Dodgers closer Kenley Jensen and catcher A.J. Ellis celebrate after the… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)
Near the end of June, they looked buried. A team of grand aspirations headed for an unsightly fall.
Disappointment ruled the Dodgers by June 22. The team was 9 1/2 games back, their bloated payroll now mocking them, injuries seemingly everywhere.
Their turnaround was of the remarkable variety, including a 42-8 run that saw them seize control of the National League West.
BOX SCORE: Dodgers 7, Arizona 6
The Dodgers stumbled some in September, but on Thursday afternoon they completed the turnaround with a 7-6 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks that clinched the 2013 NL West title.
A.J. Ellis came up with the biggest hit of his career, drilling a solo home run in the eighth inning to break a 6-6 deadlock. Ellis came into the game batting .152 in September and without a home run.
Hanley Ramirez hit a pair of home runs and drove in four to put the Dodgers in position for the come-from-behind victory. The Dodgers are just a different team when Ramirez is healthy and in the lineup. In 81 games this season Ramirez has 20 home runs and 57 RBIs.
PHOTOS: Dodgers clinch National League West
The Dodgers became the first team in baseball this season to clinch a division title. This is their first division title since 2009.
The Dodgers jumped out early in the game, fell behind and then rallied.
Things started promisingly enough when the Ramirez Show got underway in the third inning. After left-hander Wade Miley walked pitcher Rickey Nolasco and Yasiel Puig to open the inning, Ramirez crushed the first pitch Miley offered for a three-run homer.
Safe to say, the good feelings for the Dodgers were short-lived.
Nolasco gave up seven hits in the bottom of the inning, including doubles to Paul Goldschmidt, Gerardo Parra and Miley, and a triple to Martin Prado as the Diamondbacks answered with six runs.
The Dodgers started their comeback in the sixth when doubles by Juan Uribe and Scott Van Slyke scored one. After an Ellis single sent Van Slyke to third, he scored on pinch-hitter Michael Young’s sacrifice fly.
Ramirez tied the game in the seventh with his second home run.
The victory went to J.P. Howell (3-1), who combined with fellow relievers Brandon League, Brian Wilson and Kenley Jansen to hold the Diamondbacks scoreless over the final four innings. Jansen earned his 26th save.