Dodgers advance to NLCS with sweep of Diamondbacks

Dodgers second baseman Logan Forsythe scores on a wild pitch by DBacks pitcher Robbie Ray

Dodgers second baseman Logan Forsythe scores on a wild pitch by DBacks pitcher Robbie Ray

First #postseason homer for @Cody_Bellinger? The D-backs were swept in their first division series since 2011 after dropping the game 3-1 to Los Angeles.

After a rough first season in Arizona in 2016, Greinke ranked among the NL's top half-dozen hurlers in several key categories including ERA (3.20, sixth) and WAR (6.0, fourth), but he couldn't get out of the fourth inning in the NL Wild Card Game.

Not long after the final out of Game 3, players embraced and congratulated each other in the Diamondbacks clubhouse.

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Bellinger, the likely NL Rookie of the Year, had 39 regular-season homers but was 1-for-12 in the NLDS before his opposite-field homer made it 2-0 in the fifth inning. On Saturday, Dodgers' skipper Dave Roberts announced that he would consider removing his ace earlier in games, rather than pushing him to the seventh or eighth inning in order to preserve the bullpen.

Kenley Jansen pitched around a one-out single to David Peralta in the ninth inning for his second save of the series.

It is possible to make the case the Dodgers, at least as they appeared against the Diamondbacks, are even better now than they were at their regular-season best - which is saying something, considering they were 55 games over.500 at their high-water mark (91-36 on August 25) and were on a 116-win pace at that point. Darvish was brilliant with just 76 pitches over five innings, allowing just two hits and a hit batsman, striking out seven. He struck out four and walked five.

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The Dodgers' 1-16 skid from late August into September seemed unusual while it was happening. "Sweeping the series in three games is the greatest". With runners on the corners and one out, Cody Bellinger grounded out to first giving the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.

And that begins with pitching aggressively.

Veteran Daniel Descalso, who provided a major boost off the bench and as a part-time starting second baseman this season, said the Diamondbacks can still get better. Yasiel Puig finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs. After Justin Turner lined out to center field, moving Taylor to third base, Bellinger brought Taylor home with a ground out. They'll will move to the NLCS, where they will have a chance to win their first pennant since 1988, even though they've been in the NLCS in five out of the last 10 seasons. Acquired at the July 31 trade deadline from the Texas Rangers - precisely for moments such as these - Darvish, a four-time all-star, delivered a gem in Monday night's clincher, reduced to a five-inning stint only because the Dodgers' bullpen is so deep and functional these days. On Monday, his bold philosophies were on full display, beginning with a seemingly controversial lifting of Darvish after he hit pinch-hitter Christian Walker in the helmet to lead off the sixth. Cingrani was backed by Brandon Morrow who toss 1 and 1 1/3 scoreless innings while facing the heart of the Dbacks lineup in the bottom of the 7th.

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