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Dodgers' elimination from NL West race is merely a formality

An announced crowd of 25,381, a season low, sees the Dodgers lose to the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-2.

September 15, 2011|By Dylan Hernandez and Bill Shaikin
  • Dodgers third baseman Russ Mitchell watches his solo home run as he heads toward first base in the fifth inning Thursday night against the Pirates at Dodger Stadium.
Dodgers third baseman Russ Mitchell watches his solo home run as he heads… (Harry How / Getty Images )

It's official: The Dodgers can't win the National League West.

A 6-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday made it mathematically impossible for the Dodgers to overtake division-leading Arizona. The Diamondbacks lead the third-place Dodgers by 131/2 games.

The Dodgers will be eliminated from the wild-card race the next time they lose or the next time the Atlanta Braves win.

"It's been a year that things didn't go the way we mapped out," Manager Don Mattingly said.

The announced attendance Thursday was 25,381, a season low. That was the number of tickets sold, not the number of people in the stands.

Journeyman Dana Eveland, who had given up only one run in 15 innings over his two previous starts for the Dodgers, was unable to duplicate his effort from his Sept. 1 appearance in Pittsburgh. That day, he held the Pirates to one run over eight innings.

On Thursday, he was doomed by a four-run second inning that included a three-run home run by Pirates pitcher Ross Ohlendorf, who had never driven in a run in his career.

The Dodgers' runs came on a first-inning ground-rule double by Justin Sellers that drove in Dee Gordon and a fifth-inning home run by Russ Mitchell.

Source: Kershaw won't be suspended

Clayton Kershaw is not expected to be suspended for hitting Gerardo Parra of the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night, according to a league official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The incident was reviewed by the commissioner's office Thursday.

Kershaw said the league had not notified him about its decision.

"They got it right," Kershaw said. "I'm glad I get to pitch. I'm happy."

Joe Garagiola Jr., the league's senior vice president for standards and on-field operations, is in charge of making disciplinary decisions. Garagiola's boss is former Dodgers manager Joe Torre, who heads the baseball operations department.

Kuroda's neck examined

Hiroki Kuroda underwent an MRI exam on his ailing neck but is still planning to make his scheduled start against Pittsburgh on Friday.

Kuroda said he was told his neck problems are not as severe as they were two years ago, when a bulging disk in his neck forced him to miss the opening round of the playoffs.

Asked why he would jeopardize his health with his team on the verge of elimination, the free-agent-to-be replied, "You never know about the future."

Minor leaguers honored

Scott Van Slyke, the son of former major leaguer Andy Van Slyke, was named the Dodgers' minor league player of the year. Van Slyke, who hit .348 with double-A Chattanooga, won the Southern League batting title. He also hit 20 home runs and drove in 92 runs.

Shawn Tolleson, who played on the same Texas travel team as Kershaw as a teenager, posted a 1.17 earned-run average and saved 25 games between low-A Great Lakes, high-A Rancho Cucamonga and Chattanooga. He was named the Dodgers' minor league pitcher of the year. Kershaw has said Tolleson was a better pitcher than he was until suffering arm trouble.

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