MONTERREY, Mexico -- The Padres wasted no time putting Friday's Dodgers no-hitter in their rearview mirror. With their first two swings on Saturday, they held a two-run lead.But the night's biggest hack came in the sixth, courtesy of newly promoted Padres catcher Raffy Lopez. With San Diego trailing by one,
MONTERREY, Mexico -- The Padres wasted no time putting Friday's Dodgers no-hitter in their rearview mirror. With their first two swings on Saturday, they held a two-run lead.
But the night's biggest hack came in the sixth, courtesy of newly promoted Padres catcher Raffy Lopez. With San Diego trailing by one, Lopez sent a booming two-run home run into the right-field bullpen. The Padres bullpen did the rest, icing a 7-4 victory with 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball to even the Mexico Series at the Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey.
"That home run was awesome," said Lopez, who picked up his first two Padres hits on Saturday night. "Right off the bat, I had an idea it was going. The situation in the game, I just wanted to perform, not only for myself but for my teammates and for the Padres."
Lopez's dinger was the exclamation point on a bounceback performance for the offense. Travis Jankowski led off the game with a triple, and Eric Hosmer followed with a line-drive two-run shot.
"You come off a game like yesterday, you want to get on the board as quickly as possible," said Padres manager Andy Green. "You can't get on the board much quicker than that."
Still, the Padres trailed entering the bottom of the sixth, after further struggles from righty starter Bryan Mitchell. Christian Villanueva led off the frame with a walk before right-hander Josh Fields attempted to come up and in with a fastball. Lopez demolished it. The ball landed in the glove of righty reliever Craig Stammen, who was warming up.
"I went from pitching down one to pitching up one, just like that," Stammen said.
Two innings later, after Franchy Cordero's leadoff walk, Lopez's single helped spark a two-run rally. He advanced to third on Chase Headley's pinch-hit RBI single and scored on Carlos Asuaje's one-out single. Asuaje's hit snapped his personal 0-for-20 skid.
The offensive outburst made up for another rough outing from Mitchell. He allowed two runs in the second -- including a Matt Kemp solo homer -- and another in the third. Mitchell, among the Major League leaders in walks, has struggled with his control for the past month, and manager Andy Green wasn't particularly tolerant of those struggles on Saturday evening.
Green yanked Mitchell after just 2 1/3 innings and 55 pitches, only 28 of them for strikes. Mitchell's status in the rotation remains tenuous, but his bullpen bailed him out in a big way on Saturday night.
Robbie Erlin worked 2 2/3 innings of scoreless ball, escaping a fifth-inning jam in which he allowed a leadoff double. Adam Cimber gave up a run in the sixth, but Kirby Yates put out the fire of a bases-loaded situation by getting Alex Verdugo to bounce to short.
Stammen pitched scoreless ball in the seventh and eighth, before Brad Hand struck out the side in the ninth.
"We treated today kind of like a Game 7, it felt like," Stammen said. "The starter came out early, and it's: All hands on deck, let's try to win this game after a tough loss last night."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Doubled up: Erlin entered a dicey situation in the top of the third with a run already home and Kemp on first base. He got Joc Pederson to pop to shallow left, where Jose Pirela made a running catch, then threw on the run to double Kemp off of first base.
Split-second decision: With men on the corners and one out in the fourth, Dodgers left fielder Verdugo made a brilliant sliding catch in foul territory on Freddy Galvis' popup. He might have been better served to let the ball drop. Cordero, on third base at the time, raced home with the tying run.
Lopez's homer was the fifth of his career. The 30-year-old journeyman hit four with Toronto last season. Among his five home runs, Lopez has now gone deep in three different countries.
HE SAID IT
"He's so eager to do something great, because this means so much to him. He's probably over-amped, over-aggressive. If he just lets the game come to him tomorrow, he's going to have a ton of success." -- Green, on the Mexican-born Villanueva, who remains hitless in the Mexico Series
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Dodgers took the lead in the top of the sixth when Yates plunked Chris Taylor in the left hand. The Padres challenged the ruling, arguing that the baseball hit the knob of the bat and not Taylor. It sure ricocheted as though it had struck wood. But replays were inconclusive, and the call stood.
Padres No. 12 prospect Eric Lauer faces the Dodgers in the Mexico Series finale with first pitch set for 1:10 p.m. PT on Sunday. Los Angeles counters with Thomas Stripling. Lauer will be making his third big league start, looking to rebound from a couple rough outings. Meanwhile, shortstop prospect Javy Guerra, called up Friday, is expected to make his first start for the Padres.
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.