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106-win Dodgers finish strong, but end regular season in 2nd place

Trea Turner, Walker Buehler shine in LA’s season finale

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Los Angeles Dodgers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers did not win the National League West, but they did close the season out with loads of offense, a three-inning save, and a seven-game winning streak, including 10-3 on Sunday over the Brewers at Dodger Stadium.

Sunday’s win was the 106th for the Dodgers, tying a franchise record set in 2019. But they finished one game back of the Giants, who clinched the division on Sunday with a win over San Diego.

“It was a great regular season. It was. You have to give credit to the Giants,” manager Dave Roberts said. “They took it from us. I don’t think we just gave it away.”

Trea Turner punctuated his MVP candidacy with a grand slam, his second in three days, and the Dodgers’ 11th of the season, breaking 2004’s franchise record.

Turner finished his season hitting .328/.375/.536 with a 142 wRC+, 28 home runs, and 32 stolen bases. He led the NL in hits (195), steals, total bases (319), and fWAR (6.8). He’s the first Dodger to win a batting title since Tommy Davis in 1963, and the first Dodger to lead the majors in batting average since Eddie Murray in 1990.

“It’s been a good season from a health standpoint,” Turner said. “Any time you can win anything in this league, it’s special, so it’s pretty cool and I’m proud of it.”

After playing shortstop for the Nationals the last four and a half seasons, Turner moved to second base after the Dodgers acquired him on July 30, which wasn’t lost on his manager.

“For him to continue to stay the course and perform, do a position change and still ultimately win a batting title, it’s huge,” Roberts said. “I believe batting average still matters, and it goes with getting on base and driving in runs. He’s an MVP-caliber player, and we’re lucky to have him.”

Turner with Los Angeles is hitting .338/.385/.565 with 10 home runs and 11 steals in 52 games. The Dodgers are 41-12 since he was activated on August 6.

His grand slam broke open a close game, and made a winner out of Walker Buehler, whose final regular season start lasted five innings, allowing only a run on three hits, while striking out a season-high 11, bolstering his NL Cy Young candidacy.

Buehler finished his season with a 2.47 ERA and 3.15 FIP in a career-best 207⅔ innings, with 211 strikeouts, and a 16-4 record.

“I think I checked a lot of boxes for myself and goals I’ve set for myself for a long time, and was finally able to achieve them and stay healthy,” Buehler said. “To make 33 starts is the biggest thing for me, and I feel really proud about that.”

Corey Seager continued his hot hitting as well with three hits in his three at-bats Sunday, his infield single in the fifth inning giving the Dodgers their first lead of the day.

Matt Beaty added a three-run home run in the eighth inning to put the Dodgers in double digits. Beaty, who did not start, entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning and finished with three hits, driving in four runs and played in both right field and at third base on Sunday.

The Dodgers finished the season with at least eight runs in five straight games, tying the longest such streak in franchise history. They also accomplished the feat in 1913 and 1945 in Brooklyn as well as 2017 in Los Angeles.

Andre Jackson, called up earlier Sunday, entered with a six-run lead in the seventh and closed out the game, earning the Dodgers’ first save of three innings or more since September 2, 2019, when Kenta Maeda had a four-inning save.

Sunday particulars

Home runs: Trea Turner (28), Matt Beaty (7)

WP — Walker Buehler (16-4): 5 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts

LP — Aaron Ashby (3-2): ⅔ IP, 3 hits, 6 runs, 3 walks, 1 strikeout

Sv — Andre Jackson (1): 3 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 3 strikeouts

Up next

The Dodgers will host the Cardinals in the National League wild card game on Wednesday (5:10 p.m., TBS). Max Scherzer starts for Los Angeles, facing Adam Wainwright for St. Louis.

It’s highly unlikely Max Muncy will be available for the wild card game after injuring his elbow in the third inning Sunday. After the game, Roberts said X-rays and further testing on Muncy’s elbow was unclear, but that he could potentially miss extended time.

“I’m not going to close the door on Max looking out, but right now it’s certainly doesn’t look great,” Roberts said.