Los Angeles, United States—AJ Pollock and Chris Taylor hit solo home runs Wednesday (Thursday Philippine time) as the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Diego Padres 7-5 to become the first team to clinch a spot in MLB’s expanded playoffs.
The win, in the rubber match of a three-game series, increased the 35-15 Dodgers’ won-loss lead on the Padres to 3 1/2 games in the National League West standings.
The Dodgers scored runs against five of the nine San Diego pitchers. Left-handed reliever Adam Kolarek earned the win by pitching two-thirds scoreless innings at PETCO stadium in San Diego.
Right-hander Dustin May entered the game in the third inning and held the Padres to three runs on three hits over 5 1/3 innings.
The Dodgers took the lead for good in the third when Max Muncy belted a tie-breaking RBI double off Joey Lucchesi and Will Smith followed with a single to drive in another run and made it 3-1. Smith finished with three RBIs.
Los Angeles broke it open with three runs in the fifth. Taylor scored the Dodgers’ final run with a homer off Garrett Richards to lead off the sixth, making it 7-1.
Meanwhile, the 2020 World Series will take place at a neutral venue for the first time in modern baseball history.
The league said in a statement teams would be based at neutral venues following the initial best-of-three wild card series rounds, which get under way once the abbreviated 60-game season concludes this month.
The American and National League wild card rounds, which open on September 29 and 30, will take place at the home ballparks of each league’s top four seed.
Thereafter, games will shift to designated neutral sites.
MLB said the switch to neutral venues this year had been taken for “health, safety and competitive considerations.”
American League Division Series games will take place in Los Angeles and San Diego at Dodger Stadium and Petco Park respectively.
National League Division Series games will be held at Arlington’s Globe Life Field, home of the Texas Rangers, and Houston’s Minute Maid Park.
The American League Championship Series will be held at Petco Park in San Diego, while Arlington would host the National League Championship Series.
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