ARLINGTON, Texas — The Los Angeles Dodgers did what they have to do in a playoff race when taking on last-place teams in consecutive series. They won every game.
Alex Wood pitched seven scoreless innings and the Dodgers hit three solo homers in a 3-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Wednesday, matching a season-best with their fifth straight victory a night before the opener of a four-game NL West showdown at home against division-leading Arizona.
"Its' really nice for us to string five together like we have," Wood said. "Those five games came at the right time."
Cody Bellinger and Manny Machado hit first-pitch homers off Mike Minor (10-7). Yasmani Grandal also went deep for the defending National League champion Dodgers.
"I think we're cooking as a whole team right now," Bellinger said. "It's just a matter of producing on the field. It's just a matter of time until the talent takes over."
Los Angeles (72-61) remained within a game of the Diamondbacks (73-60), who won 3-1 at San Francisco on Wednesday night. The Dodgers were only a half-game behind idle Colorado (72-60).
Wood (8-6) limited the Rangers to four singles, throwing 67 of 98 pitches for strikes with five strikeouts and two walks. The lefty had faced the Rangers only once before, pitching at Texas for Atlanta four years ago when he struck out nine and allowed a run on four hits.
Kenta Maeda, a 20-game starter for the Dodgers this season, worked the ninth to get his first save since June 2017. He did give up an RBI double to active career hits leader Adrian Beltre , whose 3,142nd hit broke a tie with Tony Gwynn and matched Robin Yount for 17th on the all-time list.
After sweeping a three-game series against San Diego last weekend, the Dodgers won both games at Texas in their final interleague series of the season.
The solo homers by Bellinger and Machado were the only hits and runs off Minor in his six innings. The lefty, a teammate of Wood's in Atlanta in 2013-14, struck out seven and walked three.
Bellinger's 21st homer of the season put the Dodgers ahead to stay in the third inning. Machado hit the first pitch of the fourth into almost the same spot on the hill in straightway center field. That was Machado's 32nd homer this season, his eighth in 37 games for Los Angeles since being traded last month from the Baltimore Orioles.
"The home runs didn't really bother me as much, solo shots, but the three walks bothered me," Minor said. "They were bad pitches. They put good swings on it, and that's what happens."
STILL THE CLOSER
When the Dodgers took a 3-0 lead into the ninth inning, closer Kenley Jansen was sitting in the dugout instead of coming out of the bullpen. Manager Dave Roberts said after the game that Jansen is still the closer despite allowing runs in all four appearances since coming off the disabled list Aug. 20 following a hospital stay due to heart issues. That included Tuesday night in Texas. Roberts said there was no plan to use Jansen on Wednesday night before the Arizona series.
The Dodgers finished the game with four hits, the three homers and a triple. According to baseballreference.com, they are the first team since at least 1908 to have that combination when having only four hits in a game.
OUT AT HOME
Dodgers RF Yasiel Puig, in the lineup while awaiting a ruling on his appeal of a two-game suspension from a bench-clearing incident Aug. 16 against San Francisco, had the triple in the seventh, when his face slammed into the ground on an awkward slide into the bag. The inning ended when he was thrown out trying to steal home even after getting a good jump off third base against reliever Alex Claudio.
THE OTHER LEAGUE
The Dodgers wrapped up their interleague schedule with a 12-8 record. They won all four games against the Rangers, including two at Dodger Stadium in June. Texas is 7-10 against NL teams, and has to sweep its three-game series at San Diego from Sept. 14-16 to avoid its first losing record in interleague play in 12 seasons.
Dodgers: After their only two road games in a 15-game stretch, the Dodgers head home for the big series against Arizona. Rich Hill is 0-5 in seven starts against the Diamondbacks since getting traded to Los Angeles two years ago.
Rangers: Texas has its second scheduled day off in four days Thursday before a three-game weekend series at home against Minnesota.