10/03/2004 11:19 PM ET
Dodgers' defining moments
Division-clinching win the best of many for LA
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
First place: Los Angeles took over first place for good on July 8 with a 7-2 victory over Houston. The win gave the Dodgers a 46-37 record.
Offseason moment: In the ultimate personnel move, the franchise was purchased Jan. 29 by Frank and Jamie McCourt, who brought energetic leadership and quickly hired rookie general manager Paul DePodesta.
In-season moment: DePodesta's disappointing July 30 trade for Brad Penny, who was sidelined by injury, and Hee-Seop Choi was mitigated by his brilliant July 31 acquisition of stretch-tested outfielder Steve Finley.
Game: Finley's walkoff, title-clinching grand slam on Saturday capped a remarkable seven-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning in the second-to-last game of the regular season to defeat archrival San Francisco, 7-3.
MVP: Adrian Beltre finally lived up to the hype, responding to new hitting coach Tim Wallach to add game-breaking offense to his game-saving Gold Glove-caliber defense. Beltre hit .334 with 48 homers and 121 RBIs and should be one of the leading MVP candidates in the National League.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.