The San Diego Padres are headed to their first National League Championship Series since 1998. Saturday night, the Padres delivered the knockout blow to the Los Angeles Dodgers, finishing off their division rival in game four of the National League Division Series, 5-3.
Down 3-0 in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Padres put together a five-run rally, capped by a two-run RBI single from Jake Cronenworth to take a 5-3 lead.
Bob Melvin’s bullpen would not allow a batter to reach base from that point on, as Robert Suarez pitched a clean eighth inning and Josh Hader struck out the side in the ninth in the pouring rain.
The Padres have had their fair share of struggles against the Dodgers, who have won the National League West nine times over the last ten years. The Dodgers swept the Padres out of the 2020 NLDS. In 2022, the Dodgers took 14 of 19 games from the Padres. But none of that mattered this week.
Saturday night, the Padres finally broke through, slaying the dragon and ending the Dodgers’ season.
The Padres will face the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLCS. The Phillies defeated the Braves earlier Saturday, clinching their first NLCS appearance since 2010.
Six National League teams entered the postseason a little over a week ago. Now, just the National League’s second and third wild card teams remain: the number five seed and the number six seed, with a trip to the World Series on the line.
The NLCS begins Tuesday in San Diego.