Cody Bellinger, Dodgers beat D-backs 3-1 to return to NLCS
PHOENIX (AP) —
Led by a big Japanese right-hander and a rookie from just down the road, the Los Angeles Dodgers are headed back to the NL Championship Series.
Cody Bellinger homered, drove in two runs and flipped over a dugout railing to steal an out for a dominant Yu Darvish, helping the Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1 Monday night to finish a three-game sweep in their NL Division Series.
“We have a great team,” said Bellinger, a rookie from nearby Chandler, Arizona. “And to come here and sweep them, beat them on their home turf is hard to do and pretty special.”
Darvish, acquired from Texas in a trade deadline deal, struck out seven over five innings to outpitch Arizona’s Zack Greinke and earn the righty his first postseason victory in three tries.
“Yu’s one of the best pitchers in the world,” said Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes, who also homered. “When he’s on his game, it’s tough for any lineup.”
Four Los Angeles relievers combined to preserve a three-hitter. Kenley Jansen worked around a single by David Peralta for a three-out save, striking out Paul Goldschmidt to end it. Only four batters reached base all night for the Diamondbacks, including Daniel Descalso with a homer.
“It was about finishing them off,” Darvish said, “because momentum can go their way.”
The Dodgers, who won 104 games for the best record in baseball and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, face the winner of the Nationals-Cubs series in the NLCS. Los Angeles fell there to World Series champion Chicago last year.
The Dodgers confined most of their celebration to the clubhouse, never making a move for the pool beyond the outfield wall. Los Angeles distressed the locals by taking a dip there after clinching the NL West in 2013, but for this party, police officers on horses waited at the warning track to keep the Dodgers away.
That was fine by the Dodgers. This wasn’t the bash they’re after, anyway.
“Being around this team for long enough, this is where we expect to be,” ace Clayton Kershaw said. “We are fortunate enough to be in a big market, have a big payroll, have a lot of good players, a lot of talent. They did a great job of putting this team together. They expect us to be here and we expect us to be here, too.”
Bellinger hit his homer in the fifth, then made a daring catch to end the bottom of the inning. The rookie first baseman fell into the Dodgers dugout as he snagged Jeff Mathis’ popup, nearly dropping into the lap of manager Dave Roberts.