Adrian Gonzalez, Yasiel Puig cause a minor stir with their celebrations.

Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig raises his arms to celebrate his triple off the right-field wall in the fourth inning of Game 3 of the National League Championship Series on Monday. (Associated Press photo)

Ah, the age of Twitter.

Monday night, the days of reporters running from one clubhouse to the other for reaction to controversy were officially laid to rest. It happened shortly before 9 p.m. Pacific Time, when a reporter in the Dodgers’ interview room noticed a tweet from a reporter in the St. Louis Cardinals’ clubhouse. Probably this tweet:

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Was Kenley Jansen warm in the 13th inning?

Kenley Jansen

Carlos Beltran’s walkoff single off Kenley Jansen (background) lifted the St. Louis Cardinals to a 3-2 win Saturday. (Associated Press photo)

It’s a fair question.

The temperature at Busch Stadium was in the low 60s when Dodgers pitcher Chris Withrow allowed a bloop single to St. Louis Cardinals pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso in the early hours Saturday morning. That’s when Jansen said he began to throw in the bullpen, having not thrown a warm-up pitch at any point prior to the 13th inning.

Was it tough to stay warm?

“Yeah kinda,” Jansen said, “but you’ve just got to keep being strong out there.”

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Where does Thursday’s win rank among Clayton Kershaw’s best?

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw struck out 12 Atlanta Braves batters in Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Thursday. It was his first career postseason win, and his first win ever against the Braves. (Getty Images)

Clayton Kershaw was asked where Thursday night’s win ranked among the best of his career. It was his first postseason win in his sixth postseason game (third start), and he allowed just one earned run on three hits in seven innings.

“It’s up there,” Kershaw said. “It’s probably — it might be the best just because it’s my first postseason win. I haven’t ever won a game. We got to win in one other game that I pitched that I started in, but this one definitely has special meaning to me for sure.”

A couple facts and figures about Kershaw from tonight’s game that won’t make tomorrow’s editions:
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San Francisco Giants 6, Dodgers 4

Ricky Nolasco

Ricky Nolasco has allowed 17 earned runs in his last 12 innings, spanning three starts. (Associated Press photo)

If you looked beyond the final score, beyond Ricky Nolasco‘s struggles, you might have noticed the difference between the playoff team and the non-playoff team Wednesday night at AT&T Park.

San Francisco starter Barry Zito was removed from the game, likely his last as a Giant, after pitching five solid innings with the Dodgers trailing 5-2. Zito did not allow a hit until the fourth inning and he did not react well to being removed in the fifth.

A KCAL camera followed the left-hander as he stomped from one end of the dugout to another. Zito appeared to swipe at a water cooler and hastily discard a paper cup, nothing too crazy and nothing that was too difficult to comprehend. After signing a 7-year contract worth $126 million back in 2007, Zito mostly underperformed (ERA-plus of 86) while his teammates won the World Series twice. Wednesday night might have been his last chance to do something right in a Giants uniform; after 77 pitches, he was done.

Nolasco was Zito’s opposite. He labored through a 24-pitch second inning in which the Giants scored three runs, all on a bases-loaded triple by former Dodger Tony Abreu that might have been a grand slam elsewhere.

A two-run home run by Pablo Sandoval in the fourth inning, and an RBI double by Abreu in the sixth, stuck Nolasco with six runs (all earned) in 5 ⅔ innings. He was allowed to throw 95 pitches and pitch into the sixth inning, and it didn’t raise an eyebrow.

For Zito, there was nothing to be gained by his excellence beyond the moment, while giving Nolasco a chance to pitch out of his struggles meant something to the Dodgers, even if they ultimately lost.
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Arizona Diamondbacks 9, Dodgers 4.

Don Mattingly

Don Mattingly wipes his brow after Adrian Gonzalez was ejected in the sixth inning of the Dodgers’ 9-4 loss. (Associated Press photo)

Hold the champagne.

The Dodgers still haven’t figured out this whole playoff-berth-cinching thing in the Don Mattingly era.

Their magic number is still two, and the division title could be theirs by this time tomorrow — before any other team in the majors wraps up a playoff berth — but the Dodgers endured a frustrating evening Wednesday in their first opportunity to clinch the National League West.
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Arizona Diamondbacks 2, Dodgers 1.

Hyun-Jin Ryu

Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched a complete game for the first time since May. (Associated Press photo)

Nick Punto’s dad, Lou, was at Dodger Stadium last week prior to a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Lou Punto is a baseball coach himself, and he was sizing up the Dodgers. (I could imagine him doing the same thing for Nick’s 10-year-old Little League team, but that’s beside the point.) He particularly liked how many one-run games the Dodgers were winning — 22-17 through Sunday — and how that was a hallmark of veteran teams.

It was a one-run game when the Dodgers came to bat in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings in Phoenix on Monday. There were veterans galore, but this wasn’t the same team that Mr. Punto came to see a week ago. His son was leading off. A player making his third major-league appearance was batting eighth. The only run the Dodgers could generate came when Yasiel Puig drew a bases-loaded walk to drive in Hyun-Jin Ryu. The way Trevor Cahill was pitching, a bunt single followed by a three-base error seemed about as likely.
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Surprise! Yasiel Puig plays after all, makes final out in Dodgers’ 4-3 loss.

So much for “somewhere between a day and two weeks.”

It took less than a day for Yasiel Puig to return to the field at Dodger Stadium, defying Don Mattingly‘s pregame prognostication and appearing as a surprise pinch-hitter with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Puig swung at the first pitch he saw from San Francisco Giants closer Sergio Romo and grounded into a forceout, with shortstop Brandon Crawford throwing to second baseman Nick Noonan to record the final out of the Giants’ 4-3 win at Dodger Stadium on Sunday.

“I was ready just like every other player,” Puig said through an interpreter of his pinch-hitting appearance. “They came to me to hit and I was ready for it. Sadly it didn’t turn out like I wanted it to, but I was prepared just like the other guys.”
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Juan Uribe sets career high with three home runs, Dodgers club six as a team.

Juan Uribe

Juan Uribe went 4 for 4 with three home runs in the Dodgers’ 8-1 win on Monday night. (Associated Press photo)

Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig had a unique way of showing love to Juan Uribe on Monday night, peeling a banana and stuffing it in his mouth.

Uribe almmost exhausted the clubhouse banana supply.
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Cincinnati Reds 3, Dodgers 2.

Aroldis Chapman

Aroldis Chapman touched 102 mph on the radar gun again Sunday. (Associated Press photo)

When the Cincinnati Reds visited Los Angeles for a four-game series in July, the Dodgers were starting to get hot. At one point, Aroldis Chapman threw a 102.1-mph fastball and Mark Ellis pulled it into left field for a single. The cushion was thin — the three wins were decided by a total of five runs — but the Dodgers used the series as a launching pad and won 16 of their next 18 games.

Looking at the won/loss column, this series seemed different. Looking closer at the Reds’ three-game sweep — which ended Sunday with a pair of Ronald Belisario sliders in the ninth inning — it was essentially a repeat of that July series. The venue was reversed but the home team had a slight edge again. Chapman threw hard again. Hanley Ramirez homered off Homer Bailey again.

If only Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke didn’t look so human this weekend, it would all seem so normal.
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