The magic number is down to five, but all eyes are on Hanley Ramirez, who left with a tight hamstring.
By MICHAEL MARTINEZ FS West
LOS ANGELES – There's really nothing left for the
San Francisco Giants to play for this season, except perhaps to make the next few days difficult for the
One game into a four-game series, they're already doing that.
The defending World Series champions are trudging toward the end of the season in last place in the National League West; the Dodgers are days away from clinching the division title.
No matter. The Giants made the Dodgers work for a 3-2 win in 10 innings, reducing the Dodgers' magic number to five.
Adrian Gonzalez drove in Carl Crawford from second base, and Brian Wilson was the winning pitcher against his former team, but the big news involved shortstop
Ramirez, who has been one of the Dodgers' catalysts this season, left the game after six innings because of mild tightness in his left hamstring. Manager Don Mattingly said he didn't know if Ramirez would be available Friday, but there's little doubt he'll get at least one game off, if not more.
The Dodgers said Ramirez was pulled for precautionary reasons.
"I think he's OK," Mattingly said. "He gets tight during the games and always says he's fine. It was just of those where I was feeling like we couldn't take the risk right there. He wanted to stay in the game. He was telling me, ‘No, I'm fine, I know what I'm doing.'
"I couldn't take that chance."
Ramirez exited quickly from the clubhouse after the game, walking past reporters and muttering something about tomorrow. But it was clear he didn't want to discuss his condition.
His importance in the lineup is undeniable. In 79 games, Ramirez is hitting a team-high .342 with 18 home runs and 53 RBI. But the hamstring injury isn't new; he sat out 28 games, from May 4 to June 4, because of the same injury. He also missed most of the season's first month as a result of a thumb injury he suffered in the World Baseball Classic.
"He didn't do anything to it," Mattingly said, referring to the hamstring. "He just felt it was tight."
The Dodgers appeared headed to a 2-1 victory before closer
Kenley Jansen struggled to close out the ninth, giving up a run and ending a string of 18 consecutive saves dating to June 29.
But Wilson, the last of six relievers, worked a scoreless 10th that preceded Gonzalez's game winner.
Like Ramirez, Wilson wasn't in a talkative mood either.
"I didn't do anything," he said as he walked past media waiting outside the clubhouse.
Gonzalez did, but the Dodgers have gotten used to it. The first baseman has two of the Dodgers' eight walk-off hits this season. His RBI gave him 90, the seventh consecutive season he's hit at least that many.
"I've talked about him so much, just about his consistency," Mattingly said. "Our season's been kind of crazy from the standpoint of starting slow, a lot of guys hurt, then
Yasiel (Puig) coming in and Hanley and all the excitement.
"But from the beginning, Adrian's been the guy that's been steady. He's been the guy hitting, he's been the guy driving in runs through all of that. He's been the glue that's kept us going."
Gonzalez didn't want to minimize the importance of the win, beyond what it meant in the standings. The Dodgers are still chasing the Atlanta Braves for the best record in the National League and home-field advantage in the playoffs.
"It's awesome. It's a great feeling," he said of his winning hit. "That's why you want to play at home.
"That's one of the reasons we want home field advantage in the playoffs, because you get that extra edge to be able to walk off in an extra-inning game."