LOS ANGELES – Clayton Kershaw strode into the Los Angeles Dodgers clubhouse with a rare demand.
“Give me some,” he yelled, making a beeline for an icy tub of champagne and beer.
The probable NL Cy Young Award winner and MVP candidate grabbed a bottle of bubbly and began pouring in celebration of the Dodgers’ NL West title after a 9-1 victory over second-place San Francisco on Wednesday night.
“You can’t take lightly what we did,” a soaked Kershaw said. “You got to celebrate accomplishments and that’s what we did. It’s really fun to celebrate with these guys.”
Yasiel Puig hopped on a bicycle for a ride in the clubhouse after aggressively soaking everyone in sight. Tubs full of melting ice got knocked over, soaking the blue carpet as the misty stench of champagne hung in the humid air.
“We want to win a world championship but the first step in that is winning your division,” said manager Don Mattingly, his brown hair matted.
Kershaw tied a career high with his 21st victory and Puig homered to highlight a four-run sixth inning as the Dodgers claimed their second straight division title behind their ace Kershaw (21-3), who has been the catalyst behind their success this season.
Kershaw didn’t pitch lights out — getting called for a balk and wild pitch — and he committed a throwing error in the seventh but he did a little bit of everything, including hitting and fielding to ensure Los Angeles celebrated in front of its longtime rivals.
“He probably wasn’t at his best, but him at 80 percent is pretty good,” Giants starter Tim Hudson said.
“It’s better than most people.”
Kershaw allowed one run and eight hits in eight innings, struck out 11 and walked none in his last start of the regular season, having won his final seven starts. He is trying to become the first player to lead the major leagues in ERA (1.77) in four consecutive seasons.
“He’s so tough, what a year he’s had,” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. “You’ve got to play perfect ball to beat him and hope you get a timely hit and we didn’t do it.”
The Dodgers are 23-4 in Kershaw’s starts this season.
Cubs 3, Cardinals 1
In Chicago, Jake Arrieta struck out 10, leading the Cubs over St. Louis.
The Cardinals kept their 1½-game lead over Pittsburgh in the NL Central. The loss assured NL East champion Washington will open a division series at home.
Braves 6, Pirates 2
In Atlanta, Andrew McCutchen homered for Pittsburgh’s only runs, and the Pirates missed a chance to move up in the NL Central race, falling to the Braves.
Pittsburgh, which clinched a playoff spot on Tuesday night, stayed 1½ games behind division-leading St. Louis.
Brewers 5, Reds 0
In Cincinnati, Kyle Lohse pitched a two-hitter and drove in a run as Milwaukee forestalled elimination from the playoffs with a win over Cincinnati.
Lohse (13-9) gave up a pair of singles to Jack Hannahan.
Phillies 2, Marlins 1
In Miami, Kyle Kendrick pitched seven innings, had three hits and drove in a run, Jonathan Papelbon closed in his first appearance since being suspended and Philadelphia edged Miami.
Papelbon, who completed a seven-game suspension Sunday, earned his 38th save in 42 chances with a scoreless ninth.
Padres 4, Rockies 3
In San Diego, Joe Wieland earned his first big league win, and Tommy Medica hit a three-run home run and a replay-aided double to lead the Padres to a victory against Colorado in their home finale.
San Diego notched its 76th win with four games to go, matching its victory total from each of the last two seasons.
Mets at Nationals — ppd.
Twins 2, Diamondbacks 1
In Minneapolis, Phil Hughes set a single-season major league record for strikeout-to-walk ratio, pitching eight strong innings for the hosts in a victory over Arizona.
The Diamondbacks lost 12 of their last 13 on the road — scoring just 31 runs in the process — to finish 31-50 away from Chase Field.