PHILADELPHIA (AP) It hasn’t been easy of late, but the Los Angeles Dodgers are on the brink of taking their fifth straight NL West title.
Pinch-hitter Andre Ethier and Curtis Granderson homered as the Dodgers clinched a tie for the crown, ending a four-game losing streak by beating the Philadelphia Phillies 5-4 Thursday.
The Dodgers can win the division Friday night with either a victory at home over San Francisco or a loss by second-place Arizona to Miami.
Los Angeles avoided a four-game sweep by the last-place Phillies, winning for just the sixth time in 26 games.
”It was situational things that helped us today,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. ”We scratched one across. The homer by (Ethier) and Granderson were huge for us.”
Not all the news was good for the Dodgers.
Third baseman Justin Turner sustained a bruised right thumb when he was hit by a pitch from Mark Leiter Jr. in the first and soon exited the game.
X-rays were negative and he was listed as day-to-day. Turner is hitting a team-leading .321 with 21 homers and 70 RBIs.
”Any time you get hit in the hand, it’s scary,” Turner said. ”The fact that I was able to stay in was a good sign. But we needed to get the X-rays anyway, just to make sure.”
Ethier, who has missed most of the season with a back problem, tied it with a home run in the seventh off reliever Ricardo Pinto (1-2) that made it 4-all. It was Ethier’s sixth career pinch hit homer.
”I’m just trying to be a baseball player,” Ethier said. ”It has been tough the last two years, injury-wise. I think the one thing that has helped me over the last two years is having a lot of spring training and a lot of preparation with offseason and coming back after years. I’m taking the same frame of mind after the last two injuries to come back the same way in September.”
Chris Taylor followed with a triple and scored the go-ahead run on a grounder by Austin Barnes.
Rookie Walker Buehler (1-0) pitched a hitless inning to win his first major league decision. Kenley Jansen got four outs for his 39th save.
Phillies rookie Rhys Hoskins hit a two-run double and Nick Williams homered.
Granderson hit his 25th homer of the season in the sixth. He’s connected six times since being traded from the Mets to the Dodgers.
Williams had a two-run homer, his 11th, in the third. Hoskins doubled in the fifth to give the Phillies a 4-2 lead.
”We played them very tough,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. ”I know they had to be a little nervous because they were coming in here probably thinking they were going to beat up on us. Our guys played hard, they’ve played hard all year. On a given day, you can beat anybody.”
MAEDA TO THE BULLPEN
After the game, Roberts announced that RHP Kenta Maeda made his final start of the season. Maeda, who threw three innings and 60 pitches on Thursday, will move into his role in the Dodger bullpen to get ready for his postseason responsibilities. ”From here forward, we see him as a weapon in the bullpen,” Roberts said. ”He’s done it in the past and has really thrived.”
Dodgers: SS Corey Seager sat out after bruising his lower right leg on a foul ball Wednesday night. He’s expected to miss a few games, Roberts said.
Dodgers: LHP Rich Hill (10-8, 3.60) starts at Dodger Stadium against the Giants. He allowed one run on one hit in five innings last Saturday in a 3-2 win over Washington. The Giants will pitch RHP Jeff Samardzija (9-14, 4.42).
Phillies: RHP Ben Lively (3-6, 3.94) begins Philadelphia’s final road series of the season in Atlanta. Lively had a no-decision during a rain-shortened three-inning outing on Saturday night in a 5-3 win over Oakland. He will be opposed by Atlanta LHP Sean Newcomb (3-8, 4.32).
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