SAN DIEGO (AP) — Cody Bellinger homered twice and drove in four runs, leading Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers over the San Diego Padres 10-2 Sunday.
Freddie Freeman added a two-run homer as the Dodgers beat San Diego for the 11th time in 12 games.
Bellinger, who struggled mightily last year after coming back from shoulder surgery, continues to resemble his 2019 National League MVP form with a team-high four homers. He hit his first home run of the year against a lefty, connecting against Sean Manaea.
“It’s hard to bet against the talent,″ Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “He’s healthy and looks physically strong. I don’t think it was a hard bet.″
Bellinger was basically a platoon player toward the later stages of last season, although he delivered some clutch hits during LA’s playoff run. But it was clear he was a shadow of the performer that he was in 2019, when he hit 47 homers with 115 RBIs and led the NL with 351 total bases.
“The only think you can do is keep going no matter what,″ Bellinger said. “But it’s just that the shoulder is stronger than it was last year and I would say that’s a lot of it.″
Kershaw (3-0) allowed one run and four hits in five innings. He walked none, struck out three and improved to 11-4 at Petco Park.
“I thought my fastball was better today than it has been,″ Kershaw said. “Although obviously five innings isn’t the goal for a starting pitcher.″
Manaea (2-2) gave up seven runs in 4 1/3 innings.
The Dodgers pulled away in the fifth on Bellinger’s second homer, a three-run shot off reliever Dinelson Lamet as they made it 7-1.
“We all love Belly,″ Kershaw said. “We all see him grinding every day, good or bad, to try and figure it out. Coming off shoulder surgery and all those things, that’s a challenge for anybody.″
Freeman homered in the third. Mookie Betts walked prior to Freeman becoming the first left-handed batter to get a hit off of Manea this season, snapping his streak at 15 batters.
BROTHERS IN ARM
There was a touching scene before the game when Manaea’s brother, Dane, took the mound with him. It came on the Padres’ Military Sunday as part of their starting nine program when a fan joins a player on the field.
Dane Manaea is in the Navy and stationed at nearby Camp Pendleton, where he is a hospital corpsman third class.
“To have that moment was really cool,″ the Padres pitcher said. “And I know my mom (Opal) loved it, too. It doesn’t really happen often that you have a brother that’s in the big leagues and one that’s in the military and then for his base to be out here. It was a beautiful moment.″
Dodgers: LHP David Price was placed on the COVID-19 injured list.
Padres: 1B/DH Luke Voit (biceps) was put on the injured list, retroactive to Saturday.
Dodgers: LA starts a three-game set against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday as RHP Walker Buehler (1-1, 4.02) draws Arizona RHP Merrill Kelly (1-0, 0.59).
Padres: After Monday’s off day, San Diego begins an eight-game road trip in Cincinnati, with RHP Joe Musgrove (2-0, 1.89) facing Reds LHP Reiver Sanmartin (0-2, 7.11).
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