SAN DIEGO — While the Los Angeles Dodgers are regular participants in postseason baseball, there was something unusual about becoming the first team in the pandemic-shortened season to clinch a berth in the expanded playoffs.
“It’s different, I guess. I just found that out five minutes ago,” manager Dave Roberts said in his video news conference after the Dodgers beat the San Diego Padres 7-5 to take two of three in a matchup of the NL’s two top teams.
The Dodgers opened a 3 1/2-game lead in their quest for an eighth straight NL West title by beating the Padres for the second straight day. Dustin May threw 5 1/3 gutty innings out of the bullpen, AJ Pollock and Chris Taylor homered and Will Smith drove in three runs.
“I’m celebrating by saying I’m proud of our guys and it was a great series,” said Roberts, who grew up in northern San Diego County and both played for and was a coach with the Padres before getting the Dodgers’ job. “I think it caught us all by surprise because we were so focused on trying to win this series. I think word will travel once we get on the plane.”
San Diego, quieted by Dodgers pitching a second straight game even as it heads for its first playoff berth since winning the division in 2006, has lost two straight for the first time since mid-August.
May confirmed that as part of COVID-19 protocols, MLB doesn’t want teams having wild clubhouse celebrations after clinching.