In a season full of firsts and record-breaking moments, for Cody Bellinger added another to his list Monday night as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 3 to sweep them out of the National League Division Series.
Bellinger was responsible for driving in two of the Dodgers’ three runs in the game. His RBI groundout in the first inning provided them with a 1-0 lead. Then in the fifth inning, Bellinger took an off-speed pitch from Zack Greinke and went the other way for a go-ahead home run.
“I was just glad it gave us the lead,” Bellinger said. “Gave us some cushion for Yu, who was pitching really well tonight. Like I said, to give this team the cushion is the biggest thing for me.”
The home run was Bellinger’s first in the playoffs. He became the youngest player in franchise history to hit a homer in postseason history at 22 years, 88 days old.
The Dodgers postseason record was previously held by Corey Seager (22 years, 163 days old), when he hit a home run against the Washington Nationals in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS. Seager hit a second home run in Game 2 of that series.
Bellinger finished this year’s NLDS a pedestrian 3-for-14 with three runs scored, the one home run, two RBI, one walk and six strikeouts. He went hitless and struck out four times in five at-bats during Game 2.
“The whole first two games they were throwing away, pitching to my aggressiveness,” Bellinger said. “I was running for too much.” An in-game conversation with Dodgers manager Dave Roberts preempted the key home run off Greinke.
“Dave called me over and said, ‘Take the pressure off yourself. Stay within yourself.’ I just kind of sat on a pitch and tried to put the barrel on it.”
Like Seager, Bellinger is expected to be named the NL Rookie of the Year. He’s already been named a finalist for the 2017 Hank Aaron Award and the Players Choice NL Outstanding Rookie Award.