In game 161 of a long and hard season, the Dodgers erupted for ten runs and eighteen hits to beat the Giants 10-6 and clinch a playoff spot. When the Dodgers had finished celebrating their sixth straight playoff berth, they watched the Rockies fall to the Nationals, bringing them into a tie for first place with only one game left in the season.
The Dodgers paid no attention to the fact that they were facing the son of a Hall of Famer, Dereck Rodríguez. They jumped on the rookie for five runs on six hits over three innings. Joc Pederson got the Dodgers started with a home run to lead off the first inning. He hit a high fastball and it didn’t come down until it landed behind the right-field wall.
The Dodgers continued to provide runs for Clayton Kershaw, who didn’t look like himself, allowing five runs over five innings. Yasiel Puig started the second inning with a solo home run that gave the Dodgers a 2-0 lead. After the Giants scored a run in the second inning and two in the third, Kiké Hernández tied the game with an RBI double. One batter later, Kershaw helped himself, driving in two runs on a single and giving the Dodgers a 5-3 lead.
The momentum, it seemed was on the Dodgers’ side, but the Giants still had some fight in them. They scored a run on an RBI double by Hunter Pence, then tied it on a Joe Panik sacrifice fly. If you don’t remember Joe Panik, he’s the one who homered in games one and two of the season when the Giants beat the Dodgers 1-0 on back-to-back days.
All of this set up for Manny Machado‘s biggest hit as a Dodger. The Dodgers had a man on second with two outs when Machado hit a ball off the brick wall in right field. The ball bounced past the Giants’ right fielder and rolled back toward the infield. When the dust had settled, Machado was at third base with a stand-up RBI triple. The Dodgers had a 6-5 lead.
The Dodgers scored four more runs in the ninth inning, providing a more than enough insurance runs to hang on and win 10-6.
The final game of this 162-game season will still be important for the Dodgers. They are currently in a tie for first place. If the Dodgers can beat the Giants and the Rockies lose to the Nationals, the Dodgers will clinch the division and advance to the NLDS. If both the Dodgers and Rockies win or lose, they will play a tie-breaker game on Monday. If the Dodgers lose and the Rockies win, the Rockies will clinch the division and the Dodgers will go to the wild card game.
In this final game of the season, Rich Hill will replace Walker Buehler on the mound against Andrew Suárez. The fact that the Dodgers are saving Buehler implies that he will pitch in case of a tie-breaker or wild-card game. First pitch, along with first pitch in every other game today, is scheduled for 12:05pm.