SAN FRANCISCO — The Los Angeles Dodgers want no part of a wild-card game or the long flight that would come with it.
The plan: another NL West crown.
Max Muncy and his free-swinging Dodgers mates are headed for a one-game showdown against Colorado to determine the division winner back home, jumping on the San Francisco Giants from the start Sunday in a 15-0 win for a weekend sweep.
The Rockies routed Washington 12-0 at Coors Field, setting up a tiebreaker at Dodger Stadium today that the home team has every intention of taking. The winner gets the division and hosts Atlanta in the best-of-five Division Series starting Thursday; the loser is on the road for the NL wild-card game Tuesday against the loser of today’s Brewers- Cubs NL Central tiebreaker.
“We’d rather win the division than be the wild card,” Matt Kemp said. “We’re going to play it like any game we’ve been playing this last month. We’ve been playing each game like a playoff game. We’ve got to keep it going. I don’t think we want to go to the East Coast to play a one-game playoff, we’d rather have a series to play and play that series.”
Walker Buehler will start for the Dodgers (91-71) as the defending NL champions try for a sixth straight West title.
Rich Hill pitched two-hit ball for seven innings to keep the playoff-bound Dodgers on a roll. The lefty found out when he woke up just before 8 a.m. Sunday he would start, having gone to bed early for him to ensure enough sleep for the possibility he would be pitching.
“The biggest thing is that everybody continues to go up there and give that effort, no matter what the situation is,” he said.
Manny Machado, Kemp and Muncy all joined the hit parade as Los Angeles left nothing to chance in Game No. 162. Kemp had a two-run double and RBI single among his three hits, while Muncy and Brian Dozier each hit two-run homers.
Los Angeles followed up an 18-hit performance Saturday with 16 more to finish with 43 in the three-game series.
Chris Taylor drew a walk from Andrew Suarez (7-13) to get the Dodgers going Sunday, Justin Turner followed with an RBI double and the rout was on. Dozier’s drive and a two-run double by Kemp highlighted a seven-run third inning.
Hill (11-5) completed a 5-0 September and won for the sixth time in seven outings beginning Aug. 24. The lefty retired the first 10 batters in order before Joe Panik’s single in the fourth.
San Francisco went a majors- worst 5-21 in September but improved on its last-place 2017 finish of 64-98 by nine wins.
“No question that’s the last way we wanted this thing to go out,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
Hunter Pence went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts in what was likely his final game with the Giants after 6½ years. There were pins and signs reading “GR8FUL.”
Pence received big cheers from the sellout crowd as he ran to the outfield some 20 minutes before first pitch and he waved and clapped in appreciation.