Mark Ellis is thrown out at third base trying to stretch a double into a triple. (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )
There would be no final drama, no miraculous comeback, no game or season for the ages.
Just another ultimately disappointing loss, a loss that would finally end the Dodgers' 2012 playoff hopes. And at the hands of the San Francisco Giants.
A season that began with a team that overachieved but finished with one that vastly underachieved came to a close on a muggy October night, the Dodgers falling 4-3 to the Giants before a Dodger Stadium crowd of 42,473, a defeat that officially eliminated L.A. from the playoff race.
The night had been set up for the Dodgers, the Cardinals losing 3-1 to the Reds earlier. If the Dodgers had won Tuesday, they’d have pulled to within one game of the Cards for the final National League wild-card berth, with Clayton Kershaw scheduled to pitch in Wednesday's regular-season finale.
The improbable finish looked briefly attainable, at least until Barry Zito started having his way. All while Dodgers starter Chris Capuano seemed to be done in, by all things, a batting doughnut.
Capuano had bruised his throwing shoulder a couple of days earlier while swinging a bat with a metal doughnut along the handle. Tuesday, he lasted just three-plus, ineffective innings.
Capuano gave up a solo home run to Buster Posey in the second inning, and after the Dodgers tied it in the bottom of the inning on a Hanley Ramirez triple and a Luis Cruz groundout, shortstop Joaquin Arias gave the Giants back the lead with another solo homer in the third.
It remained a 2-1 game until the fifth, when with a runner at second and two outs, the Dodgers intentionally walked Angel Pagan to bring on Marco Scutaro, who promptly doubled in both runs off Jamey Wright.
That would be Jamey Wright, the 37-year-old looking to appear in the postseason for the first time in his career.
Now down 4-1, even though they had five more innings to bat, the Dodgers were in serious trouble. They have come from behind to win while trailing by three or more runs just six times all season.
Alas, there would be no magic moment, no new Steve Finley to be found, no turning point to pass on to Dodgers lore.
A.J. Ellis gave them brief life in the seventh when -- in a nine-pitch at-bat -- he hit a two-run homer off ex-Dodger Guillermo Mota. When additional scoring opportunities came in the inning, however, the Dodgers fell sadly short.
One out after A.J. Ellis’ 13th home run of the season, Mark Ellis hit a drive into the left-center gap. Mark Ellis, normally a very heady player, kept running past second and tried to stretch the hit into a triple. He was easily thrown out.
Which hurt all the more when Shane Victorino then tripled off Mota. The Giants then called on reliever George Kontos to face Matt Kemp. With the crowd on its feet, Kemp struck out for the third time.
The Dodgers finally would run out of time, the last team in baseball to be eliminated from the playoffs.
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