Pop the champagne! The Los Angeles Dodgers have clinched a postseason berth for the sixth consecutive season.
Entering Saturday, the Dodgers needed either a loss by the St. Louis Cardinals in Chicago, or a victory later in the afternoon over San Francisco to clinch at least the second wild card spot in the National League.
Following the Redbirds 2-1 victory over the Cubs, the Dodgers knew they needed a win over their rivals in order to clinch their sixth consecutive postseason berth.
Manny Machado had their back.
Machado sent the Dodgers back to the postseason with an RBI triple off the brick wall in right field and the Dodgers defeated the San Francisco Giants, 10-6, on Saturday afternoon at AT&T Park.
Joc Pederson wasted no time putting the Dodgers out in front, hitting a home run to start the game, and setting a record for most leadoff homers in a single season in the process with eight.
One inning later, Yasiel Puig followed Pederson's lead with a homer of his own off rookie Dereck Rodriguez, and the Dodgers led 2-0.
The Giants would rally with three runs off Kershaw in the second and third inning, but the three-time Cy Young Award winner helped his own cause with a go-ahead, two-run single in the top of the fourth.
San Francisco would tie the game in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI double by Hunter Pence and a sacrifice fly by Joe Panik.
Kershaw would get pulled from the game following the inning, allowing five runs on eight hits with no walks and four strikeouts in one of his worst starts of the season.
"It hasn't been easy, I guess, this year, we've kind of been in a dogfight the whole year as far as with the Diamondbacks and the Rockies," Kershaw said between dousings. "This game in particular just kind of showed the team that we have. It's never good when I'm a better hitter than I am a pitcher. That's what it was today. For these guys to pick me up like they did today — I don't know, I think we had 18 hits or something — it's just really special to be a part of. The celebration today is a little bit more subdued, and we want it that way."
The Dodgers would have plenty of chances to break the game open, but stranded ten men on base before Machado's big hit.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had mentioned last week that Machado was looking for his signature moment since first donning Dodger Blue. Needless to say, he found it, as he sent the Dodgers to the playoffs with the game-winning triple off the brick wall in right field.
"We never stop fighting," said Machado as he was doused with champagne after the game. "This is just the beginning of it. Everyone has a role to do and when we do our job, we're the best ballclub out there."
Taylor tacked on an insurance run in the top of the ninth with an RBI single to left field that scored Kiké Hernandez, and Max Muncy followed with a two-run single, sending many of the Giants fans home for the afternoon.
For the second straight game, the Dodgers bullpen pitched multiple scoreless innings with Ryan Madson, Alex Wood and Kenta Maeda leading the way.
Kenley Jansen recorded the final two outs in a non-save situation.
As far as the NL West is concerned, the Dodgers move within a half game of the Colorado Rockies who will play later this evening against the Washington Nationals in Coors Field.
"I think we're the best team," Roberts said after the game when asked how his team might fare in the postseason. "And I've said it. Most importantly though we've still got to go out there and play like it."
The Dodgers are expected to start rookie Walker Buehler on Sunday opposite left-hander Andrew Suarez for San Francisco.
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