Cody Bellinger Lifts Dodgers to Third NLCS in Five Seasons

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These Dodgers have been here before, but never like this.

Officials at Chase Field made it clear that the Dodgers wouldn't be disrespecting Arizona's home field by jumping in their pool, and celebrating a win at their own expense. Or it was, if you want to believe Yasiel Puig, an absolute licking.

Yu Darvish threw five overpowering innings on Monday, earning his first major league postseason win as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1 to advance to the National League's championship series. "Sweeping the series in three games is the greatest". Four years ago the Dodgers clinched the NL West while playing in Phoenix and celebrated by jumping in the Diamondbacks' swimming pool in right-center. The Diamondbacks dispatched police horses to guard the structure, just in case.

Many more Diamondbacks had successful seasons and figure to be part of the core group going forward.

Yes, those were "Let's Go Dodgers" chants that ultimately swept the building as the Dodgers' swam only in champagne.

Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers' ace left-hander, was unwilling to concede there were lessons to be learned from the past playoff failures - "Every one's been a little different", he said - but he made one point that resonated: "Every year, there's been some kind of hole", Kershaw said of those recent Dodger rosters. It was about rediscovering their focus, and bringing back the fun.

The Dodgers, who won 104 games for the best record in baseball and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, face the victor of the Nationals-Cubs series for the NL championship.

Twins' Sano out of wild-card game
This is Minnesota's first appearance in the wild-card game. "It means a lot", said Santana, who grew up in the Dominican Republic. The Minnesota Twins are a young team full of players who don't know about the postseason and that might be just what they need.

This was a Diamondbacks team that often seemed unsettled and overmatched. Arguably the greatest pitcher of his generation, the three-time Cy Young Award victor has 144 regular season wins in his Dodgers career.

No, this was all about Dodgers baseball.

Diamondbacks starter Zack Greinke didn't have his best stuff as he walked five batters on 105 pitches (62 strikes) in five innings. Bellinger was just 1 for 12 with five strikeouts in his first postseason before hitting Greinke's 3-1 pitch over the wall in left for a 2-0 lead.

And then there was Roberts, whose dugout deftness has sometimes been lost in the glory grabbed by his players. Darvish (1-0) gave up one run and struck out seven in five-plus innings to send the Dodgers to the NLCS against the victor of the Chicago Cubs-Washington Nationals series. Maeda who was a starter for the majority of the 2017 season, has taken on a relief role for the postseason.

The Dodgers' sweep of the D-backs leaves them a couple of extra days of rest before they face the victor of the Cubs-Nationals Series in the NLCS.

Back when these Dodgers were entering the late-summer tailspin that would last a good three weeks, it was Greinke - their teammate just two years earlier before he opted out of his Dodgers contract at the end of 2015 and signed with Arizona - who handed them the third of their three straight losses here.

The Dodgers came away with a win due to their dominante back end of the bullpen.