Steve Finley's grand slam capped a seven-run rally in the bottom of the ninth, and the Dodgers won the NL West by beating the San Francisco Giants, 7-3, yesterday in Los Angeles.

"We do it the Hollywood way -- that's for sure," closer Eric Gagne said. "It's amazing."

The Dodgers qualified for the postseason for the first time since making it as the wild card in 1996. They won the division the year before.

Now, they'll look to win their first postseason game since upsetting Oakland in the 1988 World Series. The Dodgers will play at St. Louis if Houston wins the wild card or at Atlanta if San Francisco wins the wild card.

The comeback victory was the Dodgers' NL-leading 53rd of the season, setting a franchise record. The old mark was 52 by the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers. Thirteen of the team's last 14 wins have been comeback victories, and they've won 26 in the final at-bat.

The 39-year-old Finley, acquired by the Dodgers from last-place Arizona at the trade deadline, was only too happy to come to the plate in such a spot.

"For the last two weeks, I've been putting myself in that situation," said Finley, drenched in champagne in a raucous Dodgers clubhouse.

"I was dreaming about it, and it happened," Finley said. "I wanted it. I knew I was going to get it done. When I walked to the plate, I knew the game was over. I even had a smile on my face, if I remember."

The stunning loss -- keyed by three walks and a critical error -- left the Giants in a precarious position. Their division hopes dashed, the only way Barry Bonds and Co. can make it back to the postseason is if Houston loses today and the Giants win. That would force a one-game playoff in San Francisco tomorrow.

* CUBS 8, BRAVES 6: A season that started with such high hopes for Chicago wound up with the Cubs being eliminated from playoff contention by their fifth straight loss.

The Cubs led the NL wild-card race by 11/2 games before collapsing to drop seven of eight. Their slide began a week ago when they blew a 3-0 lead in the ninth with two outs and eventually lost to the Mets, 4-3, in 11 innings.

"It's hard to take," Chicago Manager Dusty Baker said. "It seems like this last week has been a nightmare week. Whatever you do, it seems like it doesn't work. One of the worst stretches I've been through as a manager in a pennant stretch."

Moises Alou, Aramis Ramirez and Sammy Sosa all homered for the Cubs, but Carlos Zambrano couldn't hold a 6-2 lead and boos poured out from Wrigley Field after Atlanta rallied.

* ASTROS 9, ROCKIES 3: Roy Oswalt became the NL's first 20-game winner, and Jeff Kent and Craig Biggio each homered twice, giving host Houston the NL wild-card lead.

The Astros moved a game ahead of the Giants. With a victory in the regular season finale today or a Giants loss, Houston will clinch the NL's final playoff spot -- an improbable thought almost a month ago when it was four games below .500 and seven games behind the Cubs. Roger Clemens was set to take the mound against the Rockies on only three days' rest.

* BREWERS 5, CARDINALS 1: Ben Sheets pitched his fifth complete game of the season and visiting Milwaukee handed NL Central champion St. Louis its fifth loss in six games.

* PIRATES 3, REDS 1: Jason Kendall had three hits and Jose Castillo homered to lead visiting Pittsburgh to victory.

* EXPOS 6, METS 3: Brad Wilkerson hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the ninth, lifting visiting Montreal to victory.

* MARLINS 4, PHILLIES 3: Mike Lowell and Miguel Cabrera each homered to lead visiting Florida to victory.

* DIAMONDBACKS 7, PADRES 6: Host Arizona rallied from a five-run deficit to beat San Diego.

Dodgers' Steve Finley, 39, celebrates his grand slam, which capped a 7-run rally in the ninth in L.A.'s 7-3 win over the Giants. "I knew I was going to get it done."