LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers are closing in on their first postseason appearance in four years, and fans are coming to Dodger Stadium in record numbers.
The ballpark was sold out for Thursday's series opener against the Giants, the 24th sellout of the year. The Dodgers have already announced sellouts for games Friday and Saturday. Los Angeles could clinch the National League West on Sunday, and limited tickets remain for that game.
"The fan support this year has been unbelievable, they've really been energizing us," said catcher A.J. Ellis. "We've had so many full houses here that have carried us through these dramatic victories we've had late in games."
So far, attendance at Dodger Stadium this year is up 10 percent and merchandise sales have doubled. The club's television ratings have also increased by roughly 40 percent.
The Dodgers have already surpassed 3 million in attendance this season and appear headed for the largest total attendance for any big league club since the Yankees drew 3.77 million fans in 2010.
Wilson earns victory in first appearance vs. Giants
LOS ANGELES -- Facing the Giants for the first time since he signed with the Dodgers, Brian Wilson earned the win Thursday night in relief.
Wilson entered in the 10th inning with the game knotted at 2. The former Giants closer worked around a one-out walk to complete a scoreless inning. Adrian Gonzalez delivered a walk-off single in the bottom of the frame to give the Dodgers a 3-2 win.
Despite the victory, Wilson did not answer questions after the game.
"I didn't do anything," Wilson said as he walked past reporters on his way out of the clubhouse.
Wilson, who pitched for San Francisco from 2006-12, faced former teammates Marco Scutaro, Brandon Belt, Hunter Pence and Buster Posey.
"It was fun," said Posey, who was Wilson's batterymate with the Giants. "You look forward to challenges against good pitchers and he's one of them. Once the at-bat started, it felt like a normal at-bat."
Signed by the Dodgers at the end of July as a free agent, Wilson is 2-1 with a 1.17 ERA in 11 appearances. He had Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career last April and was non-tendered by the Giants last winter.
Hanley leaves with mild hamstring tightness
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez was removed from Thursday night's game against the Giants as a precautionary measure with mild tightness in his left hamstring, the same hamstring that disabled him for a month earlier in the season.
Ramirez, however, was moving quickly after the game, refusing to answer questions as he sped past reporters leaving the clubhouse. It wasn't clear whether Ramirez was angry with his hamstring, or his manager for taking him out, or both.
Only Don Mattingly's side of the story was heard.
"I think he's OK," Mattingly said. "He's been tight during games. He always says he's fine, but the way he went down the line, I just couldn't take the risk. He wanted to stay in the game, said he was fine and he knew what he was doing. But we got to the point I just couldn't take a chance."
Ramirez had three at-bats in the game. He beat out an infield single running hard in the first inning, struck out in the third and jogged to first grounding out in the fifth. He made three defensive plays and appeared to be moving fine.
Mattingly said before the game that Ramirez was "taking care of himself," a concession to his jogging out routine grounders. But Ramirez jogged so slow in the fifth inning that Mattingly suspected the injury had worsened.
"Slower than usual," he said. "On the hit, seemed like there was a little hitch, but it's tough to see because he's got that swagger. But he said something to the trainer. It was a combination of that and going down the line slower than normal."
Ramirez was replaced at the start of the seventh inning, as was starting pitcher Zack Greinke, resulting in a miscommunication between Mattingly and home plate umpire Gerry Davis.
When the Dodgers took the field, Nick Punto had replaced Ramirez at shortstop and Paco Rodriguez had replaced Greinke. Mattingly explained the substitutions to Davis, who signaled that they were straight up.
But when Rodriguez reached the mound, Davis called over Mattingly, met with the other umpires, then ruled that J.P. Howell was the pitcher Mattingly told him was pitching. Rodriguez went back to the bullpen and Howell, who had warmed up before Rodriguez, came on to pitch the seventh inning.
"It was a Freudian slip by me," said Mattingly. "I should have stayed in the dugout. I was being nice, came out to let him know Hanley had tightened up and I guess I said J.P. [instead of Rodriguez]. I wasn't trying to deceive anybody. Basically, it was me saying the wrong name."
Howell pitched a scoreless inning with two strikeouts. Rodriguez was brought into the game for real in the eighth, allowing a single and walk to the two batters he faced.
Injured Dodgers trio takes steps forward
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley is on the comeback trail following season-ending surgery on his pitching elbow and has started a throwing program.
Billingsley is working out at the Dodgers' Spring Training facility at Camelback Ranch-Glendale. The right-hander made two starts with the Dodgers this season before undergoing Tommy John surgery in April.
Matt Kemp is also rehabbing in Arizona, and the Dodgers remain optimistic the outfielder could play in the Majors before the end of the month. Kemp ran on an anti-gravity treadmill Thursday for the second time in as many days after feeling tightness in his right hamstring last week. With the Dodgers opening a four-game series on the road against the D-backs Monday, Kemp will have a chance to be evaluated by the club's medical staff.
Chris Capuano is scheduled to test his strained left groin in a bullpen session Friday. If all goes well, the left-hander could return to the rotation for the remainder of the regular season or transition to a relief role as a likely tryout for the postseason.
"Cap has pitched out of the 'pen before, and you don't use five starters if we can get there [the postseason], so we do have to see if there's going to be value there," said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly.
Capuano is 4-7 with a 4.46 ERA in 20 starts this season. He's made 27 relief appearances in his career, including two this year.
Dodgers launch season ticket sale for '14 season
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers have launched season ticket sales for the 2014 season, and for a limited time the club is offering fans the opportunity to secure tickets to 2013 National League Division Series and NL Championship Series home games at Dodger Stadium with the purchase of '14 season tickets.
The best way to receive 2014 promotional items and secure tickets for Opening Day and Interleague matchups is to purchase season tickets. For more information on the benefits in becoming a Dodgers season ticket holder, call 323-DODGERS or visit www.dodgers.com/seasontickets.
While prices are increasing in many areas of the ballpark for the first time in years, more than half of season tickets cost fewer than $20, including fewer than $12 and, for the first time in 28 years, there will be tickets on the Reserve level for $5. The recently upgraded Dodger Stadium offers families one of the best entertainment experiences with a range of ticket options for every budget.
"Most Dodger tickets have not increased in price in the last two seasons as we looked to first prove to our fans that this ownership group was committed to putting the best possible team on the field, providing a first-class fan experience at the stadium and performing meaningful outreach in the community," said Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten. "We've made great strides in demonstrating that, and with these necessary adjustments and the support of our fans, we will continue to put all of our efforts into upgrading the team and the stadium and producing a championship-caliber organization.
"Our fans have been coming to Dodger Stadium in vast numbers and we want to make sure they can continue to do that," Kasten said. "It's a priority of this ownership that we offer a variety of ticketing options that will work for any family, any pocketbook."
Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.