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Dodgers Hang Another Eight Runs

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It was a laugher at Dodger Stadium and not only because the Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies 8-0.

The team was celebrating Tommy Lasorda's 85th birthday which was on Sept. 22 serenading him with Frank Sinatra music throughout the game. Tony Orlando sans Dawn led the 37,133 in attendance in singing "Happy Birthday" to the former skipper. Video tributes from former players brought Lasorda to tears, but the highlight was Don Rickles with his usual brand of caustic humor.

The celebration brought some levity to the proceedings where the Dodgers knew they had to win to keep up with the St. Louis Cardinals who demolished the Washington Nationals 12-2. It didn't hurt that the Dodgers had Clayton Kershaw starting for them.

Putting aside any lingering doubts about his hip, Kershaw used his entire arsenal to fan 10 Rockies in eight innings of shutout ball.

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"I can't explain it," Kershaw said about his magically healed hip. Helping his cause was being able to pitch on regular rest rather than the 11 days he had in his previous start in Cincinnati where he walked a season-high five batters in five innings.

"I got some good work in between starts, threw a good bullpen and got back up there the next day and threw some fastballs. Just being on a regular routine helps. It felt like I was able to command the ball better a lot better tonight than in Cincinnati. It definitely helps."

Another aid to the cause was the eight runs the Dodgers put up. "Getting runs is awesome," Kershaw mused.

And that was probably what made the night the laughingest of all. Continuing what they started in their last two games in San Diego, the Dodgers put up an eight-spot for their third consecutive game. It was the second time this season the Dodgers put up at least 24 runs in a three-game stretch.

"It's coming from our guys," manager Don Mattingly said simply. "It's what we're capable of."

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The offense started in the second inning when Adrian Gonzalez led off with a single and Hanley Ramirez walked. Then came Andre Ethier with all the buzzards circling around his head with reports that Mattingly could sit him against left-handed pitching.

Against the left-handed starter Jeff Francis, Ethier hit a run-scoring double that put the Dodgers on the board and squashed some of the chatter. "Andre can hit," Mattingly told reporters before the game. "He's had a good year."

The big surprise came when Shane Victorino and sore wrist launched a 404-foot three-run homer to give the Dodgers the 4-0 lead.

The Dodgers added a run in the fourth inning when Ethier scored on Kershaw's bases-loaded double play, and in the eighth inning A.J. Ellis hit a one-run double and Bobby Abreu hit a pinch-hit two-run homer, the first pinch-hit homer in his career, to cement the game.

The Dodgers still trail the Cardinals by three games for the final wild card spot with their elimination number cut down to three. But there is a singular focus with this team.

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"We need to win tomorrow," Mattingly said. "We've got to keep pressure on St. Louis. We've got to force them to win every day."

At least Mattingly has one more Kershaw start in his hip pocket. "I do plan on pitching Wednesday no matter what," Kershaw said. "Hopefully it matters."

Too bad it won't. And too bad this newly found offense didn't show up three weeks ago when it could have been useful. But with the Cardinals seemingly on a roll, the Dodgers need to hope they have an epic slide. It's doubtful that will happen. I guess I haven't learned to respect the Dodger bats yet.