Dodgers' magic number now only one

Dodgers' magic number now only one

PITTSBURGH -- The Dodgers' magic number was truly magical Saturday night.

At the end of play, the magic number to clinch the division appeared to be two. Come Sunday morning, it effectively was reduced to one.

Now, that's magic.

Actually, it's more like math.

Based on the formula for calculating the magic number, technically it is two. But as pointed out by e-mailer Tom Myles -- and confirmed Sunday by baseball officials -- because the Dodgers already hold a commanding 12-3 advantage in their head-to-head series with the Rockies, if the clubs finished tied for first in the NL West, the Dodgers would be division champs by virtue of the tiebreaker.

So, the Dodgers left PNC Park after Saturday night's 8-4 win over the Pirates believing that the magic number would be two entering Sunday's play, but it effectively is one -- either one Dodgers win or one Rockies loss and the Dodgers clinch their second consecutive division title.

It would mark the first time they've finished first in consecutive seasons since 1977-78. On Saturday night, they qualified for no worse than a Wild Card berth, marking their third trip to the postseason in the last four years. The last time they had done that was 1963-66.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.