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Dodgers become first team to clinch MLB playoff berth with win over Padres

Steve Gardner
USA TODAY

The Los Angeles Dodgers moved a step closer to their eighth consecutive NL West division title Wednesday night with a 7-5 win over their closest pursuers, the San Diego Padres.

In the process, the Dodgers improved their MLB-best record to 35-15 and officially became the first team to clinch a playoff spot with 10 games still to play. 

A.J. Pollock and Chris Taylor homered, and Mookie Betts stole three bases to lead the L.A. attack. 

"I’m celebrating by saying I’m proud of our guys and it was a great series,” said manager Dave Roberts, who grew up in northern San Diego County and both played for and was a coach with the Padres before getting the Dodgers’ job. “I think it caught us all by surprise because we were so focused on trying to win this series. I think word will travel once we get on the plane.”

After losing the opener of their three game series, the Dodgers came back to win the last two to extend their lead over the Padres to 3 1/2 games in the division and reduce their magic number to seven.

Shortstop Corey Seager, center, congratulates Mookie Betts, right, after the Dodgers defeated the Padres on Wednesday to secure a spot in the postseason.

Although they won't come close to a single-season franchise record for wins, this Dodgers team could still make history. Their .700 winning percentage is currently better than the club record .682, set in 1953 -- when the team was based in Brooklyn and featured Hall of Famers Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella and Duke Snider. 

The Dodgers need six wins in their final 10 games to finish with a .683 winning percentage.

Contributing: The Associated Press.