LOS ANGELES — Days after the Padres outbid the Dodgers for Juan Soto, San Diego rolled into Chavez Rain with a great new lineup and big plans to raise a few questions about Los Angeles’ dominance.
The Padres head home after a sobering weekend knowing the Dodgers still have all the answers.
Cody Bellinger hit two homers, Tyler Anderson allowed two hits over seven sparkling innings, and Los Angeles ended the rebuilding Padres’ impressive run with a 4-0 victory on Sunday.
Freddie Freeman had two RBI singles in the major league-leading Dodgers’ eighth straight win and their 30th in 35 games. LA fans chanted “Sweep! Sweep!” as three days of near-total dominance ended with Soto relegating Manny Machado to second.
“It definitely feels good,” Bellinger said after his second multi-homer game against San Diego this season. “That being said, they’ve gotten better. Their lineup got better. We went in and played our game. We played the game the right way.”
The Dodgers’ sweep was a strong response to San Diego’s bold moves at the deadline to acquire Soto, Josh Bell and Brandon Drury. After largely hanging on at the deadline, Los Angeles coolly opened up a massive 15 1/2-game lead in the NL West by outscoring the second-place Padres a combined 20-4 in three wins at Dodger Stadium.
“We just played some really good baseball,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Those guys came out in the first inning (Friday) and really taxed (Tony) Gonsolin, and from that point on I thought we controlled the whole series.”
All weekend, the Dodgers maintained they weren’t sending any messages to a rival that recently upped the ante in an effort to unseat them.
“No, that wasn’t the intention,” Anderson insisted. “Our plan is to go out and try to win every day. It doesn’t matter if their uniform is brown and yellow or if it’s green or whatever.”
Some messages don’t need to be sent to be received: The Padres know they have a ways to go after falling to 1-4 with four straight losses since their new players arrived Wednesday, culminating in just their second loss since May 18.
“They swept us here,” San Diego manager Bob Melvin said. “We didn’t expect this to come and we have to do better. Any way you slice it, it’s not what we were looking for. We have to go home, get a few good games and get going.”
The team, sometimes known as Slam Diego, also failed to hit the ground running during their four-game skid and managed just two hits in the series finale. Los Angeles has won 17 of its last 19 meetings with the Padres.
“We made those trades, had a really good first game and then we couldn’t follow it up,” Melvin said. “You can have an All-Star lineup and if you don’t hit, it’s not going to look good and it’s not going to be exciting. … Everyone has a hard time with them, but we have the type of squad that should give them a better run for their money than we did in this series.”
Anderson (13-1) added to his breakout All-Star season by going at least seven innings for the sixth time. Yu Darvish (10-5) was nearly as good for the Padres, yielding seven hits over six solid innings.
But Bellinger connected in the fourth and added a solo shot in the seventh while going 3 for 3 in his 15th career multi-homer game. Max Muncy and Mookie Betts each had two hits for the Dodgers, who had 33 hits in the series.
Freeman walked Betts in the third and plated Trea Turner in the seventh after Bellinger’s 15th homer of the season.
JUAN AND FOUR
Soto went 0 for 2 with two walks, going hitless for the first time since joining San Diego in one of the biggest trades in baseball history. Soto was having fun while wearing a microphone for the ESPN broadcast early in the game, but his frustration was evident when he grounded into a double play to end the sixth.
I HAVE TO WIN IT
The Dodgers’ pitching staff allowed just one earned run in the three-game series. LA has allowed a major league-low 345 runs this season.
Padres: SS Fernando Tatis Jr. got the first game of his long injury rehab this weekend with Double-A San Antonio. There is still no official timetable for his return from wrist surgery in March.
Dodgers: RHP Yancey Almonte went on the injured list with right elbow tightness after reporting soreness on a catch play. On Monday, they will do an MRI, but he does not believe it is a serious injury. LA called up RHP Andre Jackson. … 3B Justin Turner (abdominal strain) is on schedule to return Tuesday, Roberts said. … Dodgers relievers Blake Treinen and Brusdar Graterol will participate in another simulated game Tuesday. If all goes well, they’ll go on minor league rehab assignments.
Padres: Open a four-game home series against NL West rival San Francisco on Monday. Blake Snell (4-5, 4.16 ERA) takes the mound.
Dodgers: After an off day that included the return of Clayton Kershaw’s charity ping-pong event, Julio Urias (11-6, 2.57 ERA) takes the mound Tuesday to open a two-game interleague series against Minnesota.