Dodgers’ winning pulse is getting stronger

LOS ANGELES — Well, they’re still breathing. Actually, they’re breathing fire right now.

Elian Herrera—a late inning replacement—lined a game-winning single off the glove of leaping second baseman Marco Scutaro to give the Dodgers a 3-2 walk-off win over the San Francisco Giants.

It was Herrera’s fourth game-winning hit of the season; the first one at home. Andre Ethier hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning off Giants’ starter Matt Cain—his 20th—to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead before the Giants tied it up in the eighth. With Herrera’s heroics, Brandon League picked up his second win since being traded to the Dodgers last month. Santiago Casilla lost it and is now 7-6.

It was the sixth straight win for Los Angeles and keeps the club two games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the battle for the second Wild Card spot with two games left in the National League season. A loss Monday would have meant elimination, as the Cardinals had won earlier in the evening. Now, the Dodgers have to stretch their winning streak to eight and hope for two St. Louis losses in order to force a one-game playoff for that final wild card position.

Herrera was thrilled to come through in the clutch once again.

“I like being up in situations like that,” Herrera said. “I like being up in any situation, and I want to do the best I can to help my team win, especially against the Giants.

“We are fighting and you don’t know what can happen. We just want to win the game.

“(Tuesday) is a new day; it’s one-on-one with them and we’re going to give it one hundred percent and try to come away with a win.”

Dodger manager Don Mattingly is—in a strange way–enjoying the roller coaster rise his team has taken him on.

“It’s fun,” said the former Yankee great who only made the post-season once as a player. “Of course I wish we had a little more time, because the road keeps winding down.

“We’re doing what we talked about doing (last week) in San Diego—forcing (the Cardinals) to win games. For us, all we can control is ourselves and how we play and go out there and do our job. (Our) guys are still fighting, and fortunately (St. Louis) still has to win a game.”

The Dodger manager was referring to a team meeting in the visitor’s clubhouse in Petco Park, a loud, raucous gathering heard outside the clubhouse walls that seemed to have awakened a slumping Dodger squad.

“It was a pretty tough meeting,” catcher A.J Ellis told, saying Mattingly didn’t hesitate to call everyone on their failings. “After that, we had to take personal accountability for what was going on. I give him credit for that.”

Mattingly—back to being his soft-spoken self–said that the ideal situation for the Dodgers would be to have already clinched a playoff spot, but he’ll take where he’s at and hopefully they’ll get some wins from Cincinnati, which lost to St. Louis Monday.

“We still have to win,” he said, “but I think it’s a testament to the guys out there in that room that they not willing to give this up. “(Tuesday) we just have to do our job, take care of our own business, then hope for help.”

NOTES: Adrian Gonzalez hit his 47 double of the season and extended his hitting streak to thirteen games. His doubles total is a career…..If the Dodgers are still in post-season contention for Wednesday’s season finale, Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to pitch. The 2011 Cy Young Award winner has been battling hip inflammation for much of the past two months….