LOS ANGELES – The records keep falling for Cody Bellinger.
In the Dodgers’ 7-6 comeback win over the Pirates on Sunday, Bellinger went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, a sacrifice fly, three RBIs and a run scored.
Bellinger's 14th home run moved him into a tie for the Major League lead with Milwaukee's Christian Yelich, and it tied the MLB record for the most homers before May 1 with Albert Pujols in 2006, Alex Rodriguez in '07 and Yelich this year.
“Pretty special. Those are incredible players,” Bellinger said. “To be in the same boat as those guys is pretty cool.”
That came after a first-inning sacrifice fly and before a seventh-inning RBI single off left-hander Francisco Liriano that plated the Dodgers’ last and decisive run of the game. With the single, Bellinger passed Rafael Furcal for the most hits in March/April in Dodgers history (44).
Bellinger also extended his MLB record for total bases before May 1 to 94, nine ahead of former teammate Chase Utley’s previous mark.
Bellinger is batting .427 with 36 RBIs, 44 hits, a .913 slugging percentage, a 1.413 OPS and 30 runs scored, all MLB-leading totals.
“I’m understanding how to use my swing and working in the cage every day to repeat what I’m doing,” Bellinger said. “Just not trying to do too much. It’s fun, for sure. Every day before the game, I know what I want to do. The days I feel off, it's knowing what it is I want to do and getting it back.”
On the home run, Bellinger fell behind in the count to Pirates starter Trevor Williams 0-2, then golfed a slider below the strike zone just over the right-field fence.
On the single off Liriano, Bellinger again fell behind 0-2 before placing the single through a defensive shift. The Dodgers' slugger struggled against left-handed pitching last year and ended up in a platoon, after winning the 2017 National League Rookie of the Year Award in a year when he handled lefties.
“I got down real quick and I’m not seeing it, just got to touch it with a guy on third,” Bellinger said. “It was cool it went through.”
Manager Dave Roberts said Bellinger is learning situational hitting.
“Lefties or righties, there’s a time to get big and try to go for the big homer or to really drive the baseball, then there’s a time when you have to use another club,” Roberts said. “I think Cody has different clubs to use. Against a tough lefty throwing the slider, to get big and try to hit a homer just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and Cody understands that. If you look at the spray charts, balls all over the field. More walks than strikeouts. Left-handed, right-handed, you can see there’s a finite intent to the work.”