EditorsNote: Second update: Condenses headline, tweaks to 2nd, 3rd, 7th grafs
Walker Buehler dominated over 6 2/3 innings, while Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy hit home runs, as the Los Angeles Dodgers won their sixth consecutive division title with a 5-2 victory over the visiting Colorado Rockies on Monday in a National League West tiebreaker game.
Game No. 163 was scheduled for the Rockies and Dodgers after they finished the 162-game schedule with identical 91-71 records.
As NL West champions, the Dodgers will open the NL Division Series at home Thursday against the Atlanta Braves. The Rockies, who will travel to Chicago to play in the NL wild-card game Tuesday against the Cubs, will start second-year left-hander Kyle Freeland (17-7) on three days’ rest against left-handed veteran Jon Lester (18-6).
“I’m looking forward to the battle in Chicago,” Freeland said. “I’ve done everything I could to get my arm feeling good from my last start, and it feels good right now. I’m ready to go, and I’m not too worried about being on short rest.”
The Dodgers became the first team to win six consecutive division titles since the New York Yankees won nine consecutive American League East titles from 1998-2006. The Dodgers had never won more than two consecutive division titles before the current run.
Buehler not only allowed just one hit, he had a hit of his own and even collected his first career RBI on his single in the sixth inning. The right-hander walked three with three strikeouts.
Buehler (8-5) did not give up a hit until Charlie Blackmon singled with one out in the sixth inning. The rookie finished the season with a 2.15 ERA against the Rockies over 37 2/3 innings and a 2.62 ERA overall in 137 1/3 innings.
“This is the loudest I’ve ever seen this place. We need this the whole (bleeping) playoffs,” Buehler said on the field during the celebration after the game, apologizing for the profanity.
Asked if he knew he was going to win Monday’s game, Buehler said, “I won’t say ‘Yes.’ (pause) But, yes.”
Bellinger got the Dodgers’ offense going with a two-run home run in the fourth inning, his 25th of the season. Muncy followed in the fifth inning with his own two-run home run, his 35th of the season. The Dodgers finished the season with an NL-leading 235 home runs.
Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story hit ninth-inning back-to-back home runs for the Rockies off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen. It was Arenado’s NL-leading 38th, while Story hit his 37th.
Rockies starter German Marquez (14-11) gave up four runs (two earned) on five hits over 4 2/3 innings with two walks and nine strikeouts. The right-hander finished the regular season with at least nine strikeouts in seven of his final eight starts and had 230 strikeouts on the season, fourth most in the NL.
The Dodgers won their fifth consecutive game against the Rockies going back to Sept. 9 and won the season series 13-7. The Dodgers closed out the season with 25 victories in their last 35 games. Despite the loss, the Rockies won nine of their last 11 games.
—Field Level Media