Dodgers beat Padres, clinch NL home-field advantage
LOS ANGELES -- Home is sweet again for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers won their 56th home game of the season Tuesday, setting a Los Angeles-era franchise record and wrapping up home-field advantage for the National League postseason with a 9-2 pasting of the San Diego Padres.
More important, the memories of the nine straight home losses during their recent 1-16 slide have been put aside. The Dodgers have won four of their past five at home and have dropped 18 runs on the Padres in the past two games. They scored just 15 runs in the nine consecutive home losses.
Yasmani Grandal and Corey Seager hit three-run home runs, veteran Adrian Gonzalez had a double and home run, and Alex Wood worked around trouble for six innings.
The Dodgers (101-57) hold a 2 1/2-game edge on the American League-leading Cleveland Indians for home field should both teams get to the World Series.
“Home field is very significant,” Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said. “We’ve clearly turned things around. It’s great to start the postseason knowing we have home-field advantage.”
Wood said after posting his 16th win, “It’s pretty cool to set a record for home wins, and it’s real important to be able to start series at home. You look at the top teams, and they’re all playing hard for home field. They all have great records at home, too.”
Wood (16-3) allowed eight hits in six innings but just two runs, on solo fifth-inning home runs by Christian Villaneuva and Hunter Renfroe. He walked one, intentionally, and had only one strikeout. Wood has allowed two runs or fewer in 17 of his 25 starts this season.
Wood’s effort extended a fine streak of starts by the Dodgers’ rotation. In the past 14 games, Los Angeles starters have allowed just 18 runs with 79 strikeouts while posting a 1.77 ERA.
Grandal’s fifth-inning blast, his 22nd homer of the year, came after tiring Padres starter Dinelson Lamet walked two with two outs. The home run turned a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead.
Lamet (7-8), who had an excellent effort against the Dodgers in San Diego earlier this month, struck out seven but walked six in his five innings. He yielded four runs on four hits.
“Six walks in five innings, it was kind of his undoing today, not the hanging slider to Grandal,” Padres manager Andy Green said. “His stuff is so good. Seven punchouts in five innings. It’s really good stuff. He’s got to keep from giving free passes if he’s going to be a really successful big league pitcher.”
The Dodgers added a run on Seager’s RBI single in the sixth and four in the seventh on a solo home run by Gonzalez and three-run shot by Seager.
Los Angeles’ Cody Bellinger saved a run in the seventh. Making just his third major league start in center field, he threw an on-the-fly dart to catcher Grandal to put out Wil Myers trying to score from second on a two-out single by Renfroe.
Seager went deep following a mild slump since returning from missing several games with a strained elbow.
“Those swings look like the way Corey was swinging all season,” Roberts said. “Sometimes it just takes one swing to get back on track.”
Seager said, “The last two games have been more like the way we’ve been most of the season. The elbow hasn’t had anything to do with my hitting. I think having so much time off ... it took me awhile to find my swing again.”
The Padres stranded six runners in the first four innings but used two fifth-inning home runs to take a 2-1 lead. Villaneuva hit a fly down the right field line, and a fan tried to catch it before it spilled back onto the field. A review ruled it a home run on fan interference.
Two batters later, Renfroe hit a low line drive over the center field fence for his 25th home run and a 2-1 Padres lead. With the blast, Renfroe broke San Diego’s single-season record for home runs by a rookie. It was previously held by Nate Colbert, who hit 24 in the Padres’ inaugural season in 1969.
NOTES: Dodgers RF Yasiel Puig returned to the lineup after being benched the previous two games because of disciplinary issues. He doubled in the fourth and finished 1-for-3 with a walk. ... Dodgers 3B Justin Turner started after missing four games with flu-like symptoms and a jammed right thumb. He walked, singled and made a nice defensive play on a line drive in the third. ... Padres CF Manny Margot singled in the third to extend his streak of reaching base to nine games. He is hitting .333 during the streak. ... Padres RF Hunter Renfroe extended his hitting streak to seven. He is batting .333 (23-for-69) with six home runs and 15 RBIs this season against the Dodgers. ... Padres 2B Yangervis Solarte doubled to extend his hitting streak to seven games.