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Pollock homers twice as Dodgers beat Angels to clinch MLB's best record

Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder A.J. Pollock watches his solo home run, off Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Patrick Sandoval, clear the wall in the first inning Sunday at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder A.J. Pollock watches his solo home run, off Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Patrick Sandoval, clear the wall in the first inning Sunday at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 28 (UPI) -- A.J. Pollock hacked two home runs to help the Los Angeles Dodgers punctuate the abbreviated regular season with a three-game sweep of the crosstown Angels and finish with the best record in Major League Baseball.

Pollock went 3 for 3 with three RBIs, two runs scored and a walk in the 5-0 triumph Sunday at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The Dodgers bullpen combined to allow just three hits in the shutout.

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"It's definitely gratifying to go out there and perform and feel good and contribute to the team," Pollock told reporters. "It's always fun getting the chance to go out and win a ring.

"We have a lot of challenges ahead, but we are in a good spot right now."

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The Dodgers compiled a 43-17 record for the COVID-19 shortened 60-game season, claiming the best record in baseball for the second time in four years. They next host the Milwaukee Brewers in a National League wild card series at 10 p.m. EDT Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.

The Angels (26-34) finished the season in fourth place in the American League West and failed to make the playoffs, which were temporarily expanded this year by six teams.

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The Angeles fired general manager Billy Eppler after the loss. The franchise hasn't produced a winning season since 2014.

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Dodgers starter Victor Gonzalez retired the first three Angels hitters in order to start Sunday's game.

In his first at-bat, Pollock took two consecutive balls from Angels starter Patrick Sandoval before swatting the 2-0 fastball to left field for a 401-foot solo home run to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.

Corey Seager brought in another run when he grounded into a double play in the bottom of the third and the Dodgers went up 3-0 after scoring on a fielding error in the same inning.

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Pollock returned to the plate for his second home run in the bottom of the seventh inning. Angels relief pitcher Hoby Milner allowed a Joc Pederson single in the first at-bat before Pollock got ahead 3-1 in the count and smashed Milner's fifth offering to center field for a 407-foot, two-run homer.

Sandoval allowed one hit and three runs in 2 2/3 innings for his fifth loss of the season. Dustin May, in his third win in relief for the Dodgers, allowed two hits and had five strikeouts in four scoreless innings to finish his 2020 campaign at 3-1.

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