PHOENIX (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers became the first team to clinch a postseason berth, wrapping up their first NL West title since 2009 when they rallied past Arizona 7-6 on Thursday behind two homers from Hanley Ramirez.
Despite an NL-high payroll of $214 million-plus on opening day, the Dodgers got off to a 30-42 start and were last in the division, 9½ games behind the first-place Diamondbacks, before play on June 22. Los Angeles has gone 58-23 since.
The Dodgers trailed 6-3 in the sixth and A.J. Ellis hit a tiebreaking homer off Josh Collmenter (4-4) leading off the eighth.
J.P. Howell (2-1) got two outs for the victory.
Ramirez, who sat out five of the last six games with an irritated nerve in his lower back, hit a three-run homer in the third inning and a tying solo shot in the seventh. It was his 13th career multihomer game and first since Aug. 18 of last year.
The Dodgers had lost nine of 12 and five of six entering Thursday.
PIRATES 10, PADRES 1
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Neil Walker had four hits, including his 11th homer, and drove in three runs to Pittsburgh in stopping a three-game losing streak.
Pedro Alvarez hit his NL-leading 34th homer for Pittsburgh. Jose Tabata added two hits and three RBIs as the Pirates moved a game in front of Cincinnati for the top wild card spot in the NL. The rivals begin a three-game series in Pittsburgh on Friday.
Gerrit Cole (9-7) struck out a career-high 12 while allowing one run and four hits in six innings.
Pittsburgh scored four runs total while losing three straight games to the Padres but scored five in the fourth against Ian Kennedy (6-10). Alvarez homered to center with one out to give Pittsburgh the lead.
GIANTS 2, METS 1
NEW YORK (AP) — San Francisco's Madison Bumgarner struck out 10 in seven innings of four-hit ball to outpitch Jonathon Niese.
Juan Perez went 3 for 3 with an RBI and the World Series champions won for the eighth time in 11 games. After taking two of three from the Mets, the Giants don't even have to change hotels — they stay in New York this weekend to play three interleague games at Yankee Stadium.
Bumgarner (13-9) has gone 19 straight starts without yielding more than three earned runs, the longest streak by a San Francisco pitcher since Tim Lincecum's 19 in a row from 2007-08. The previous Giants hurler to do it during one season was Ed Whitson in 1980, according to STATS.
Niese (7-8) threw seven solid innings for the Mets, who rallied for four runs in the ninth to win 5-4 on Wednesday night. They finished 4-7 on their penultimate homestand.
CUBS 5, BREWERS 1
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Luis Valbuena, Nate Schierholtz and Brian Bogusevic homered, and Chicago stopped a five-game losing streak.
Jake Arrieta (3-2) didn't allow a hit until two outs in the fourth when former-Cub Aramis Ramirez singled between second and third. Carlos Gomez hit a solo homer in the seventh.
Arrieta allowed three hits, struck out five, walked one and drove in a run.
Valbuena stopped an 0-for-14 slide with his 12th homer, a solo shot off Kyle Lohse (10-10) in the first. Schierholtz hit a two-run homer in third and Bogusevic added a pinch- homer off Donovan Hand leading off the ninth.
Lohse gave up three runs and seven hits in five innings.