LOS ANGELES — All it took was two Dereck Rodriguez changeups to wake the Los Angeles Dodgers’ lineup from its weekend slumber.
Matt Beaty and Corey Seager homered Sunday, each of them belting an off-speed pitch Rodriguez left over the plate. It was all the offense Los Angeles would need in a 5-0 win at Dodger Stadium that trimmed its magic number for a postseason berth to two.
The Dodgers entered Sunday’s series finale in an offensive funk. The team was shut out Saturday and hadn’t recorded multiple runs in an inning since Wednesday. When Beaty came to the plate in the fourth inning Sunday, the Dodgers had gone seven frames, going back to Saturday’s loss, without a hit.
Two pitches into his at-bat, however, Beaty gave the Dodgers the lead.
With Cody Bellinger having drawn a two-out walk in front of him, Beaty looked at a first-pitch changeup from Rodriguez that caught the bottom of the zone. Rodriguez tried to slip another changeup past Beaty with the next pitch, but left it elevated. Beaty clobbered it into the right-field bullpen, bringing a half-asleep announced crowd of 52,310 to life with a two-run home run.
Seager provides a similar jolt in the fifth. In the previous at-bat, Joc Pederson legged out an infield single to keep the inning alive. With runners on the corners, Seager swung through Rodriguez’s first-pitch changeup. He didn’t miss when Rodriguez challenged him with a second, launching a three-run homer to straightaway center.
The Giants had no answer. After Dodgers starter Julio Urias labored through the opening two innings, tossing 43 pitches and working around three base hits, Los Angeles’ bullpen breezed through the final seven innings.
Converted starter Kenta Maeda followed Urias and spun four dominant innings, allowing one hit while striking out six. Casey Sadler was perfect in the seventh. Yimi Garcia and Adam Kolarek combined for a scoreless eighth. Josh Sborz worked a stress-free ninth.
Maeda’s long outing was expected. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said pregame that it’d be “ideal” if the right-hander could go three or four innings. His usage might change, however, as the postseason nears. The Dodgers can clinch the National League West as soon as Tuesday, needing two wins, two Arizona Diamondbacks losses, or one of each.
“In the postseason, Kenta’s value is to be available every game,” Roberts said. “A long guy is definitely not Kenta. Kenta (will) pitch leverage innings in the postseason, very important innings.”
But as the Dodgers rolled, evading what would have been their first sweep in a series of three or more games since April, there were no high-leverage innings to be had. Once Beaty and Seager went deep, the Dodgers coasted to their 15th shutout of the season.
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