Los Angeles Dodgers Cody Bellinger (35) and Max Muncy celebrate after defeating the San Diego Padres 7-5 in a game at PETCO Park in San Diego / © GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP
AJ Pollock and Chris Taylor hit solo home runs Wednesday as the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Diego Padres 7-5 to become the first team to clinch a spot in MLB's expanded playoffs.
The win, in the rubber match of a three-game series, increased the 35-15 Dodgers' won-loss lead on the Padres to 3 1/2 games in the National League West standings.
The Dodgers scored runs against five of the nine San Diego pitchers. Left-handed reliever Adam Kolarek earned the win by pitching two-thirds scoreless innings at PETCO stadium in San Diego.
Right-hander Dustin May entered the game in the third inning and held the Padres to three runs on three hits over 5 1/3 innings.
The Dodgers took the lead for good in the third when Max Muncy belted a tie-breaking RBI double off Joey Lucchesi and Will Smith followed with a single to drive in another run and made it 3-1. Smith finished with three RBIs.
Los Angeles broke it open with three runs in the fifth. Taylor scored the Dodgers' final run with a homer off Garrett Richards to lead off the sixth, making it 7-1.