Los Angeles Dodgers clinch NL West Division with 9-1 thrashing of rival Giants

September 25, 2014

In front of a packed house at Chavez Ravine Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Dodgers clinched the 2014 National League West Division with a 9-1 blowout of the San Francisco Giants thanks to some highlight plays from stars Clayton Kershaw and Yasiel Puig.  The division title was the club’s second consecutive and 13th overall.

Kershaw is so good that even when he's not at his other-worldly best, he still can dominate, as he allowed just one run, had no walks, and struck out 11 through 8 innings in a game in which he also had an out-of-character wild pitch, a balk, and an error on a pick off throw to first.  Kershaw earned his career-best 21st win on the night.

The contest had the makings of a classic pitching duel through four innings, as the Giants held a narrow 1-0 lead.

But in the bottom of the fifth, Kershaw made his case for MVP with his bat, as he smacked a clutch, two-out triple to score Carl Crawford from third, evening things at 1-1.

Puig took over the next inning, hitting a solo blast to right field that seemed to awake the Dodgers' bats.  The Boys in Blue would go on to score four runs in the sixth and another four in the eighth.

Puig also showed off his cannon arm in the seventh, as he made a spinning, accurate laser of a throw to gun down the Giants' Gregor Blanco at third.

The win means that the Dodgers will play in the postseason for the fifth time in the last nine years and will play “October Baseball” for the 28th time in franchise history (19th time in Los Angeles).

For the second consecutive year, the Dodgers stormed back after a slow start to claim the division title after trailing the Giants by a season-high 9.5 games on June 8. The 9.5-game deficit ties for the largest deficit that the club has ever overcome to win a division title (also: 2013, 9.5 GB on June 22).

After going 92-70 last year, Los Angeles has won 91 games through its first 159 games, with the club posting consecutive 90-win seasons for the first time since doing so three years in a row 1976-78. The Dodgers remained over the .500 mark all year and will finish the season without a losing streak longer than three games, joining the 1988 (161 games) and 1924 clubs (154 games) as the only teams in franchise history to go the entire season without a four-game slide.

Don Mattingly led the Dodgers to a division title for the second time in four seasons as manager, while General Manager Ned Colletti assembled his fourth division champion and fifth postseason-bound club in nine seasons since 2006. Under Colletti, the Dodgers previously reached the National League Championship Series after winning division titles in 2008, 2009 and 2013 and qualified for the postseason as the N.L. Wild Card in 2006 (tied for division title).

By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services

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