LOS ANGELES (AP) — Give credit to Andre Ethier for an assist on Joc Pederson’s recent home run tear.
Pederson hit a leadoff drive and a two-run shot as the Los Angeles Dodgers set a National League record with their 250th long ball this season in beating the Colorado Rockies 7-3 Wednesday night to complete a three-game sweep.
Pederson has been using one of his former teammate’s old bats since seeing Ethier during last weekend’s series in Arizona, where Pederson hit a tiebreaking homer in the 11th inning Sunday.
“I told him there better be some more coming,” Pederson said of the loaned lumber.
Ethier, who is from Phoenix, retired nearly two years ago after spending his entire 12-year career with the Dodgers.
Pederson slugged five homers and a double in a string of six at-bats going back to Sunday. He sat out Tuesday, one day after crashing into the outfield wall to make a catch.
“He’s streaky,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “When they make a mistake out over the plate, it’s a home run. He’s feeling really good. He’s found consistency.”
The Dodgers reduced their magic number to four to clinch their seventh straight NL West title.
Los Angeles surpassed the previous NL home run mark of 249 set by Houston in 2000. The Dodgers slugged 12 homers in the series — falling two shy of their franchise record for a three-game set — while outscoring the Rockies 28-15.
“A lot of good players one through 15,” Pederson said in explaining the home run numbers. “Guys who got called up contributed. It’s a special unit we have.”
Colorado lost its season-high ninth in a row, 12th of 13 overall and 11th straight at Dodger Stadium.
“There’s no finger-pointing. Just us as a group, we just aren’t good,” Rockies slugger Nolan Arenado said.
Adam Kolarek (6-3) got two outs for the win.
Hyun-Jin Ryu, the NL starter in the All-Star Game, was looking to bounce back after his worst stretch of the season. He ended up with a no-decision after losing three in a row. During that stretch, Ryu’s ERA has jumped from 1.45 to 2.45, the highest it’s been since May.
He denies feeling fatigued, saying through a translator, “I don’t think I need an extended rest.”
Ryu has been studying video to figure out why his vaunted changeup isn’t working.
“I need to make more adjustments,” he said.
Ryu allowed three runs and six hits in 4 1/3 innings, the third consecutive start in which the left-hander hasn’t gone beyond the fifth. He struck out five and walked a season-high four.
“It’s just command,” Roberts said. “His moneymaker is the changeup and even when there’s contact, it’s just a tick too high. He’s going to figure it out. Fortunately, there’s plenty of time to recalibrate before we get to the postseason.”
Pederson had four homers in the series, hitting two of the Dodgers’ seven in a 16-9 victory Monday in which he tied his career high with five RBIs.
In the finale, Pederson’s two-run drive in the fourth extended the lead to 7-2 and scored Ryu, who singled with two outs to keep the inning going.
Sandwiched around Pederson’s homers was a four-run third inning in which the Dodgers played small ball for a change. Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger had RBI singles. Justin Turner grounded into a fielder’s choice that scored Pederson, and Turner came home on Matt Beaty’s groundout to third.
The Dodgers were limited to one hit by Colorado’s bullpen over the final four innings.
The Rockies’ runs came on RBI singles by Ryan McMahon, Drew Butera and Ian Desmond.
Colorado’s Antonio Senzatela (8-10) gave up five runs for a franchise-record seventh straight game along with four hits in three innings of his fourth straight loss. He struck out one and walked one in his career-high 21st start of the season.
Senzatela is the first major league pitcher to allow five or more runs in seven straight games since 2011, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Rockies: LHP Kyle Freeland (left groin strain) threw, but his progress remains slow.
Dodgers: INF Alex Verdugo (right oblique strain) will end his rehab stint at rookie-level Ogden because of back soreness. It’s possible he’ll be sent to the team’s spring training facility in Arizona to take at-bats, but he won’t join the team next week in Baltimore. … LHP Rich Hill (left forearm strain) faces hitters Friday. … RHP Dustin May faced hitters and his “command could have been better,” Roberts said. May was struck on the side of his head by a liner in Arizona last weekend. … INF Max Muncy (broken right wrist) worked in the batting cage and took grounders. His soreness has lessened and the team hopes he’ll return next week.
With the Dodgers leading 5-2 in the fourth, Chris Taylor made a diving catch on Colorado pinch-hitter Josh Fuentes’ liner to left field with runners on first and third, landing on his belly to end the inning. “Taylor made a great play,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “If that ball drops, it’s 5-4.”
IN THE SEATS
The Dodgers topped the 3.5 million mark in home attendance, drawing 3,565,539 through 73 games. They’ve led the majors in home attendance for six straight years and are on pace to break their single-season mark of 3,857,500 set last year. They’re averaging 48,843, the first team since the New York Mets (49,902) and New York Yankees (53,070) in 2008 to average over 48,000.
Rockies: Off on Thursday before RHP Tim Melville (1-1, 3.86 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game set at San Diego on Friday.
Dodgers: After an off day, LHP Clayton Kershaw (13-4, 2.96) starts Friday in the opener of a three-game series against rival San Francisco.
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