L.A. Rips Padres, Magic Number is 3

Three runs home runs by Nomar Garciaparra in the first and Blake DeWitt in the fifth reduced the Dodgers' magic number to three, causing Joe Torre to exclaim "Three is our number. We want to win the next three games and put this thing to sleep. We're confident, but not comfortable."

The Cardinal loss to Arizona was posted on the scoreboard while the Dodgers were scoring six in the first inning to put the Padres away. It was the first time in 11 days the Dodgers were able to gain ground on the Diamondbacks.

Manny Ramirez added a two-run double in the six-run first inning, making him the second player in major league history to record 50 or more runs batted in in each league during a season, joining Carlos Beltran, who did it for Kansas City and Houston in 2004. Ramirez has 22 RBIs in his past 16 games.

St. Louis gave the Dodgers a hand, smacking Randy Johnson and the Diamondbacks 7-4.

Los Angeles (82-75) clinched its third consecutive winning season and eighth in the last nine years. They also nailed down their 10th National League West championship since the inception of divisional play in 1969.

Chad Billingsley again battled his command but fought through it to win his 16th game against 10 losses. He surrendered just one run and nine hits over his six inning, striking out five and walking two to pick up his fourth win in his last five starts.

He also squeezed in a run in the opening frame and singled in another in the third while making his 32nd start of the season, a personal high.

"Coming out and scoring six runs got me to relax, try to work on things and get my rhythm back," Billingsley said. "I felt a lot better out there with my fastball."

He earned his 16th win, giving the Dodgers at least one 16-game winner for the third consecutive season. But he probably won't be given the chance to become the Dodgers' first 17-game winner since Chan Ho Park won 18 in 2000.

Billingsley is slated to pitch the season finale on Sunday at San Francisco, but if the Dodgers have clinched the NL West by then, he isn't likely to go the five innings required to qualify for the win.

The Dodgers wasted no time in setting the tone of the game. They sent 10 men to the plate in the first, Billingsley singled in a run in the third and DeWitt's eighth home run of the season drove in another three in the fifth.

Matt Kemp walked to start the big first inning and Russell Martin doubled. Ramirez then doubled to center for a 2-0 lead. Andre Ethier, moved into the cleanup slot in the lineup, walked before Garciaparra, playing first base instead of James Loney with the Padres starting a lefthander, lined his seventh home run over the center field fence.

Casey Blake and DeWitt kept things going with single before Angel Berroa made the first out. Billingsley then dropped a perfect bunt, scoring Blake from third. Kemp bounced out to end the inning.

San Diego picked up a run in the second. With two out in the third. DeWitt and Berroa walked before Billingsley singled on the ground into left field to make it 7-1. It was his second two-RBI game of his career (the first coming on his first start in 2006) and gave him three for the season.

In the seventh, Garciaparra walked and James Loney ran for him. Blake singled and DeWitt drove a shot deep into the right field pavilion to make it 10-1.

The lead allowed Torre to use rookies over the final three innings and they posted almost identical records. James McDonald, Ramon Troncoso and Scott Elbert each allowed a single hit, no runs and no walks, while only Elbert recorded a strikeout.

OF Andre Ethier went 1-for-4 with a walk and now has hit safely in 11 of his past 12 games. He is hitting .388 (19-for-49) during that stretch. Ethier has reached base in 18 consecutive games, batting .417 (35-for-84) with 14 walks during that stretch.

Starters for final five games:
Today, Shawn Estes (2-3, 4.73) vs. Clayton Kershaw (4-5, 4.28)
Thursday, Jake Peavey (2-3, 4.73) vs. Greg Maddux (7-13, 4.31)
Friday at S.F., Hiroki Kuroda (9-10, 3.84) vs. Brad Hennessey (1-2, 8.65)
Saturday, Derek Lowe (14-11, 3.29) vs. Matt Cain (8-13, 3.80)
Sunday, Chad Billingsley (15-10, 3.22) vs. Tim Lincecum (17-4, 2.46)

 Score by innings
San Diego	010 000 000- 1
Los Angeles	601 030 00x-10

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Kemp cf	        4  1  2  0  .290
Martin c	3  1  2  0  .276
 Ardoin pr-c	0  0  0  0  .227
Ramirez lf	4  1  1  2  .395
 Ozuna pr-2b	1  0  0  0  .240
Ethier rf	4  1  1  0  .300
 Repko rf	0  0  0  0  .154
Garciaparra 1b	2  1  1  3  .255
 Loney pr-1b	2  1  1  0  .292
Blake 3b	4  2  2  0  .250
 Troncoso p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Young ph	1  0  0  0  .248
 Elbert p	0  0  0  0  .000
DeWitt 3b	3  2  2  3  .263
Berroa ss	3  0  0  0  .235
Billingsley p	2  0  1  2  .095
 McDonald p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Pierre ph-cf	1  0  1  0  .273
  Totals	34 10 14 10
  San Diego	36  1 12  1

 Two-base hits- Martin (24), Ramirez (14), 
HR- Garciaparra (7), DeWitt (8). S- Billingsley. 
RBI- Ramirez 2 (51), Garciaparra 3 (26), 
Billingsley 2 (3), DeWitt 3 (50). SB- Kemp (35). 
LOB- Los Angeles 8, San Diego 10). DP- Billingsley, 
Berroa and Garciaparra; Berroa, Ozuna and Loney.

 Los Angeles	        in  h  r-er bb so  era
Billingsley (16-10)	6.0  9  1-1  2  5  3.17
McDonald        	1.0  1  0-0  0  0  0.00
Troncoso        	1.0  1  0-0  0  0  4.33
Elbert        	        1.0  1  0-0  0  1 11.12
 T- 2:56. Att- 48,905.
What, No Cake?
Matt Kemp celebrated his 24th birthday with a pair of singles, a walk and a run scored. He leads the Dodgers in runs (90), hits (169), and doubles (38), while ranking second on the squad in home runs (17), stolen bases (36), and slugging percentage (.455). Yesterday, Dodger Special Advisor to the Chairman Tommy Lasorda turned 81 and "Sweet" Lou Johnson celebrated birthday No. 74.

Joe Who?
During the touchy-feely celebration the Yankees held on their final game in Yankee Stadium, they neglected to mention the manager that took the club to 12 straight post seasons.

It certainly must have been an oversight (wink, wink), but Joe Torre was never mentioned when the organization paid homage to everyone but the clubhouse attendant.

"I didn't think of that part," Torre said. "I didn't know my name wasn't mentioned until someone pointed it out it to me."

Torre was shown on the stadium's video screen talking about the Yankees' 1996 World Series championship team, his first in New York. He guided the team to three more World Series titles from 1998-2000.

He left New York for Los Angeles last fall after 12 seasons, with the Yankees having reached the postseason every time. The streak ended Tuesday night under first-year Joe Girardi.

Furcal Says He's Ready
Rafael Furcal said the pain in his surgically repaired lower back has diminished to a point where he is no longer hesitant about venturing onto the field.

"I'm ready for however they want to use me," Furcal said. Apparently the only physical discomfort he's experiencing these days is some mild tightness in his hamstrings.

Manager Joe Torre said he wanted to give Furcal "a little taste" on the field some time this week. Because Furcal hasn't played in more than four months, Torre said he didn't see him being a nine-inning player again this season.

Furcal, who will be a free agent this winter, was philosophical when asked about his predicament.

"You can't question what God does," he said. "I had one of my best starts, I felt great physically and mentally, but only God knows why I had to get hurt."

Dodger Blue Notes
--Hong-Chih Kuo played catch and said his ailing left elbow is responding well to treatment, but admitted that he didn't know if he would be able to pitch in the postseason. Kuo, who has undergone four elbow surgeries, has pitched twice in the last three weeks. ...Andruw Jones' off-season training regimen will be overseen by a personal trainer and nutritionist hired by the Dodgers. ...Catcher Russell Martin has collected at least 10 homers, 60 RBI, and 10 stolen bases in each of his first three seasons in the league, putting him atop some historic company, including Ivan Rodriguez and Carlton Fisk. Johnny Bench and Benito Santiago had two such seasons. ...The Dodgers have won nine of their last 13 and 17 of their last 22. ...The Dodgers already have 15 wins in September, their second-highest monthly total to July's 16 victories. The 15 wins in September/October are the most for the season's final month since 2006, when they won 17, going 17-12 overall. ...Chad Billingsley, has tossed 198.2 innings and struck out 199 batters, for an average of 9.1 K's per nine innings, which ranks third in the National League behind Tim Lincecum (10.1) and Edinson Volquez (9.4). ...The Dodgers are 28-21 since the arrival of Manny Ramirez on August 1. ...The Dodgers sold out the last three games and the three-game weekend total of 166,607 against the Giants was the highest for a three-game series this season. Counting the more than 50,000 fans last night, the club passed 3.6 million in cumulative attendance for the fifth time in franchise history (1982, 2005-07). The Dodgers are averaging 49,061 in attendance in 22 games at Dodger Stadium since the arrival of Manny Ramirez.  Los Angeles averaged 44,735 per game in 56 home dates prior to Ramirez's arrival. ... Last night marked the date in 1962 that Dodger shortstop Maury Wills stole his record-breaking 97th base of the season, snapping a mark held by Ty Cobb for 46 years. Wills would finish the season with 104 stolen bases and his record would be broken by Lou Brock 12 seasons later.