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Los Angeles at Arizona

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L.A. Dodgers (88-65) «0030021107111
Arizona (77-75)0060000006101

Dodgers rally past D-Backs, clinch NL West title

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PHOENIX -- The Los Angeles Dodgers soaked everyone in sight with champagne in the clubhouse. Many players raced back out for a celebratory dip in Arizona's Chase Field swimming pool.

From last place to an NL West title in less than three months, they sure let loose.

Burdened by high expectations and a horrible start, the Dodgers relieved their pent-up pressure with a joyful celebration after becoming the first team this year to clinch a playoff spot. Hanley Ramirez hit two home runs as they rallied to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-6 on Thursday.

"I want to keep going," Ramirez said. "I think that we've got a couple of more steps to do. We've got to keep working and stay together all the way through to the end."

Ramirez was back in the lineup after being sidelined five of six games with an irritated nerve in his lower back. He's played 1,090 regular-season games but will be making his first trip to the postseason. Only three active players have played more games without making the playoffs.

Despite an NL-high payroll of $214 million-plus on opening day, the Dodgers got off to an 30-42 start and were last in the division, 9 1/2 games behind the first-place Diamondbacks, before play on June 22. Los Angeles has gone 58-23 since, including an unreal 42-8 run that coincided mostly with dynamic Cuban defector Yasiel Puig's callup to the major leagues.

"I'm a guy that doesn't show a lot of emotion," manager Don Mattingly said. "I really try to keep it kind of even. But this is a great accomplishment for these guys. We put a great team together and a big payroll with huge expectations. A lot of time that falls apart and it had a chance to fall apart during the season, I thought.

"But the coaching staff stuck together. These guys were loyal to me. There was no backbiting or somebody trying to leap over me. They stuck together. ... The players came together, we got healthy, and then we just rolled."

The Dodgers trailed 6-3 in the sixth and A.J. Ellis hit a tiebreaking homer off Josh Collmenter (4-4) leading off the eighth.

J.P. Howell (2-1) got two outs for the victory. Kenley Jansen struck two in the ninth for his 26th save.

Clinching on the home field of their nearest, but not very near, rival, the Dodgers charged the mound after Aaron Hill flew out to left field for the final out. They mobbed Jansen and the throng bounced out toward second base in continued celebration. A few Diamondbacks watched from the dugout. Most made their way to the clubhouse.

"That was pretty awesome, man," Jansen said. "It showed that we never quit. We kept playing hard. Even today, they scored six runs, we never quit. That's pretty awesome."

Ramirez, hit a three-run homer in the third inning and a tying solo shot in the seventh. It was his 14th career multihomer game and first since Aug. 18 of last year.

It was fitting he was the star of the clinching win.

"We're a veteran ballclub," Adrian Gonzalez said. "We understand it's not how you start, it's how you finish."

In the ninth, with a sizeable contingent of Dodger fans roaring its approval, Jansen fanned Paul Goldschmidt and Martin Prado before Hill's fly all ended it.

Arizona manager Kirk Gibson, whose team won the division two years ago, appreciated what the Dodgers had accomplished, even if it was difficult to watch them celebrate on the Diamondbacks' turf.

"You just take it in and reflect on some things," Gibson said. "We still have to play hard the rest of the way out. It is disappointing. We fought hard and the guys played good today. We were unable to secure the lead."

With a new ownership taking over from Frank McCourt on May 1 last year, the Dodgers stumbled this spring and Mattingly's job appeared to be in jeopardy.

But Los Angeles won 17 of 20 leading into the All-Star break and was 22 games above .500 after a three-game sweep of the Mets on Aug. 17.

Lately, the banged-up team had struggled, losing nine of 12 and five of six entering Thursday's games.

Los Angeles started strong in this one, though.

Arizona starter Wade Miley's troubles in the third began when he walked Dodgers starter Ricky Nolasco to lead off the inning. Puig was forced out at second on a throw from right fielder Gerardo Parra after the base runner held up on Jerry Hairston Jr.'s blooper. That brought up Ramirez and he homered to left to make it 3-0.

Nolasco couldn't hold it.

Arizona started the third with four consecutive hits, including an RBI double from Paul Goldschmidt and two-run triple by Prado to tie it at 3. Miguel Montero singled Prado home with the go-ahead run. After Parra's two-out single, Miley's double to deep left-center brought the runners in to make it 6-3.

Los Angeles came back.

Consecutive doubles by Juan Uribe and Scott Van Slyke, followed by Ellis' RBI single cut the lead to 6-5 in the sixth, then Ramirez led off the seventh with his 20th home run of the season, on an 0-2 pitch from Chaz Roe, and it was tied 6-all.

Collmenter came on to get Arizona out of trouble in the seventh, but Ellis, the No. 9 hitter in the Dodgers batting order, sent the first pitch of the eighth just over the fence in left and Los Angeles led 7-6.

Miley went five innings, allowing three runs on five hits with four walks and three strikeouts. Nolasco went five innings, giving up six runs on nine hits.

Notes

Dodgers 1B Gonzalez sat out the game with sore quadriceps. ... Los Angeles moves on to San Diego, where RHP Edinson Volquez (9-11, 5.94 ERA) takes the mound for the Dodgers in Friday night's series opener against Padres LHP Robbie Erlin (2-3, 5.18). ... Arizona embarks on its final road trip of the season, with Randall Delgado (5-6, 3.98) going for the Diamondbacks against Colorado's Jholys Chacin (13-9. 3.22). ... The Diamondbacks have three home games left, against Washington Sept. 27-29.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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A.J. Ellis, whose home run provides the winning margin, is in the center of the Dodgers' celebration as it begins.  (USATSI)
A.J. Ellis, whose home run provides the winning margin, is in the center of the Dodgers' celebration as it begins. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Los Angeles

H. Ramirez
AB 5
R 2
H 4
HR 2
RBI 4
Arizona

M. Prado
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
 
Los Angeles (N.L.) Dodgers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Yasiel Puig, RF4000104 .332
Jerry Hairston Jr., 1B4100004 .221
   Brandon League, P0000000 .000
   Skip Schumaker, LF1000000 .268
Hanley Ramirez, SS5244000 .351
   Kenley Jansen, P0000000 .000
Matt Kemp, CF4010122 .274
Mark Ellis, 2B4000011 .269
Juan Uribe, 3B4110012 .273
Scott Van Slyke, LF3111101 .250
   J.P. Howell, P0000000 .000
   Brian Wilson, P0000000 .000
   Adrian Gonzalez, 1B0000000 .294
A.J. Ellis, C4131001 .240
Ricky Nolasco, P0100200 .122
   a-Michael Young, PH-1B1011000 .282
   Nick Punto, SS0000000 .258
Totals34711754  
a-hit a sacrifice fly for Nolasco in the 6th
Batting
2B - Juan Uribe (19, Harris), Scott Van Slyke (8, Harris), A.J. Ellis (16, Miley)
HR - Hanley Ramirez 2 (20, Miley), A.J. Ellis (8, Collmenter)
SF - Michael Young (2)
SH - Mark Ellis (6)
RBI - Hanley Ramirez 4 (57), Scott Van Slyke (19), A.J. Ellis (46), Michael Young (46)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
E - Hanley Ramirez (13, Missed catch of throw)
Los Angeles (N.L.) Dodgers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Ricky Nolasco 5966050 3.55
Brandon League 1.1100010 5.43
J.P. Howell (W,3-1) 0.2000100 2.12
Brian Wilson (H,2) 1000010 0.87
Kenley Jansen (S,26) 1000020 1.95
WP - Brandon League (9), J.P. Howell (3)
HBP - Goldschmidt (by Ricky Nolasco)
Pitches-Strikes - Ricky Nolasco 74-59, Brandon League 17-10, J.P. Howell 12-4, Brian Wilson 13-8, Kenley Jansen 10-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ricky Nolasco 8-3, Brandon League 1-2, J.P. Howell 2-0, Brian Wilson 2-0
Batters Faced - Ricky Nolasco 27, Brandon League 5, J.P. Howell 3, Brian Wilson 3, Kenley Jansen 3
Arizona Diamondbacks
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Adam Eaton, LF5110021 .261
A.J. Pollock, CF5120010 .261
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B4111011 .304
Martin Prado, 3B4122011 .280
Aaron Hill, 2B5000014 .298
Miguel Montero, C4011010 .239
Didi Gregorius, SS3100101 .256
Gerardo Parra, RF4120001 .265
Wade Miley, P2012011 .143
   a-Matt Davidson, PH1000011 .231
   Will Harris, P0000000 .000
   Chaz Roe, P0000000 .000
   Josh Collmenter, P0000000 .091
   David Hernandez, P0000000 .000
   b-Willie Bloomquist, PH1000000 .336
   Brad Ziegler, P0000000 .000
Totals38610619  
a-struck out for Miley in the 5th
b-grounded out for Hernandez in the 8th
Batting
2B - Paul Goldschmidt (33, Nolasco), Gerardo Parra (38, Nolasco), Wade Miley (3, Nolasco)
3B - Martin Prado (2, Nolasco)
RBI - Paul Goldschmidt (119), Martin Prado 2 (78), Miguel Montero (42), Wade Miley 2 (8)
2-OUT RBI - Wade Miley 2 (6)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Gerardo Parra 1
DP - Gregorius-Hill-Goldschmidt, Gregorius-Hill-Goldschmidt-Prado-Hill-Goldschmidt
E - Gerardo Parra (5, Throwing)
Arizona Diamondbacks
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Wade Miley 5533431 3.75
Will Harris 0322000 3.17
Chaz Roe (BS,2) 1111101 3.44
Josh Collmenter (L,4-4) 1211001 2.76
David Hernandez 1000000 4.71
Brad Ziegler 1000010 2.33
Pitches-Strikes - Wade Miley 103-56, Will Harris 15-8, Chaz Roe 16-8, Josh Collmenter 14-12, David Hernandez 5-3, Brad Ziegler 6-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wade Miley 5-6, Chaz Roe 2-1, Josh Collmenter 1-2, David Hernandez 2-0, Brad Ziegler 2-0
Batters Faced - Wade Miley 23, Will Harris 3, Chaz Roe 5, Josh Collmenter 5, David Hernandez 2, Brad Ziegler 3
Game Information
Attendance - 22763
Game Time - 3:10
Temperature - 74
Umpires - Home - Jim Joyce, First Base - Andy Fletcher, Second Base - Rob Drake, Third Base - Joe West