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Clayton Kershaw pitched seven dominant innings and the Los Angeles Dodgers won the National League West for the ninth time in 10 seasons, blanking the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-0 on Tuesday night.
Freddie Freeman, Max Muncy and Joey Gallo homered as the Dodgers boosted the best record in the majors to 98-43. They lead second-place San Diego by a whopping 20 1/2 games.
Manager Dave Roberts’ team will have plenty of time to get set for its 10th straight year in the postseason. The Dodgers’ first playoff game is almost a month away, on Oct. 11.
The only season the Dodgers didn’t clinch the division in their recent run was last year — they won 106 times but still finished one game behind San Francisco. Los Angeles then beat the Giants in the NL Division Series before falling to eventual champion Atlanta in the NLCS.
Kershaw (8-3) was sharp throughout, allowing just two singles and one walk while striking out five. He threw just 82 pitches, 55 for strikes. He lowered his season ERA to 2.44.
Caleb Ferguson and Craig Kimbrel finished the combined three-hit shutout.
Gallo’s home run, his 17th, cleared the center-field wall and gave the Dodgers a 2-0 lead in the second. The homer was measured at 438 feet. Muncy led off the inning with a single off Merrill Kelly — literally — as it bounced off the pitcher to the vacated left side of the infield.
Freeman led off the third inning with his 20th homer, a 442-foot drive to right-center into the swimming pool area.
Muncy’s homer, also his 20th, came against Taylor Widener in the seventh.
Kelly (12-6) lasted five innings, losing for the first time in 14 starts. He gave up five hits, walked five and struck out eight. He threw 96 pitches — 30 in the long second inning and 29 more in the third.
It was the second straight shutout by the Dodgers in Arizona. Tyler Anderson and two relievers handled the Diamondbacks 6-0 on Monday.