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Dodgers' Cody Bellinger joins rare club with 30th home run of season

By
Jake Elman
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger is on pace to set a team record for most home runs in a season. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger is on pace to set a team record for most home runs in a season. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

July 5 (UPI) -- Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star outfielder Cody Bellinger became the youngest player in more than 30 years Thursday night to hit 30 home runs by the All-Star break.

Bellinger recorded his 30th home run of the year with a lead-off round-tripper in the sixth inning of the Dodgers' 5-1 win over the San Diego Padres at Dodgers Stadium. He is the youngest player since Mark McGwire in 1987 to reach the 30-home run mark by the All-Star break.

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The 23-year-old, who turns 24 on July 13, also is the first Dodgers player to have 30 home runs by the All-Star break. Only 38 players in MLB history -- and only 19 from the National League -- have accomplished the feat.

"[I'm] just trying to keep going," Bellinger said. "Just try to stay in the present the best I can. Not get too big-headed or too down on myself. I don't try to listen to all those numbers."

McGwire, Reggie Jackson and Willie Mays are the only other players with at least 30 pre-break home runs in a single season before turning 24.

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Jackson, in his age-23 season, had 37 home runs for the 1969 Athletics before that year's All-Star Break. Mays had 31 in 1954 and McGwire had 33 in 1987.

Bellinger is hitting .344 with 71 RBIs. He is on pace to set a club record for the most home runs in a single season, passing Shawn Green's 49 in 2001.

"He's in such a good place," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "He just puts a quality at-bat every time up there. ... He's obviously a huge cog in our lineup."

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Los Angeles is 60-29 this season. The first-place Dodgers have a 14 1/2 game lead over the Colorado Rockies in the NL West Division.

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