October 04, 2009
After repeatedly frittering away their chances to clinch, the Dodgers' magic number finally reached zero with a 5-0 victory against the Rockies on Saturday night. A five-game losing streak is no more, as is the threat of L.A. turning into the wild card. The division-clinching champagne can be sprayed.
Clayton Kershaw(notes) (above) found himself locked in a scoreless pitchers duel with Jorge De La Rosa(notes) and — after De La Rosa injured his groin in the fourth inning — Jose Contreras(notes), but the Dodgers broke through with a five-run seventh inning against left-hander Franklin Morales(notes). Ronnie Belliard's(notes) RBI single got them started and even Manny Ramirez(notes) — who struck out four times Friday night — got into the action by driving in the fifth run.
Had the Dodgers lost the division to the Rockies, who were 15 1/2 games back on June 3, it would have been the biggest collapse in major league history. It seemed agonizing, manager Joe Torre said, but they got it done after clinching a playoff spot a week ago.
"We were some of those people who didn't think it came soon enough. We were on the brink last Sunday against Pittsburgh," said Torre, who won his 13th division crown. "It never gets old. Just to see these men turn into little boys. As Roy Campanella said, you have to have some little boy in you to play this game."
The Rockies settle for the wild card and will open the playoffs later this week at Philadelphia. The Dodgers host the Cardinals in their NLDS.
More to come soon!