The Los Angeles Dodgers became the first team in the 2022 MLB season to clinch a playoff berth with a division title.
The Dodgers got seven dominant innings from Clayton Kershaw and home runs from Joey Gallo, Freddie Freeman and Max Muncy in their 4-0 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.
Kershaw allowed only two hits over seven innings and struck out five.
“We weren’t defending National League West champions. That was first on our list,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after the game. “It’s something we should enjoy and be proud of, and get back to work (Wednesday), but it’s quite the accomplishment.”
It is Los Angeles’ ninth National League West title in the last 10 seasons. The team narrowly missed winning the division last year, even with 106 wins. So far this season, the Dodgers have 98 wins.
Kershaw missed three weeks with a back issue that has plagued him through the second half of his decorated career. Since then, he has started three times, allowing just three runs in 19 innings and 19 strikeouts.
“That three-week kind of hiatus gave him a chance to reset, and just to know that even tonight, there was some more in there. He’ll make three or four more starts and be ready for the postseason,” Roberts said.
Arizona’s Merrill Kelly allowed three runs on five hits in five innings. Taylor Widener allowed just one earned run on three hits.
In 18 starts this season, Kershaw has been as good as he has ever been.
He has a 2.44 ERA with 107 strikeouts in addition to a 9.3 K/9 and a 2.66 FIP.
“How fitting, right? We have a chance to clinch the division and Clayton’s on the mound for us again and gave us seven unbelievable innings,” Justin Turner said after the game, via MLB.com. “He was as spectacular as you’d expect him to be.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.