Dodgers beat Diamondbacks to clinch NL West title
The Associated Press
PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks almost got the Los Angeles Dodgers out of town, if not out of mind.
But the Dodgers rallied in the final game between the two teams this season for a 7-6 victory on Thursday behind Hanley Ramirez’s two home runs.
And the Diamondbacks had to watch the Dodgers celebrate clinching the NL West title.
“Maybe this year it’s them,” Arizona’s Martin Prado said, “maybe next year it’s us.”
The Dodgers ran back out from the clubhouse and jumped in the Chase Field swimming pool to celebrate, much to the displeasure of Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers and other members of the organization.
But there was little that could be done. It was time for the Dodgers to party, and for the Diamondbacks to contemplate a faded season.
“We were in first place for a long time and let it slip away,” Arizona starter Wade Miley said. “To watch them do that it is hard to swallow.”
Ramirez, in the lineup after being sidelined five of six games with an irritated nerve in his lower back, played in his 1,090th career game, but this will be his first postseason. Only three active players have played more games without making the playoffs.
“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.”
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, 9½ games behind the first-place Diamondbacks, before play on June 22. Los Angeles has gone 58-23 since, including an astounding 42-8 run.
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.
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.
“We’re a veteran ballclub,” Adrian Gonzalez said. “We understand it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”
• Jered Weaver was scratched from his Friday start for the Los Angeles Angels with tightness in his right forearm. The Angels announced Thursday that Matt Shoemaker will make his major-league debut in Weaver’s spot when the Angels open their final homestand against the Mariners.
• Houston Astros All-Star catcher Jason Castro had a cyst removed from his right knee and is expected to begin offseason workouts soon.
• David Wright is expected to return to the New York Mets’ lineup Friday night in Philadelphia after missing seven weeks with a strained right hamstring.