Two words: Game 163
The Los Angeles Dodgers forced a winner-take-all Game 163 for the National League West Division after sweeping the San Francisco Giants, 15-0, on Sunday afternoon at AT&T Park.
The Dodgers entered the regular season finale tied with the Colorado Rockies in the NL West, but both teams took care of business, winning their respective games to force a do or die for the division on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.
Walker Buehler was scratched from his scheduled start on Sunday, and instead will pitch in Game 163 against Colorado.
"Walker is going to start tomorrow," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced after the game. "Our goal is to win the division. Right now, he's our best. To win this game, to win the division, it's in our hands at home. That's been our goal from the beginning."
If the Dodgers defeat the Rockies on Monday, they would win their sixth consecutive NL West Division title. Colorado is in search of their first ever NL West title in franchise history.
"It would be huge," Buehler said about helping his team win the division. "That's the goal. It all culminates, but it's still a regular season game. We don't go home if we lose, and we get a day off if we win."
Knowing they needed a win to have a shot at winning the West, the Dodgers made a statement to start the game:
Chris Taylor led off with a walk, Justin Turner doubled and David Freese hit an RBI single as the Dodgers led 2-0 before fans found their seats.
"Our goal is to win every game," said Turner following the win. "That was our mindset going into it."
Two innings later, the Dodgers put the nail in the coffin for the Giants 2018 campaign as they scored seven runs in the inning, capped off by a two-run homer from Brian Dozier.
Max Muncy put the Dodgers up by two touchdowns when he hit his 34th home run of the season into McCovey Cove in the bottom of the fifth.
"It's crazy, it's incredible, it's a dream come true," Muncy said of hitting 34 homers this season, two shy of the NL lead despite not being on the Opening Day roster. "It's something out of a fairy tale. It's something I'm really enjoying."
The "Splash Hit" was the fifth in Dodgers history and the first since Cody Bellinger did it on Sept. 13 of last season.
"That's really cool," Muncy said of the splash hit homer. "I had no clue about that."
Austin Barnes added a home run in the eighth inning to make it 15-0.
Rich Hill (11-5) was phenomenal on eight days rest, allowing just two hits with seven strikeouts and no walks in seven shutout innings.
"The curveball has been good the last couple weeks," said Hill of his start. "I think every day is a big game and much more important moving forward. I just stayed ready, and for me, I always want the ball in those big games."
The Dodgers have struggled with runners in scoring position all season, but are 14-for-29 over their last two games.
Game 163. The Dodgers will host the Colorado Rockies in a winner-take-all game for the NL West crown and the right to host the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS at 1:09PM PST at Dodger Stadium on Monday.
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