The Los Angeles Dodgers suffered a third straight loss on Sunday and dropped their third consecutive series, but Cody Bellinger made a bit of history with his home run in the ninth inning.
Bellinger’s solo blast off San Diego Padres closer Brad Hand was his 36th homer, which broke Mike Piazza’s Dodgers rookie record for most home runs in a single season. Bellinger reached the milestone in 106 games, while Piazza slugged his 35 homers in 149 games.
The home run was Bellinger’s second in his last two games and fifth overall at Petco Park. The Dodgers’ young slugger hit his first career grand slam in the Padres’ home stadium.
Prior to the surge over the weekend, Bellinger last homered on Aug. 12, also against the Padres, but at Dodger Stadium. The drought was prolonged by a stint on the disabled list due to a sprained ankle.
Now in possession of the Dodgers’ rookie record, Bellinger is closing in on the National League mark for first-year players.
Wally Berger (1930) and Frank Robinson (1956) are tied for the NL rookie record with 38 home runs, while Albert Pujols (2001) is second with 37. Mark McGwire holds the MLB rookie record with 49 home runs hit during the 1987 season.
In addition to setting the Dodgers rookie mark, Bellinger leads all left-handed batters with 11 home runs this season off southpaw pitching. He’s on pace to become the organization’s player with at least 40 home runs in a single season since Adrian Beltre hit 48 in 2004.
Matt Kemp hit 39 during his MVP-caliber 2011 campaign. Shawn Green holds the all-time franchise record with the 49 home runs he hit in 2001.