Dodgers finally clinch

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Last night the Los Angeles Dodgers finally ended days and weeks of speculation, worry and wonder — they beat the reigning World Series Champion San Francisco Giants, in San Francisco, clinching their third consecutive National League West title.

Clayton Kershaw
Clayton Kershaw

In the past 11 days the Dodgers have had two 4-game losing streaks, causing Dodger fans to wonder if their team was ever going to clinch. They were swept by the Colorado Rockies, in Denver, before making their way to San Francisco for their final series of the season against their closest NL West rivals, the Giants.

The Giants still had a chance to win the division and they started the series by winning in extra innings. After the game Dodgers starter Zack Greinke said he was confident the Dodgers would clinch. He was spared the loss, after giving up two runs in 7 innings, when Andre Ethier grounded out to second, allowing Corey Seager to score and tie the game. Yimi Garcia got the “L” for the Dodgers after putting the scoring run on base in the bottom of the 12th. Hunter Strickland picked up the win for the Giants.

But On Tuesday Night three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw pitched a complete game, a 1-hit shutout for his 16th win of the season. His teammates put up eight runs against the World Series Champions, giving the left-hander a big cushion.

The 2014 World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner got the loss, giving up four runs in 5-2/3 innings, including three solo home runs, two of them in the 6th inning. Enrique “Kike” Hernandez got one in the third; Justin Ruggiano and A.J. Ellis each got one in the 6th.

Justin Turner started the scoring with a sacrifice fly in the first that brought Hernandez home. Rookie Corey Seager provided an RBI and scored in the 8th when Ethier hit a triple. Ethier would then score on a single by Ellis.

There are two more games in San Francisco; tonight Mike Bolsinger (6-5) gets the start for the Dodgers and Mike Leake (10-10) starts for the Giants. On Thursday Brett Anderson (9-9) will start for L.A. and Tim Hudson (8-8) for San Francisco.

Claudia Gestro with Dodgers bullpen coach Chuck Crim
Claudia Gestro with Dodgers bullpen coach Chuck Crim

The Dodgers will close out the season with a three-game series against the San Diego Padres at home in Dodger Stadium, starting Friday.

Their most likely opponent when the post-season begins will be the New York Mets. The question is, as bullpen coach Chuck Crim put it in a recent interview: will the series start at home or in New York? The Mets are one game ahead of the Dodgers. With five games left in the regular season it could go either way.

(Photos by Claudia Gestro,
except top photo: YouTube.
L.A. Post-Examiner Staff contributed to this article.