The Dodgers rallied past the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday to clinch the National League Western Division Champions title. The Boys in Blue are headed to the playoffs for the first time since 2009. Mario Solis reports from Phoenix for NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Sept. 19, 2013.
After stalling to start September with a 7-10 record, the Dodgers finally clinched the NL West on Thursday, with a 7-6 victory over Arizona.
They had to make a comeback after falling behind early, but a three-run deficit is nothing compared to the comeback they made this season, as the Boys in Blue powered their way to the win.
Ricky Nolasco had another bad outing after a disastrous 1.1-inning, seven-run start on Sunday. On Thursday, he gave up six runs in five innings, with nine hits allowed and five strikeouts.
He really only had one bad inning, but that one troublesome frame put the Dodgers in a big hole early. With a three-run lead in the third, Nolasco gave up two singles, a double and a triple before getting an out -- tying the game at 3-3.
The runs kept on coming with two more doubles and a single for a total of seven hits and six runs in the third inning. Outside of that one inning, Nolasco gave up just two hits and no runs.
With the bats, the Dodgers flashed some power with three home runs, two coming off the bat of Hanley Ramirez. He broke the game open in the third with a three-run blast to left field, his 19th home run of the season.
With their team down 6-3, Juan Uribe and Scott Van Slyke hit back-to-back doubles for one run, and Michael Young hit a sacrifice fly to shrink the deficit to one. Ramirez got back into the action in the seventh with a leadoff home run to tie the game 6-6.
Ramirez was the Dodgers' biggest offensive force, keeping them in the game, hitting 4-5 with four RBIs.
A.J. Ellis provided the Dodgers with the go-ahead run, another solo jack to give them a 7-6 lead. He had been struggling in September -- hitting 7-46 -- but he went 3-4 and hit his first home run of the month, a game-winning, division-clinching blast to left field.
The Dodgers bullpen did a great job of shutting down Arizona after their big six-run inning with strong middle-inning relief from Brandon League, J.P. Howell and Brian Wilson. They combined for no hits and three strikeouts in three innings.
Kenley Jansen came in for the save, but had to face Arizona's biggest bats, Paul Goldschmidt, Martin Prado and Aaron Hill. He struck out Goldschmidt and Prado, and got Hill to fly out to end the game 7-6.
The Dodgers are the first team this season to clinch a playoff spot, but are still 2.5 games behind Atlanta for the best record in the National League, and home-field advantage in the playoffs.