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Bellinger's 7th HR only the beginning as LA rolls

@kengurnick
April 8, 2019

DENVER -- The Rockies took the Dodgers to Game 163 last year, but so far this year nobody in the division is in the Dodgers’ league, and nobody of this era is in Cody Bellinger's league. As the Dodgers completed a series sweep at Coors Field Sunday night with a

DENVER -- The Rockies took the Dodgers to Game 163 last year, but so far this year nobody in the division is in the Dodgers’ league, and nobody of this era is in Cody Bellinger's league.

As the Dodgers completed a series sweep at Coors Field Sunday night with a 12-6 rout of Colorado, Bellinger slugged his MLB-leading seventh home run for his 18th RBI. Since RBIs began being tracked in 1920, the only other player with seven homers and 18 RBIs in the first 10 games of a season was Willie Mays in 1964, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

And Bellinger didn’t stop there on this night, showing off all the tools in his kit on Sunday Night Baseball. He legged out an infield single before Max Muncy’s homer, doubled, scored four runs, made a very tough catch in foul ground to cut off a Colorado rally in the first inning and threw out Trevor Story trying to go first to third on a two-out, sixth-inning single by Nolan Arenado with the Rockies down by six runs.

“I think any way you can help offensively or defensively, and if you can get both in one day, that’s a huge confidence booster and everyone wants to do that,” said Bellinger.

Bellinger is batting .455 with a 1.512 OPS. And he has only six strikeouts in 44 at-bats (13.6 percent) after striking out 27 percent of the time last year.

“Just feel really good and just trying to stay within myself in the cage and not get too ahead of myself and give in to the hype and just try to perform,” he said.

Bellinger isn't doing it alone. The Dodgers are batting .307 as team, with 24 homers, including Muncy’s third of the season, even though he didn’t start the game. Muncy’s came two innings before Bellinger’s to extend the team’s franchise record to 10 consecutive games with a homer to start the season.

The Dodgers also hit five doubles, two by Corey Seager, and drew 10 walks, four of them scoring runs. Austin Barnes, who hit .205 last year, is batting .421. Enrique Hernandez is hitting .367. Russell Martin, who hit .194 last year in Toronto, is hitting .417. Justin Turner has quickly brought his average to .300.

“We’re good,” said Bellinger.

The Dodgers ran their win streak to five and improved their win percentage in 10 games, all against National League West clubs, to .800, scoring at least 10 runs four times. The next 16 games are against NL Central clubs, beginning Monday night in St. Louis.

The Dodgers have scored 84 runs through their first 10 games. Only the 1932 Yankees (90) and 1999 Indians (87) have scored more in their first 10 games of the season.

“I still think there’s more in there,” said manager Dave Roberts. “This is a byproduct of good at-bats. A lot of productive outs. When we take a lead, we add on. A lot of good things.”

The Dodgers had seven RBIs from the bottom four spots of the batting order. That included an RBI single from starting pitcher Julio Urias, who struggled with his command and didn’t get out of the fourth inning.

“Colorado,” Urias joked of his hit, although he couldn’t pinpoint why he lacked fastball command.

Roberts said Urias will make at least one more start before being bumped to the bullpen by the return to the rotation of Clayton Kershaw.

Joe Kelly, Caleb Ferguson and Dennis Santana (recalled before the game) allowed two runs over the final 5 1/3 innings. Dodgers relievers pitched 13 1/3 of the 27 innings played in the series.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.