LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers launched three home runs and Clayton Kershaw eclipsed 300 strikeouts on the season as the Dodgers held off the Padres, 6-3, on Sunday in their regular-season finale.
Kershaw needed six strikeouts, and he accomplished the feat in the third inning by striking out Melvin Upton Jr. He's the first pitcher since 2002 to reach 300 K's. Kershaw was on a 60-pitch limit and he lasted 3 2/3 innings, allowing two hits and no runs. Joc Pederson pulled a two-run homer down the right-field line in the second inning, and Corey Seager and Chris Heisey followed suit with homers of their own in the sixth.
"Just pitch normally. If my pitch count got there by the time I got the six strikeouts, I would've came out of the game," Kershaw said. "Just the importance factor of trying to be fresh for the playoffs is more important than 300 strikeouts."
It was a bullpen game for the Padres as starter Frank Garces, who was on the mound in place of James Shields, was pulled after two innings; the club used six pitchers for the game. San Diego put up three runs in the seventh on a three-run home run by rookie outfielder Travis Jankowski, but couldn't close the gap from there.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Homer happy: With the three home runs on Sunday, the Dodgers passed the Rockies for the National League lead with 187 dingers for the year. It's the first time since 1983 that the Dodgers have led the NL in homers.
"All year long, I never thought we were a home-run-hitting club," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "Hopefully we can continue to put enough runs on the board, and home runs will be a part of that."
Nice wheels for a catcher: When Padres catcher Derek Norris reached base on an infield single in the first inning against Kershaw, it was his 22nd infield hit of the season -- the most among all big league catchers. Norris finished the season with a career-high 129 hits -- 25 more than last season with the A's.
Left-on-left fun: The Padres were teetering toward what would have been their 20th shutout on Sunday when Jankowski hit a three-run home run in the seventh inning off Dodgers reliever Luis Avilan. Known more for his speed and defense, Jankowski hit two homers in 96 plate appearances with the Padres after hitting three in 1,444 Minor League plate appearances.
"That home run today was a great way to end the year on a high note," Jankowski said. "[It] just gives me a little momentum and incentive to work harder in the offseason." More >
Jimmy Rollins, manager: With nothing at stake in Sunday's game, the Dodgers pegged veteran shortstop Rollins as their honorary manager. Rollins presented the lineup card and made the slow walk out to the mound to pull Kershaw in the fourth while wearing a Tommy Lasorda No. 2 jersey. The club also assigned closer Kenley Jansen as their "pitching coach," and he was wearing actual pitching coach Rick Honeycutt's No. 40 jersey in the dugout.
"Kersh came out easy for [Rollins]," Mattingly said. "He went out smiling. I haven't seen Kersh smiling out on the field in like five years." More >
"At the end of the year, it seems like it just flew by, but then you start thinking all the way back to Spring Training and all the things that have happened to your club. It's been satisfying to get to this point." -- Mattingly
"A lot of guys did some things to lay a foundation for the future, which I think is bright. I think the pitching staff comes back stronger than ever. I think there's reason for hope." -- Padres interim manager Pat Murphy, who went 42-54 after taking over the team from Bud Black on June 16
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
San Diego pitchers allowed three home runs Sunday, two by reliever Jon Edwards in the sixth inning. That gave them 171 home runs allowed for 2015, the most allowed in a single season since '06 (176). The Padres allowed 117 home runs in '14.
WHAT'S NEXT Padres: This was the last game of the regular season for the Padres, as they miss the postseason for the ninth consecutive season. The next time the Padres are together will be in February for the beginning of Spring Training in Arizona.
Dodgers: The Dodgers will host the Mets in the NL Division Series on Friday. Los Angeles clinched home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs with a win on Saturday. The Mets will have Jacob deGrom on the mound, while the Dodgers have yet to name a starter for Game 1.
Steve Bourbon is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.