brother in the NLCS was “the same as what it was the first time we played each other. We are trying to win, they are trying to win, that is what it comes down to.
“I want to beat him. I want to go the next round and let him go home.”
Blake Snell got the win and Josh Hader the save after striking out the side in the ninth to send the crowd into a frenzy. Aaron Nola, in the playoffs for the first time and off to a brilliant start before Wednesday, took the loss.
The Padres, playing in their first NLCS since 1998, appeared to be in deep trouble after Snell threw 37 pitches in the Phillies’ four-run second.
San Diego began its comeback with homers on consecutive pitches by Drury and Bell to open the bottom of the inning. Drury lined a shot to left field and Bell lifted a fly ball deep to right that stayed just fair.
Bell and Juan Soto, who had an RBI double in the fifth, were obtained in a blockbuster trade with Washington on Aug. 2, the same day the Padres got Drury from Cincinnati.
When Austin Nola grounded out in the second inning, it was the first pitcher-batter matchup between siblings in postseason history.
Big brother came up again in the fifth with one out and Kim Ha-seong on first base. Aaron Nola threw over several times before Austin singled to center to bring in the speedy Kim, whose helmet flew off between second and third before he scored with a headfirst slide.
“It’s a typical plate appearance vs. my brother. I’m 0-2,” Austin Nola said. “I might as well just walk up there and tell him to put two strikes on me because that’s what it feels like. I just battle. I know the kind of pitcher he is. He’s not going to give in. I’m just trying to hit something hard through the middle and good things happen.”
Jake Cronenworth was hit by a pitch to load the bases. With fans on their feet and waving yellow rally towels, Drury singled to put the Padres ahead. Bell capped the really with a single to right. The Padres sent 11 batters to the plate, collecting six hits, a walk and a hit batter.
Aaron Nola hadn’t allowed an earned run in picking up a win in each of the first two playoff rounds.
Snell needed only six pitches to get through a 1-2-3 first but wasn’t as lucky in the second.
Harper and Nick Castellanos opened the inning with bloop singles before Alec Bohm hit a sharp single to right to bring in Harper. After Jean Segura struck out, Soto, the right fielder, lost Matt Vierling‘s fly ball in the sun and it dropped behind him for an RBI double.
Edmundo Sosa golfed an RBI single that landed just in front of Profar in left field. Schwarber hit a weak grounder to first that Drury bobbled before stepping on the bag as Vierling scored.
Snell allowed four runs and five hits in five innings. He struck out six and walked one.
Aaron Nola was tagged for six runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out six and walked none.
NOLA VS. NOLA
On June 24, Austin Nola hit an RBI single off his brother in a 1-0 Padres victory that was their only win in a four-game series against the Phillies.
Padres RHP Joe Musgrove (10-7, 2.93 ERA regular season; 1-0, 1.38 postseason) and Phillies LHP Ranger Suarez (10-7, 3.65 ERA regular season; 0-0, 2.70 postseason) are scheduled to start in Game 3 on Friday night in Philadelphia.