LOS ANGELES (AP) — The San Diego Padres’ postseason hopes faded long ago. Blake Snell’s bid to become the seventh player to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues is alive and well.
Snell scattered one hit over six scoreless innings, Juan Soto and Luis Campusano homered and San Diego beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-1 on Wednesday night to win a series against their NL West rivals for the first time in two years.
Snell (14-9), who won the AL Cy Young with Tampa Bay in 2018, allowed just a single to Mookie Betts leading off the game and struck out eight. He’s tied for second in strikeouts with Toronto’s Kevin Gausman with 217. Snell, who leads the majors with 93 walks, issued only one.
“It’s something that you want to attack and try to get. It’s the whole goal, that and World Series. Two things you want,” Snell said about being honored as his league’s top pitcher.
The Dodgers’ Chris Taylor said, “He’s definitely deserving. Tonight was the best he’s looked since we’ve faced him. He was tough.”
Snell lowered his MLB-leading ERA to 2.43, overtaking Justin Steele of the Chicago Cubs who is at 2.49.
“Cy Young dominant, right? That’s what he’s digging for,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “This late in the season to be throwing as hard as he does and all four pitches working like that, he’s a tough customer to deal with.”
The fourth-place Padres took two of three from the first-place Dodgers and finished 4-9 against them this season.
“I’ve loved the season,” Snell said. “It sucks that we’re not where we want to be win-loss-wise, but the one thing that I will say is being here has taught me how to have fun through the good, through the bad and I think it’s helped me as a player a lot.”
Snell took particular satisfaction in beating the Dodgers, who lead the division by 13 games over Arizona.
“That’s why you play, you want to play the best teams,” he said. “It’s the only way you can really tell how good you are. You make mistakes and they’re going to hit it.”
Betts singled and walked — stealing second each time — only to be left stranded. He was the Dodgers’ only base runner through seven innings.
Miguel Rojas singled with two outs in the eighth off Nick Martinez for the Dodgers’ second hit. Kolten Wong homered leading off the ninth against Tom Cosgrove, who has given up just three homers all season.
Soto got the Padres going in the first with his 30th homer and 90th RBI of the season. He sent an 0-2 pitch into the right-field seats with two outs off rookie Ryan Pepiot (2-1).
Soto became the seventh player in major league history with two-plus seasons of 30 or more homers and 100-plus walks before turning 25. He joins such elite players as Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle on the list. Soto’s 156 career homers and 627 walks are the most in MLB history before his age 25 season.
Fernando Tatis Jr. doubled leading off the fourth and Soto singled to set up Campusano, who homered to left on another 0-2 pitch from Pepiot for a 4-0 lead.
Reliever Joe Kelly opened the seventh with back-to-back walks to Garrett Cooper and Trent Grisham, who scored on Tatis’ bases-loaded, broken-bat single with two outs that made it 6-0.
Freddie Freeman, who had four hits including a homer in the Dodgers’ 11-2 win Tuesday, went 0 for 3 with a strikeout.
Making his third start of the season, Pepiot gave up four runs and six hits in six innings. The right-hander struck out five and walked none.
Dodgers: Kelly came off the IL after missing 29 games with right forearm inflammation.
Padres: Off Thursday and then RHP Seth Lugo (6-7, 3.80 ERA) starts Friday in Oakland, where manager Bob Melvin returns for the first time since leaving two years ago, ending an 11-year tenure at the helm in the Bay Area.
Dodgers: After an off-day Thursday, rookie RHP Bobby Miller (9-3, 3.98) starts Friday at Seattle in the opener of a three-game interleague series.