101 Dodger Dalmatians.
Yasmani Grandal, Adrian Gonzalez, and Corey Seager all homered as the Los Angeles Dodgers blew out the San Diego Padres, 9-2, to clinch home field throughout the National League on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.
The N.L. West Champions improved to 101-57 on the season, and guaranteed themselves home field advantage throughout the National League Championship Series, should they get that far, after the Washington Nationals lost to the Philadelphia Phillies, 4-1, earlier in the day.
Staked with the best record in the N.L. the Dodgers now set their sights on the overall best record in baseball as they currently lead the Cleveland Indians by 2.5 games with four left to play.
"At home, in front of our home fans is an advantage for us, I believe," said Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts of clinching the best record in the N.L. "Our next goal is to do that throughout the World Series."
The Dodgers have scored nine runs against San Diego on back-to-back days as their offense finally appears to have turned a corner after a sluggish start to the month of September.
Grandal's go-ahead home run in the the bottom of the fifth inning put the Dodgers in front for good, but it was the backstory behind the home run that was fraught with a twist of irony.
Los Angeles scored first off San Diego starter Dinelson Lamet in the bottom of the third inning, but the Padres tied the game in the top half of the fifth on a controversial call.
Christian Villanueva roped a fly ball down the right field line that appeared to bounce off the top of the wall.
Right-fielder, Yasiel Puig, grabbed the ball on the bounce and threw out Villanueva at second base.
However, the call was reviewed, and on the replay it appeared that a fan sitting along the wall in right field had touched the ball, altering its path.
"It was just a weird play," said Dodgers' starter Alex Wood. "It was a decent change up pretty far out of the strike zone and he gets the barrel on it and squeaks it down the line. It is what it is."
It was unclear on the replay whether or not the ball would have still landed against the wall or over the wall had the fan not interfered, but after a lengthy discussion with MLB, the umpires ruled it a home run, tying the game.
The fan who interfered with the ball was promptly ejected from the game, and play resumed.
Two batters later, Hunter Renfroe followed with a line-drive lazer over the centerfield wall for his 25th home run of the season, the single-season record for a San Diego rookie.
Renfroe broke Nate Colbert's rookie record dating all the way back to 1969 of 24 home runs for a Padres' rookie in a single-season.
"It's cool," Renfroe said of the accolade. "Obviously missing that month this feels pretty special to me. I just think it's a pretty cool achievement. I just want to keep going and keep hitting more."
The Padres were leading 2-1 in the bottom half of the fifth when Lamet issued back-to-back walks to Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger with two outs in the inning. That's when Grandal sent a 3-2 slider down the right-field line for the go-aheard three run home run.
"I wasn't happy with myself at that point in time in the game. All of a sudden he [Lamet] makes a really good pitch and I was able to put a good swing on it and just make it out down the right field line," said Grandal. "What was funny was the inning before I said to Renfroe that we better start hitting the ball to right field because I saw it was carrying that way. I took my own advice."
Ironically, the ball landed in the empty seats of the fan who was ejected for interfering with Villanueva's home run.
As you can see in the video above, Grandal's home run ball bounces off the empty seats where the fan had previously sat, in an ironic twist to an otherwise ordinary home run to the short porch.
Veteran Adrian Gonzalez made the most out of his spot start at first base, homering for the first time since Aug. 24th in Pittsburgh.
Gonzalez hit a 98MPH fastball from Miguel Diaz down the opposite field line for just his third home run of the season as he finished the night, 2-for-4 with a double and a home run.
"I'm just happy to be able to have a good game and enjoy the swings I had today," said Gonzalez after the game. "I knew I was going to start, so I prepared as I would any other day. I had an idea of what I wanted to do against him and I had some good swings."
Corey Seager joined the home run barrage himself with a three-run shot in the bottom of the seventh that put the Dodgers ahead, 9-2.
"When you take as much time off as I did, you just have to find it again," Seager said of his swing. "I've been searching pretty hard and I got some feelings I was looking for and it's been better last couple days. It's been a while since I found the barrell so it was just nice to have that again."
In his second start against the Dodgers this month, Lamet (7-8) recorded the loss, allowing four runs on four hits with six walks and seven strikeouts in five innings.
"For me it's the walks in general," said San Diego manager Andy Green of Lamet. "First batter of the game he put himself into trouble right out of the shoot walking the leadoff batter. Six walks in five innings, it was kind of his undoing today, not the handing slider to Grandal."
Alex Wood (16-3), earned the win, allowing two runs on eight hits with one walk and just one strikeout in the game.
"I was a little uninspiring tonight for sure," said Wood of his start. "But we managed to get a win."
Wood is currently ranked as one of the best starters in the Major Leagues in ERA (2.72, 6th) WHIP (1.04 5th) and OPS (.606 8th), yet Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said before the game that is was not a certainty yet that the All-Star would start in the postseason.
"It's out of my control, but I expect to start," said Wood. "I've been pretty good all year, and I think everybody in this clubhouse, guys trust me with the ball in my hands, but it's out of my control."
Brock Stewart struck out Luis Torrens to leadoff the top of the ninth, giving the Dodgers 1,511 strikeouts on the season, a new franchise record.
The 2016 Dodgers struck out 1,510 batters.
The penultimate home game of the regular season, also gave the Dodgers their 56th home win of the season, the most ever wins in Dodger Stadium history.
It's a battle of Southpaws in the final home game of the regular season as LHP Clayton Richard squares off against LHP Rich Hill. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10PM PST.