Mookie Betts hit a three-run homer, Cody Bellinger added a two-run double and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-0 on Monday night behind Tyler Anderson, becoming the first major league team to clinch a playoff spot this season.
For real, this time.
The Dodgers thought they had secured a playoff berth Sunday after beating the Padres, celebrating with a postgame toast and distributing caps with the postseason logo on them. But then MLB acknowledged Monday it had made a mathematical mistake.
This time, there shouldn’t be any confusion. The Dodgers won their 97th game of the season and are 54 games over .500.
Anderson (15-3) and Diamondbacks rookie Ryne Nelson engaged in an impressive pitching duel for the first six innings.
The Dodgers broke through against the D-backs’ bullpen in the seventh, loading the bases with no outs. Trayce Thompson snapped the scoreless tie with a sacrifice fly off Kevin Ginkel and then Bellinger pushed the Dodgers ahead 3-0 with a double into the right-center gap.
It was a good moment for Bellinger, who was the 2019 NL MVP but hasn’t come close to reaching that level of production since. He came into the game with a .200 batting average, 17 homers and 55 RBIs.
Betts crushed his three-run shot to left in the ninth, giving the Dodgers a six-run cushion. It was his 34th homer of the season.
Anderson went seven innings, giving up five hits, walking two and striking out two.
Nelson threw six shutout innings in his second MLB start, extending his scoreless streak to 13 innings since he was called up to the big leagues last week.
The 24-year-old threw seven shutout innings against the Padres in his debut on Sept. 5.
Nelson didn’t have much trouble with the Dodgers’ potent lineup, giving up just two hits and two walks while striking out six. He allowed a two-out triple to Trea Turner in the sixth and then intentionally walked Freddie Freeman, but retired Will Smith on a liner to center that ended the inning.
Betts made a nice play for the Dodgers while getting a rare start at second base.
Speedy D-backs outfielder Alex Thomas hit a grounder that deflected off Anderson’s glove, which made Betts readjust his path as he charged in to field the ball. Betts then flipped the ball with his glove hand to Freeman, beating Thomas by a split second.
Betts is usually the team’s right fielder but made his fifth start of the season at second.
Diamondbacks: Called up OF Jordan Luplow from Triple-A Reno. Designated INF Wilmer Difo for assignment.
Dodgers: Manager Dave Roberts told reporters that INF Gavin Lux (neck) continues to improve, was doing “all baseball activities” and could be put on the active roster this weekend. … Tony Gonsolin (right forearm strain) threw a bullpen Sunday and Roberts said the All-Star right-hander came out feeling “OK.” Roberts is still confident Gonsolin can return to the rotation by the end of the season but acknowledged that time is running short.
The teams play again on Tuesday. Arizona sends RHP Merrill Kelly (12-5, 2.94 ERA) to the mound against LHP Clayton Kershaw (7-3, 2.62).