While it was mathematically possible for the Los Angeles Dodgers to clinch the National League West on Saturday night, they could not do so without help from the San Diego Padres.
By the time the Dodgers and Colorado Rockies got underway at Dodger Stadium, the San Francisco Giants held a 3-0 lead at Petco Park. No matter, Clayton Kershaw went to work against a team he’s enjoyed plenty of success against in his career.
The left-handed ace threw 16 pitches in the first, ending the inning with a strikeout of Nolan Arenado on a high fastball.
Chad Bettis worked around a Justin Turner two-out single in the bottom of the first. After Kershaw ended another clean inning with a strikeout, the Dodgers went to work on Bettis.
Yasmani Grandal led off with a base hit to right field, Josh Reddick walked, and Howie Kendrick singled to load the bases with nobody out. Joc Pederson broke the scoreless tie with a two-run single into right field.
After Chase Utley drew a walk to load bases, Seager grounded into an RBI force out. Turner tacked on an RBI single and the Dodgers held a 4-0 lead before Bettis could end the inning.
Kershaw remained perfect through three, though it wasn’t without a spectacular effort from Utley. Tony Wolters hit a dribbler toward third base that Utley charged and made a glove toss to first base. Wolters was ruled safe on the bang-bang play, but was overturned on the Dodgers’ challenge.
Kershaw wasn’t as fortunate in the fourth inning, with Arenado reaching on a two-out infield single to deep in the hole at shortstop. The shutout remained intact, however, as Ryan Raburn lined out to center.
With one out and Pederson standing on first base, Utley lifted a relatively routine fly ball down the left-field line. Raburn dropped it while in fair territory and would have thrown out Pederson at the plate had Wolters not lost control of the ball on his tag.
On top of that run scoring, the Dodgers cashed in on the two-base error as Turner hit his second RBI single of the game. Stephen Cardullo hit a ground-rule double with one out in the fifth but nothing came of it for the Rockies.
Reddick doubled with one out and Pederson was intentionally walked with two outs in the bottom half of the inning. That decision backfired as Kershaw helped his cause by slapping an RBI single into left field.
Rockies reliever Eddie Butler walked a pair in the bottom of the sixth and gave up an RBI single to Reddick. Kershaw allowed a leadoff single to Arenado in the seventh but benefitted from a strike ’em out, throw ’em out. He then ended another shutout inning on a strikeout.
Butler hit Pederson with a pitch, allowed a single to Utley, and walked Turner to load the bases. Adrian Gonzalez’s two-run single knocked Butler out of the game and extended the Dodgers’ lead to 10-0.
The Rockies turned to Christian Bergman, who walked Grandal to load the bases for the second time in the inning. Reddick then added to his big night by crushing a grand slam to right field. Jesse Chavez lost the Dodgers’ shutout in the eighth by allowing a solo home run to Pat Valaika.
Adam Liberatore tossed a scoreless ninth to wrap up the Dodgers’ 14-1 win, bringing their magic number to one. Despite blowing a 6-0 lead, San Francisco hung on to beat San Diego in extra innings.