Dodgers beat A’s to clinch eighth consecutive NL West title

  • The Dodgers’ A.J. Pollock #11 hits a home run in the bottom of the fourth inning during their game against the Athletics at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Tuesday, September22, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodger starting pitcher Dustin May #85 during their game against the Athletics at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Tuesday, September22, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Athletics’ Tony Kemp #5 steals second base as the Dodgers’ Chris Taylor #3 catches the throw from catcher Will Smith during their game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Tuesday, September22, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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  • The Athletics’ Mark Canha #20 can’t make the catch on a home run by the Dodgers’ A.J. Pollock in the bottom of the fourth inning during their game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Tuesday, September22, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Max Muncy #13 shakes hands with Corey Seager #5 after he hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the third inning during their game against the Athletics at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Tuesday, September22, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodger outfielder Mookie Betts #50 makes a running catch for the out on an Athletics’ Tommy La Stella #3 fly ball in the first inning during their game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Tuesday, September22, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ A.J. Pollock #11 rounds the bases after hitting a home run in the bottom of the fourth inning during their game against the Athletics at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Tuesday, September22, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Max Muncy #13 points to the sky after hitting a two-run homer in the bottom of the third inning during their game against the Athletics at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Tuesday, September22, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Max Muncy #13 hits a two-run homer in the bottom of the third inning during their game against the Athletics at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Tuesday, September22, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger #35 beats the throw to the Athletics’ Marcus Semien #10 for a double in the bottom of the first inning during their game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Tuesday, September22, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Athletics starting pitcher Frankie Montas #47 during their game against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Tuesday, September22, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Max Muncy #13 hits a two-run homer in the bottom of the third inning during their game against the Athletics at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Tuesday, September22, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Athletics’ Sean Murphy #12 scores on a Dodgers’ Dustin May #85 wild pitch in the top of the third inning during their game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Tuesday, September22, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Mookie Betts #50 scores in the bottom of the first inning during their game against the Athletics at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Tuesday, September22, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • The Dodgers’ Mookie Betts #50 smiles after taking second base on a wild pitch in the bottom of the first inning as the Athletics’ Marcus Semien #10 stands nearby during their game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Tuesday, September22, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Dodger starting pitcher Dustin May #85 during their game against the Athletics at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Tuesday, September22, 2020. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

LOS ANGELES — It has grown more impressive each September — only to lose its luster with each subsequent October.

For now, enjoy the sweet spot in between.

For the eighth consecutive season, the Dodgers clinched the National League West, hitting four home runs in a 7-2 victory over the Oakland A’s on Tuesday night while the second-place San Diego Padres were losing to the Angels. The win also clinched the Dodgers’ status as the No. 1 seed in the National League playoffs.

Since the leagues were split into divisions in 1969, only two teams have lorded over their neighbors longer than the Dodgers. The New York Yankees won nine consecutive American League East titles from 1998 through 2006. And the Atlanta Braves won 14 consecutive division titles from 1991 through 2005 (with no division championships to be had in the strike-shortened 1994 season).

The Braves and Yankees each validated their division dominance with World Series titles, something the Dodgers will again try to do starting next week.

Only two Dodgers — Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen — have been with the team for all eight titles.

It is further testament to the length of this run that Dustin May was starting his sophomore year of high school when it began. He went five innings Tuesday to join the expected (Kershaw in 2014 and 2015, Walker Buehler in 2018 and 2019) and the unexpected (Joe Blanton in 2016 and J.P. Howell in 2013) as the Dodgers’ winning pitcher in a division-clinching game during this run.

With the Dodgers’ postseason rotation plans still a thought exercise for the front office, May gave up a solo home run to the second batter he faced Tuesday night, walked a season-high three and threw two wild pitches while also striking out five and allowing just two singles after Robbie Grossman’s home run.

The Dodgers’ bullpen took it from there, allowing just two hits in four scoreless innings while the offense did what it does. Max Muncy, Chris Taylor and A.J. Pollock hit home runs off A’s starter Frankie Montas (the Brusdar Graterol of Dodgers spring training 2016) and Corey Seager went deep off lefty reliever T.J. McFarland.

Muncy’s 424-foot, two-run home run was a positive sign from one of the Dodgers’ trio of slumping left-handers (along with Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson, who returned to the lineup Tuesday). Bellinger has shown signs of coming around recently and was on base four times Tuesday — a run-scoring infield single, a double and two walks.

The Taylor and Pollock home runs were positive signs that Dodgers manager Dave Roberts might not use up as much ink this October, writing out heavily-platooned lineups and chasing handed-ness advantages.

“That’s fair,” Roberts said to that before Tuesday’s game. “It’s still contingent upon performance. But … it’s not a very platoon-driven lineup.”

Taylor, in particular, has forced Roberts’ hand and could find an October home at second base. During September, he has gone 22 for 67 (.328) with six doubles, six home runs and 22 RBIs in 18 games.

“Things can obviously change,” Roberts said. “But I think right now, with what Chris Taylor has done this year and what he’s done in years past, playing (Taylor) against left and right (-handed pitching) seems to give us the best chance. And AJ’s at-bats this year have been very good. I like the balance in our lineup.”

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