Dodgers beat Cardinals to secure NL’s best record

Freddie Freeman had a first-inning RBI double in his return to the starting lineup to spark the host Los Angeles Dodgers toward a 4-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday, clinching the best record in the National League.

Cody Bellinger added an RBI double for the Dodgers (106-47), and rookie Michael Grove gave up one run over five innings in his sixth career appearance and fifth start.

The Dodgers matched the record for most wins in a season in franchise history, set in 2019 and tied last season. Los Angeles has nine games remaining in which to set a new mark.

Yadier Molina had an RBI single for the NL Central-leading Cardinals (89-65), who dropped consecutive games to the Dodgers after winning Friday, when Albert Pujols hit two home runs to reach 700 for his career.

The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead Sunday on Freeman’s double in the first inning. The first baseman was out of the lineup for the past two games with an illness. They were just the second and third games he did not start this season.

The Dodgers added a bases-loaded walk from Joey Gallo later in the first inning for a 2-0 lead.

Molina, in his last regular-season game at Dodger Stadium, hit his RBI single in the second inning to cut the deficit in half. The Dodgers got the run back in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single from Will Smith.

Bellinger’s RBI double gave the Dodgers a 4-1 lead in the third inning.

Grove (1-0) gave up three hits with one walk and three strikeouts to earn his first career win. Dodgers rookie Andre Jackson went three scoreless innings to earn his first save.

Jackson struck out pinch hitter Pujols for the second out in the ninth inning. It was Pujols’ last regular-season at-bat at Dodger Stadium.

Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright (11-11) gave up four runs on six hits over three innings with three walks and one strikeout. It was his shortest start of the season.