The San Diego Padres (45-32) completed a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers (44-30) for the first time in eight years Wednesday night, nearly eliminating the gap between the two rivals in the highly competitive NL West.

The three-team division race is led by the San Francisco Giants (48-26), who sit four games ahead of the Dodgers. San Diego pulled within a half-game of Los Angeles for second-place. The two sit atop the NL wild-card standings, currently on track to meet in the single-game elimination round.

The Padres never trailed at any point in the three games at Petco Park. Yu Darvish led San Diego to a victory over Julio Urias and Los Angeles in the series opener. Blake Snell outdueled Clayton Kershaw in the second matchup. Joe Musgrove matched Trevor Bauer through six innings in the third game, and an eighth inning rally helped extend the Padres’ winning streak to seven games.

 

 

It wasn’t long ago that the Padres were another bad stretch of games away from falling out of the NL West race. On June 17, San Diego was six games out of first place and four games behind second-place Los Angeles.

The Padres have pitched to a 2.71 ERA over the last week, and Manny Machado has hit three home runs with a 1.288 OPS. San Diego leads MLB in ERA. Fernando Tatis Jr. ranks first in the NL with 22 home runs and a 1.022 OPS.

The defending World Series champion Dodgers remain the odds-on favorites to win the division for a ninth straight year. Los Angeles has a top-four offense and defense in all of baseball. The Dodgers have outscored their opponents by 96 runs over the course of the season.

A poor record in recent series with their rivals has prevented the Dodgers from taking over first place. Los Angeles has lost seven of its last eight games against San Diego. The Giants took three out four games when they last faced the Dodgers.

San Francisco has yet to come back to earth, owning MLB’s best record with the midway point of the 2021 season on the horizon. The Giants have won three straight games and eight of their last nine contests. San Francisco has a 20-11 division record and just one three-game losing streak this season. 

Kevin Gausman has been outstanding with a 1.49 ERA in 15 starts for the Giants. Anthony DeSclafani hasn’t cooled off, posting a 2.77 ERA in 15 starts.

The Giants will visit the Dodgers for a two-game series on June 28-29.

The fourth-place Colorado Rockies (31-44) are well out of the NL West race, trailing the Padres by 13 games. The Arizona Diamondbacks (21-55) are in last place with the worst record in MLB.

San Diego Padres pitcher Joe Musgrove, centre, is congratulated by his teammates after pitching a no-hitter against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas San Diego Padres pitcher Joe Musgrove, centre, is congratulated by his teammates after pitching a no-hitter against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / RONALD MARTINEZ