Heading into Saturday the Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies were each in control of their own destinies. A win for the Dodgers meant home-field advantage through the World Series, while a Rockies win secured their spot in the National League Wild Card Game.
Both teams wound up receiving help before the score went final at Coors Field. Prior to first pitch, the Milwaukee Brewers fell to the St. Louis Cardinals, punching the Rockies’ ticket for a date next week with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
With the Houston Astros already having lost to the Boston Red Sox by mid-afternoon, the Cleveland Indians were edged by the Chicago White Sox while the Dodgers and Rockies were in the seventh inning.
That gave the Dodgers homefield in the World Series for only a second time in franchise history. The first was in 1988, the year of the Dodgers’ last championship.
As for what ultimately proved to be a meaningless game, Clayton Kershaw was knocked around in his final tuneup of the regular season. The Rockies’ first two batters reached in each of the first three innings, amounting to five hits and an error on Justin Turner.
Colorado’s damage came in the second inning, behind a Carlos Gonzalez leadoff home run, Jonathan Lucroy RBI double, and Charlie Blackmon run-scoring single. Kershaw did manage to end his outing on a positive note by retiring the side in order in the fourth inning.
The Dodgers began their steady comeback on German Marquez and the Rockies in the third. Yasiel Puig led off with a walk, Chase Utley singled, and Chris Taylor’s groundout two batters later scored Puig from third base.
Following a Curtis Granderson leadoff base hit in the fifth inning, Puig went opposite field for a game-tying home run. Tyler Chattwood replaced Marquez in the seventh and promptly hit Puig and Utley to put two on with nobody out.
After Joc Pederson’s soft grounder advanced both runners, Taylor’s second RBI groundout on the night gave the Dodgers a lead. Utley followed a Puig base hit with a double to drive in an insurance run of what finished as a 5-3 victory.
Six Dodgers relievers combined to throw five scoreless innings. Their work was capped off by Kenley Jansen, who converted a four-out save on his 30th birthday. The 103rd win this season set a new Los Angeles franchise record.
Also of note, Tim Locastro pinch-ran for Utley and stole third base. Locastro is being considered for the 25th spot on the Dodgers playoff roster as a speed threat off the bench.