The view from the top is always better.
For the first time in the 2018 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers sit alone in first place in the National League West after defeating the San Diego Padres, 3-2, on Thursday night at Petco Park.
Andrew Toles, Matt Kemp, and Joc Pederson each knocked in a run with an RBI single as the Dodgers scored all three of their runs in the top of the seventh inning.
Los Angeles took two of the first three games of the series before winning the four-game set with San Diego in the finale, catapulting themselves back into first place—where they have won the division each of the last five years—for the first time this season.
"It beats being in second place," joked Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "Outside of that, we're going to focus on the Angels and try and finish these next three games out with wins. We have a long way to go."
First-time All-Star Ross Stripling threw six scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 2.08 on the season.
"It was a mixture of good luck and some big pitches in some big counts," Stripling said of his start which he admitted wasn't as sharp as he has been recently. "When it's the sixth inning and they just hit their eighth lazer right at someone you're like, 'alright I have a rabbit's foot in my pocket or something.' Six zeros and a win, that's what matters."
Stripling (8-2), scattered six hits with one walk and five strikeouts in six shutout innings, in his final start before heading to the Nation's Capital for the Midsummer Classic on Tuesday.
"I'm looking forward to it," Stripling said of the All-Star Game. "I watched Mookie Betts hit a grand slam today, so I'll try not throw that pitch. Now I can get this one behind me and worry about getting my family and some friends to D.C. and get the logistics worked out."
San Diego starter Tyson Ross did not allow a hit through the first five innings before surrendering a one-out double to Joc Pederson in the top of the sixth.
"Tyson's a guy that we know really well," said Roberts of Ross. "The slider was there when he needed it. We just weren't getting good swings. That hit by Joc, staying on the slider was a great piece of hitting."
After back-to-back bad starts, Ross (5-8) was solid on Thursday, allowing two runs on three hits with three walks and five strikeouts in six and 1/3 innings.
Ross has allowed three-or-fewer runs in nine of his 10 career starts agianst the Dodgers.
Each team took turns trading zeroes through first six innings before the Boys in Blue final broke through in the top of the seventh.
Chris Taylor started the scoring with a one-out double and scored three pitches later on an RBI single by Andrew Toles.
"That two-out knock by Tolesy was big," said Roberts. "We had at-bats when we needed to."
After a pitching change, relief pitcher Criag Stammen entered the game for the Padres and promptly hit the first two batters he saw.
Matt Kemp knocked in the next run with a bases loaded single, and Joc Pederson followed with an RBI single of his own, and the Dodgers led 3-0.
San Diego tried to scratch their way back into the game in the bottom half of the seventh after a leadoff walk by Austin Hedges and a single by Franmil Reyes, put two ducks on the pond for Wil Myers.
Myers doubled into the gap in right-center and the Padres cut the lead to 3-2.
Myers has reached base safely in six consecutive games and is batting .417 with six homers, and nine RBI over that span.
Kenley Jansen entered the game for the second consecutive night and recorded his NL-leading 26th save of the season.
"I think it's the team period. If it's not for the team, I'm not going to be in there," said Jansen of leading the league in saves. "My job is useless if we're not winning. We all turned that page and got into that other gear and got back in the playoff race."
The Dodgers lead the series with San Diego 9-3 on the season and have defeated the Friars 94 times over the last eight seasons, the most wins by any MLB team against a single opponent over that span.
The Dodgers will head home where they will host the Angels for a three-game weekend Freeway Series. RHP Felix Pena will start for the Angels opposite rookie Walker Buehler for the Dodgers. First pitch is at 7:10PM PST.
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