SAN FRANCISCO -- Cody Bellinger homered and drove in three runs Wednesday as the Dodgers conducted their first dress rehearsal for October in a 4-1 triumph over the Giants.
The Dodgers, who clinched a postseason berth 24 hours earlier, jumped on the Giants and starter Matt Moore (5-14) as Bellinger's RBI triple served as the centerpiece of a two-run first inning. Bellinger then followed Justin Turner's fifth-inning leadoff double with a splash shot into McCovey Cove, his 37th homer of the season, estimated by Statcast™ at 441 feet (his second-longest this season).
"You always see it when you're growing up, watching Barry Bonds do it," Bellinger said of his blast into the bay. "To actually do it was pretty cool."
Bellinger is one home run shy of the National League record for rookies, shared by Wally Berger and Frank Robinson, the latter coincidentally honored before this game on his bobblehead night and African-American Heritage Night. Bellinger has homered against every National League team except Washington (where he will play for the first time this weekend).
"Not very much feels good about tonight," Moore said. "From the get-go, giving up those two runs early on, my pitch count was up pretty high. Regardless of what's going on in the season, we have to be better than that."
The chief beneficiary was Dodgers starter Yu Darvish (9-12), who interrupted a personal slump by blanking the Giants on three hits in seven innings. It was a welcome reversal for Darvish, who was 0-3 with a 9.49 ERA in his previous three starts. The decision enabled the Dodgers to trim their magic number for clinching the National League West to seven. It also widened their bulge to 5 1/2 games over Washington for the league's best record and home-field advantage through the NL playoffs.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Consolation prize: Giants reliever Kyle Crick prevented an even more lopsided outcome by striking out Kiké Hernandez and Yasiel Puig to strand a runner in the fifth inning.
"We needed to stop them and give us a chance and he did that," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He finished that inning off and gave us another good inning. Really, the bullpen did a nice job tonight to give us a chance to come back. Their pitching was just on tonight -- and a little bit too much for us."
Run-down feeling: The Giants ran themselves out of their best scoring chance before the first inning was over. With one out and Hunter Pence on second base, Denard Span's one-hopper back to the box was gloved by Darvish, who caught Pence in a rundown. Third baseman Turner tagged out Pence and then threw out Span trying for second, the 1-6-5-4 double play keeping Buster Posey from batting.
"Just to get the momentum and get the first to be a clean inning was huge for his confidence," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Darvish.
"I misjudged both balls. The wind must be carrying more than usual. Our system is … I'm going to call it super-early and go for it and scream bloody murder. My read was off. I needed to just go get it." -- Pence, who watched a harmless, catchable fly ball drop beyond the second baseman and in front of him in right field for the second night in a row
"I wanted to see how Walker responds in this ballpark and, to be quite honest, I thought he threw the ball really well. He composed himself really well." -- Roberts on rookie reliever Walker Buehler, who pitched the ninth inning and allowed a run auditioning for the postseason
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Bellinger's homer, his 37th of the season, tied him for fifth-most in a season by a rookie. Only two rookies in Major League history have hit more than 40: Mark McGwire (1987) and Aaron Judge (this year).
WHAT'S NEXT Dodgers: Thursday's scheduled off-day precedes a three-game series at Washington in which the Dodgers can go a long way toward securing the NL's best record. The showdown will begin with a 4:05 p.m. PT contest, which happens to be an MLB Network Showcase telecast. Dodgers left-hander Alex Wood will oppose Nationals right-hander Edwin Jackson.
Giants: Following a scheduled off-day Thursday, the Giants will plunge into a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks that starts with a 7:15 p.m. PT encounter Friday. Right-hander Jeff Samardzija will make his 30th start of the season for the Giants, who are 13-16 in his previous outings.