WASHINGTON, D.C. – Cody Bellinger hit his 38th home run of the season, drove in another run with a single and the Dodgers held on to beat the Washington Nationals 3-2 Saturday afternoon at Nationals Park.
The win is the Dodgers’ fourth in a row since their 11-game losing streak and 1-16 stretch ended. It also lowered their magic number to clinch a fifth consecutive NL West title to five and their magic number to clinch the best record in the National League to eight.
Bellinger’s solo home run leading off the second inning against Nationals right-hander A.J. Cole tied him with Wally Berger (1930 Boston Braves) and Frank Robinson (1956 Cincinnati Reds) for the National League rookie home run record. The major-league record is 49 by Mark McGwire with the Oakland A’s in 1987.
Bellinger added an RBI single in the third inning, driving in Chase Utley who had doubled.
Utley led off the fifth with another double and scored on a sacrifice fly by Justin Turner.
Dodgers starter Rich Hill and five relievers made that stand up, holding the Nationals to only four hits in the game.
Hill gave up just one hit in his five innings – a solo home run by Anthony Rendon in the fourth inning.
Dodgers starting pitchers had a 6.54 ERA during the 1-16 stretch. In four games since then, they have allowed only two earned runs on 15 hits in 24 innings.
The Nationals made it a one-run game, scratching out a score in the eighth inning on a pair of softly-hit singles wrapped around an error by shortstop Corey Seager. But Yasiel Puig made a belly-flopping catch of Daniel Murphy’s line drive to end that inning with the tying and go-ahead runs on base and Kenley Jansen closed it out in the ninth for his 38th save of the season.