LOS ANGELES — Clayton Kershaw struck out 10, Chris Taylor blasted a three-run homer in which the Dodgers successfully challenged a fan interference call, and Los Angeles defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-2 on Monday night to clinch a first-round bye and home-field advantage in the National League Division Series.
The Dodgers are now 102-44 (.699) this season. The 58 games over .500 is their most in franchise history. They need to go 14-2 or better over their final 16 games to tie the MLB record for wins in a season (116 wins, shared by the 1906 Chicago Cubs and 2001 Seattle Mariners).
Kershaw struck out 10 six days after beating the D-backs 4-0 on the road.
“It’s not an easy thing to do,” he said of facing the same team in back-to-back starts. “You don’t want to overthink too much. There’s only so many things I can do. I don’t have too many tricks up my sleeve. Try to mix it up as best as I can.”
The Dodgers have beaten the D-backs in 19 of their past 20 meetings at Dodger Stadium. They improved to 12-3 against Arizona this season.
Kershaw (9-3) allowed one run and six hits in six innings to earn his second straight win after a loss and four no-decisions dating to July 24. His strikeouts tied for his second most of the season. The left-hander struck out the side in the third.
It was Kershaw’s 27th career game with at least 10 strikeouts and no walks, tying Curt Schilling for the third most all time. Only Randy Johnson (36) and Max Scherzer (29) have more.
Closer Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth and gave up a leadoff single and then hit two straight batters to load the bases. Gavin Lux made a diving stab on pinch-hitter Sergio Alcantara, who grounded into a double play, before Daulton Varsho popped up to end it.
Taylor had the biggest blow.
“It’s good to get a big hit there and come through with guys in scoring position,” he said. “Once you start hitting the ball hard, it kind of relaxes you a little bit.”
Taylor has struggled mightily this season. He struck out 149 times in 365 at-bats coming into the game, with just 24% of his swings being put into play. He flied out in the second before connecting for his 10th homer off Merrill Kelly (12-7) in a four-run fourth. However, he had to wait for it.
Crew chief James Hoye ruled fan interference when a man in the lower left-field seats wearing a Dodgers jersey made a clumsy attempt at catching the ball in his glove. The ball struck the man in the belly, and it ricocheted back onto the field.
The Dodgers challenged the call and after a video review, Taylor came trotting home with a three-run shot that extended their lead to 5-0.
“When I saw the replay, I thought it was a homer because it looked like it hit the guy in the chest, so I think it would have hit the top of the wall and bounced over, but I wasn’t sure,” he said. “I thought it still might stand just the way replay has gone this year. You never know.”
Lux had three hits from the No. 7 spot.
Joey Gallo drove in the Dodgers’ first two runs. He hit a 437-foot homer to the right-field pavilion with two outs in the second. Gallo had an RBI single in the fourth in which Max Muncy scored on a fielding error by center fielder Varsho.
The Dodgers thought they’d executed an inning-ending double play in the fifth. Instead, the video review went against them. Geraldo Perdomo grounded into a fielder’s choice to third that scored Carson Kelly, who doubled leading off, and Arizona trailed 5-1.
Christian Walker scored on Alcantara’s double-play grounder for Arizona’s other run.
Merrill Kelly gave up five runs and eight hits in six innings. The right-hander struck out seven and walked two.
ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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