Bellinger too much for Bucs
Late Friday: Los Angeles 6, Pittsburgh 2
LOS ANGELES — Cody Bellinger’s one mighty swing of the bat was loaded with historical significance.
Bellinger hit a two-run homer in the first inning and the Dodgers set a major league record with homers in 33 consecutive home games in a 6-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.
Bellinger’s blast was noteworthy for other reasons, too. He moved into a tie for the major league lead for home runs with the Milwaukee Brewers’ Christian Yelich at 13 and set the major league record for total bases in the months of March-April with 88. He also set a Dodgers’ record for home runs in March-April, moving past Matt Kemp.
With his total-base mark, he moved past former teammate Chase Utley, who had 85 total bases before the start of May in the 2008 season as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. Utley, who now works in baseball operations for the Dodgers, was on hand before Friday’s game.
“It feels pretty cool,” Bellinger said about passing Utley’s mark. “I honestly didn’t know until he told me at the game today. So hopefully he is here (Saturday) so we can talk about it.”
So it was Utley that informed him that a record-breaking night could be ahead?
“No, they told me in the dugout after it happened,” Bellinger said.
With home runs in their first 14 home games this season, the Dodgers also matched this year’s Milwaukee Brewers and the 1962 New York Mets for most consecutive home games with a home run to open a season.
Josh Bell hit a home run for the Pirates, who were otherwise held in check by Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu. The Pirates lost a season-worst sixth consecutive game, a skid that followed a five-game winning streak.
“Like I always say, it’s pretty comfortable pitching at home, especially knowing how my teammates will help me in terms of putting up runs early,” Ryu said through an interpreter. “That has led to successful results. And seeing that consecutive (home-run streak) definitely builds my confidence.”
Ryu (3-1) struck out 10 and gave up two runs over seven innings in his second start since returning from the injured list due to a strained left groin. It was the first time the left-hander reached double-digits in strikeouts since July 13, 2014.
“He pitched us basically as we anticipated because he had good stuff, he mixed his pitches well,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “He kept the ball away, he kept the ball down, the cutter played in tight. We had early opportunities we weren’t able to get traction with and that hurt us.”
Pirates starter Chris Archer (1-2) gave up six runs on six hits over four innings.