Tatis, Machado can’t quite do enough to lift Padres past Dodgers

Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. were back together, two All-Stars side by side on the left side of the infield.

In Tatis’ first game at shortstop since the end of July, the pair put together the kind of game Saturday at Dodger Stadium that has most often been an ingredient for success by the Padres.

It wasn’t enough on this night, because hardly anyone else on the team hit and because of eight balls Chris Paddack threw to two batters who posed little threat and one pitch Craig Stammen served up to Mookie Betts.

Betts hit a three-run homer in the fifth inning that was the ultimate difference in a 5-4 Dodgers victory.

The Padres scored twice in the eighth inning — on RBI singles by Machado and Tatis — to close to within a run.

Tatis also hit a two-run homer that tied the game 2-2 in the fourth inning. Machado had preceded that blast with a single. They had three hits apiece.

Yet the Padres lost for just the second time in 14 games in which the pair had multiple hits.

“The way Manny and Tati swung the bats for us, that was encouraging,” manager Jayce Tingler said. “Gotta hope some of that becomes contagious up and down the order.”

The rest of the Padres combined for two hits, doubles by Eric Hosmer (with one out in the fourth) and Tommy Pham (leading off the seventh).

Machado was also stranded after a leadoff double in the sixth. Tatis, who moved to third on Hosmer’s groundout in the eighth, was left there when Wil Myers and Pham struck out against Joe Kelly.

Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth to earn his second save in two nights.

“What’s going to be important is, up and down the lineup, getting some guys going,” Tingler said. “It doesn’t have to be necessarily getting two, three, four hits a night, but just the importance of having good at-bats and being able to advance move runners get them in.”

Moreover, at least on Saturday against Cy Young contender Walker Buehler (who went seven innings) and three members of one of the major leagues’ top bullpens, Paddack spoiled what otherwise would have been a decent outing by walking the two least-dangerous batters in the Dodgers lineup — Cody Bellinger, who is hitless in September, and Buehler.

“I beat myself up over the last hour-and-a-half or so,” Paddack said after the game. “You look at the runs that came across, it was walks. … Those are situations that just can’t happen.”

Paddack entered the game having posted a 2.91 ERA in his previous four starts, and the Padres had won his past five starts.

He began Saturday strong.

Betts lined an 0-2 fastball into left field to lead off the bottom of the first inning. He was thrown out at the end of Max Muncy’s at-bat when he took off for second base, Muncy swung over a change-up and catcher Victor Caratini threw from his knees in time for Tatis to make a swiping tag on Betts’ left arm.

Muncy was the first of five consecutive Dodgers that Paddack retired before walking Bellinger to start the bottom of the third inning. It was Bellinger’s second time on base in 25 plate appearances this month.

Bellinger scored from first base when the next batter, Gavin Lux, lined a double to the left-field corner that Pham overran by two steps. That was enough for Bellinger to beat Tatis’ relay to Caratini.

Two sacrifices — a bunt by Buehler and a fly ball by Betts — got Lux home to make it 2-0.

The Padres entered Saturday with the worst offense in the majors over the previous month. A 3-0 loss here Friday was the second time the Padres had been shut out in three games and the fifth time they had gone scoreless in their past 25 games.

In that span, they have come back from any size deficit at any point in a game to win just twice.

They almost did Saturday because of two players.

Tatis’ National League-leading 38th home run tied the game a half-inning after the Dodgers went ahead.

It was his eighth homer against L.A., the most any Padres player has hit against the Dodgers in a single season. Tatis had been tied with Nate Colbert (1970) and Dave Winfield (1977).

He had not been bad at the plate while playing the outfield the past 21 games. But his .878 OPS in that span was pedestrian compared with the 1.024 it was before that, and the dip allowed Bryce Harper and others into the MVP conversation.

“It’s just been a rough month for me, for the team,” Tatis said. “We’ve just got to find a way to get out of it.”

He was playing shortstop in place of the player who was playing the position in place of him. Jake Cronenworth, who moved from second base when Tatis went on the injured list July 30 and stayed there when the Padres decided to try to protect Tatis’ frequently dislocating shoulder by moving him to the outfield. Cronenworth suffered a fracture to his left ring finger when he was hit by a pitch on Friday.

Tatis singled in his first at-bat and, after going 3-for-4 Saturday, is batting .500 (13-for-26) at Dodger Stadium this season.

The Padres’ overall fortunes against L.A. this season have somewhat mirrored their fortunes in the greater sense.

The Padres won seven of the first 10 meetings. But Saturday was their fifth straight loss to the Dodgers, who now lead season series 8-7.

Shortly after sweeping the Dodgers in late June, the Padres were by that month’s end up 6½ games in the race for the NL’s second wild-card spot.

The Padres have gone 25-34 since July 1. A loss by the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday kept the two teams in a tie for that final playoff spot.

“It’s frustrating,” Tingler said. “Now, especially this time of year, where we’re at, super frustrating.”

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