LOS ANGELES, CA-All it took was two swings of the bat and the Los Angeles Dodgers claimed their sixth straight National League West division title at home in the confines of Chavez Ravine at Dodger Stadium. The win by the Dodgers is historic in that they are the first team to win that many consecutive NL West division championships.
The only other ballclub to run a streak like that was the New York Yankees when they went on their American League East division-winning tear from 1998 to 2006. For the Dodgers, manager Dave Roberts has played a big part in that equation. Roberts guided the Dodgers to the World Series last year and is the only manager in the franchise’s history to win three straight division titles in his first three seasons at the helm of the team.
A good dose of a player talent pool that includes Clayton Kershaw, Yasiel Puig, Cody Bellinger, Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, Matt Kemp, and Justin Turner has played a huge part in that success.
It was Bellinger and Max Muncy that shared in the dramatics department to lead the Dodgers. And they did it with two swings. Bellinger got the party started when he went yard with his 25th jack of the year in the fourth inning, driving home Muncy to make the score 2-0. Muncy (35) made his own noise with his bat an inning later, hammering a full-count pitch into the bleachers.
That would be all the leverage that pitcher Walker Buehler needed to do his job. It took a little more than two swings by Bellinger and Muncy for the Dodgers to do away with the persistent and challenging Colorado Rockies in their 5-2 victory.
The Rockies were persistent in not going down without a fight, even though they entered the ninth inning down 5-0, and just three outs from being forced to play the Chicago Cubs in a wildcard game. That turned out to be a reality for Colorado, but the Rockies was not going away quietly in that good night without putting up some form of resistance.
As the media and Dodger fans embraced the rush to victory, the Rockies literally came out swinging in the top of the ninth inning, scoring twice in the form of separate home runs by Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story. That kept things a bit interesting, but the Dodgers would eventually prevail.
By winning game No. 163, the Dodgers (92-71) now have the luxury of hosting and playing the Atlanta Braves in the best-of-five National League Division Series (NLDS), and avoid having to square off against the Milwaukee Brewers, the NL’s No. 1 seed. They can thank Buehler, who pitched lights out against the Rockies, holding Colorado to just one hit in 6 and 2/3 innings.
While Buehler was working his magic on the mound, Bellinger and Muncy drove German Marquez out of the ballgame with their two-run home run shots in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively. The Dodgers picked up their final run when Buehler drove home Kike Hernadez with an RBI single to right field in the sixth inning.