LOS ANGELES--Arizona is a good place for a party, right?
The Los Angeles Dodgers will not celebrate their division title on this homestand after they were handed a historic setback by the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night. With Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt combining for 13 RBI, the Giants set a Dodger Stadium record for runs scored in a 19-3 drubbing of the Dodgers.
"We have to turn the page," Dodgers catcher Tim Federowicz said. "I guarantee you it won't happen again tomorrow."
Odds are in his favor on that -- it took 52 years for it to happen this time.
The 19 runs are the most ever scored by either the home or visiting team in a game at Dodger Stadium. The last time the Dodgers gave up that many runs at home was a 19-10 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Sept. 12, 1961, when they called the Coliseum home.
The loss and a win by the Arizona Diamondbacks left the Dodgers' magic number at 4. The earliest they can clinch the NL West now is Monday when they open a four-game series in Arizona.
"Just wasn't my day, just wasn't the team's day from the get-go," Dodgers starter Ricky Nolasco said.
Nolasco might have been the Dodgers' best pitcher for a six-week stretch. Going into Saturday's game, he was 7-0 with a 1.59 ERA in his previous eight starts.
That run ended with a thud. The first seven Giants reached base and Nolasco was gone with one out in the second, having given as many runs -- seven, though only five earned -- as he had in his previous six starts combined.
It was the first time in 13 starts since being acquired from Miami that Nolasco had given up more than three runs in a game.
"If this were happening regularly, I'd say I'm concerned," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of the first time in 13 starts for the Dodgers that Nolasco allowed more than three runs. "But as good as Ricky has been pitching, to have one bad one -- I'm not concerned.
"Obviously, they had his number. But anybody we sent out there -- it was one of those nights."
Ramirez gets needled
Hanley Ramirez really must be motivated to get back on the field. He let doctors stick two needles in his back simultaneously Friday afternoon.
"I'm afraid of needles," Ramirez said Saturday after receiving a cortisone injection to treat the irritated sciatic nerve in his back that has caused pain and numbness in his legs on and off for more than two years.
Ramirez said he was already feeling better from Friday's treatment with just some soreness at the site of the injections. He looks forward to playing again after "exactly what they said -- a couple days" of rest and has no interest in sitting out longer even if the Dodgers have clinched the NL West by the time he is cleared to play.
"I'm not the same player when I take too many days off," he said. "Then, it takes time to get my rhythm, my timing back.
"We haven't reached our goal yet."
Ramirez said the condition surfaced during the 2011 season with the Miami Marlins. He said he declined a cortisone injection then because of a fear of needles that began during his childhood and went on the DL for two weeks instead.
"Back then, it was way worse," he said. "I could barely move."
Ramirez has become more familiar with needles since then. He said he has been receiving acupuncture treatments almost daily this season and credits that with staving off the sciatica problem for as long as he was able.
"Before I got here, I didn't know about acupuncture. I didn't know about a lot of stuff," Ramirez said, calling medical director Stan Conte and his staff "the best trainers in the world.
"Everything I've been able to do on the field this year has been because of the trainers."
Despite the training staff's best efforts, Ramirez has not been able to spend that much time on the field this year. He tore a ligament in his thumb during the World Baseball Classic this spring, pulled a hamstring just days after returning in May and missed more time last month because of a bruised shoulder. In all, Ramirez has played just 79 games this season -- but was outstanding when he did, batting .342 with 18 home runs and 53 RBI.
The combination should have made this perhaps the most frustrating season of his career for Ramirez, 29. But he says that's not how he looks at it.
"I think it's been the best year in my career -- I'm going to the playoffs," Ramirez said. "I don't put negative stuff in my mind, brother. I'm happy to be here."
An MRI and X-rays earlier this week on outfielder Andre Ethier ruled out any serious structural damage. But Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Ethier will be out "at least a few days" because of a sore left ankle. Mattingly said he would not even use Ethier as a pinch-hitter until the medical staff clears him to play again.
Ethier has been dealing with pain in the outside of his ankle since "over-rotating" on a swing during the Dodgers' series in Colorado. It doesn't bother him when hitting or running in a straight line but flares up when he has to make turns.
"Obviously, we're going to be cautious with him," Mattingly said. "We're going to rest him and get it right."
The Dodgers added Triple-A outfielders Alex Castellanos and Nick Buss to their roster Saturday. Castellanos has been up with the Dodgers a couple times over the past two seasons, going 6 for 32 (.188). Buss is an eighth-round draft pick out of USC in 2008 who had a bit of a breakout season in Triple-A this year. He hit .303 with 17 home runs and led the Pacific Coast League with 100 RBI.
But Ethier's sore ankle might open the door for Matt Kemp's return. Kemp ran the bases during his workout at the Glendale complex Saturday and will join the Dodgers when they open a four-game series in Arizona on Monday. With Ethier unavailable to play center field, Mattingly acknowledged this could be an ideal stretch to get Kemp back in the lineup and evaluate his readiness for the postseason.
"We'll see him in Arizona. We'll see where he's at and if he's ready to roll we'll do something," Mattingly said of Kemp, who has not played since July 21 because of an ankle sprain. "Obviously, the position we're in at the moment, we feel we can be cautious with guys who need a day and give it to them sooner rather than later.
"Andre's kind of banged up a little bit. It's an opportunity to play (Kemp) without having to juggle things."
Left-hander Chris Capuano felt renewed discomfort in his injured groin muscle while throwing in the bullpen session Friday afternoon. Capuano is shut down indefinitely and his potential spot on a playoff roster is in doubt. "He won't be available until after he throws another 'pen and no 'pen is scheduled at this point," Mattingly said. ... Buss made his major league debut Saturday, replacing Carl Crawford in left field. Buss flew out in his first at-bat and got his first major league hit (a single) in his second at-bat. ... In order to clear a 40-man roster spot for Buss, right-hander Jose Dominguez was placed on the 60-day DL. Dominguez has been out since July 23 because of a leg injury.
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