LOS ANGELES (AP) – Cody Bellinger has 21 home runs, matching his age. No hitter in history has gotten off to such a powerful start.
The rookie slugger launched two more long balls to set a major league record, and Clayton Kershaw notched his 10th win despite giving up a career-high four homers Monday night as the Los Angeles Dodgers held on for a 10-6 victory over the New York Mets.
Bellinger reached 21 home runs in 51 career games – faster than any other big league player. Despite spotting the rest of the NL three weeks before he was called up from the minors, the 21-year-old first baseman leads the league in homers.
“It’s unbelievable,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “This guy swings a bat and he hits it on the barrel. Pretty impressive.”
Bellinger had his fifth multihomer game of the season, tying five others for the second-most by a rookie. Mark McGwire holds the record with seven.
“You just have a really good feeling that every time he’s up to the plate, he’s going to do some damage,” Kershaw said. “Everything he’s hitting is hit really hard. His outs are loud outs right now.”
Kershaw (10-2) struck out 10 and became the first 10-game winner in the National League despite giving up plenty of hard hits himself. The three-time Cy Young Award winner already has allowed a career-high 17 homers this year.
“I don’t know. I’m giving up a lot of home runs right now,” Kershaw said. “You hope your mistakes are hit for singles or doubles. It just so happens mine are going out of the ballpark right now. I don’t know what you do to change that, other than stop making mistakes.”
Justin Turner hit a two-run homer and Chris Taylor had a solo shot for the Dodgers, who jumped out to a 7-0 lead against struggling Mets starter Zack Wheeler (3-5) in the first two innings.
Turner had four hits and four RBIs against his former team. Bellinger also drove in four runs.
“You cannot spot Clayton Kershaw seven runs and expect to come out on top,” Collins said. “We just couldn’t stop them.”
Kershaw allowed two homers to Jose Reyes, including a two-run drive in the seventh inning. Jay Bruce also connected and rookie Gavin Cecchini hit a two-run shot for New York.
It was Cecchini’s first homer in his ninth career at-bat.
Kershaw was charged with six runs on six hits and a walk in 6 1/3 innings. His ERA jumped from an NL-best 2.23 to 2.61.
Los Angeles’ first five batters got hits, including Bellinger’s three-run homer. Bellinger followed Turner’s home run in the second with a solo shot.
The Dodgers finished with a season-high 17 hits. They have won 10 of 11 and are a season-high 19 games over .500 at 45-26.
Wheeler gave up seven runs and eight hits in two innings. He was coming off the worst start of his career last Tuesday, when he lasted only 1 2/3 innings against the Cubs.
The right-hander’s ERA has risen from 3.45 to 5.29 in two outings.
Gary Sanchez (2016 New York Yankees) and Wally Berger (1930 Boston Braves) both had 20 home runs through 51 games, but it took Berger 55 games and Sanchez 59 to reach the 21-homer mark.
Bellinger said he hasn’t been asked to participate in the Home Run Derby during All-Star festivities in Miami next month, but would be a willing participant. “I think it would be pretty cool,” he said. “It would be pretty special if my dad could throw to me. He’s been throwing BP to me my whole life.” Bellinger’s father, Clay, played in the majors from 1999-2002 with the Yankees and Angels. He hit 12 home runs in 183 career games.
Mets: LF Yoenis Cespedes was back in the lineup after getting his first full day off Sunday since coming off the disabled list. Cespedes missed six weeks with a strained hamstring before returning June 10 and playing eight consecutive games (six starts). He was hitting .458 since his return. … CF Juan Lagares had surgery in New York to repair a fracture in his left thumb.
Dodgers: 1B Adrian Gonzalez received an epidural for his herniated disk. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the team remains hopeful Gonzalez will return before the All-Star break. … Right-handed reliever Sergio Romo (left ankle sprain) was activated from the DL and struggling RHP Josh Fields was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Mets: RHP Robert Gsellman (5-4, 5.50 ERA) is coming off his worst outing of the season, when he yielded seven earned runs on a career-high 11 hits and two walks in five innings against the Nationals in New York. On the road this season, Gsellman is 4-1 with a 4.32 ERA.
Dodgers: RHP Brandon McCarthy (5-3, 3.14) has allowed more than two runs in only two of his previous 11 starts. He is 3-1 with a 2.83 ERA in six starts at Dodger Stadium.
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