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Rockies thump Dodgers, WC magic number 1

September 30, 2017

DENVER -- The Rockies did their part -- emphatically -- Friday night at Coors Field.Trevor Story homered and tripled on a three-hit night, Charlie Blackmon homered and drove in three runs to work his way into the Major League record books and Nolan Arenado and Mark Reynolds also went deep

DENVER -- The Rockies did their part -- emphatically -- Friday night at Coors Field.
Trevor Story homered and tripled on a three-hit night, Charlie Blackmon homered and drove in three runs to work his way into the Major League record books and Nolan Arenado and Mark Reynolds also went deep as the Rockies clobbered the Dodgers, 9-1, to reduce their magic number to clinch the second National League Wild Card spot to one.
"We've had our ups and downs, but we've stayed the course and we've put in a lot of work," said Story, who had a shot at a cycle before Brock Stewart walked him in the eighth. "We're not there yet, we still have a little business to take care of, but it's exciting for sure. "

The Rockies, who also saw righty Chad Bettis (2-4) hold the Dodgers to one run on four hits over seven innings, didn't quite punch their postseason ticket, as the Brewers stayed alive with a 5-3 win over the Cards Friday night. Colorado is one more win or a Milwaukee loss away from sewing up a Wednesday matchup against the D-backs at Chase Field in the NL Wild Card Game, the winner of which will open an NL Division Series against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium next Friday.
A Rockies club that a little more than a week ago was shut out in three of five games has found its bats. They've won three straight, with six or more runs in each game, and finished a rough road trip on Sunday with an eight-run performance.
"Guys sense that now is the time to put it together, and we've done it," Blackmon said. "If I knew exactly why we were that good, we would be that good all the time."
Bettis rises to occasion against Dodgers

Los Angeles, which has already clinched home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs, saw its lead over the Indians for the best record in baseball shrink to one game. The Dodgers can no longer tie the franchise record of 105 wins, set by the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers, but they have two games left break the Los Angeles-era record of 102 they currently share with the 1974 club.
"Those guys are fighting for their lives," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of the Rockies. "They got on us early and stayed on us. They're playing with some urgency."
The Rockies' 13th sold-out crowd of the season (48,495), attracted by fireworks and the potential to watch a clinching celebration, reached delirium immediately. Arenado crushed his 37th homer, reaching 130 RBIs for the third straight season as he began a three-hit night. Reynolds followed two batters later with a two-run shot for his 30th homer -- both off Hyun-Jin Ryu (5-9), who coughed up five runs and three homers. Blackmon's 37th homer -- a two-run shot in the second -- established the rout. 
Ryu's rough night could alter postseason plan

Over the fence, into the record book: Blackmon's homer was a 454-footer high into the second deck in right. It drove his RBI total to 102. More importantly, it was his 101st RBI from the leadoff spot, which broke the MLB record of the Angels' Darin Erstad in 2000 (when Rockies manager Bud Black was pitching coach). Blackmon added an RBI single in the fifth to push the record to 102.
"Two outstanding players, two outstanding guys who do it the right way," Black said. "You can make some comparisons about how these two players go about it -- the intensity, the preparation, what they do prior to a game to get ready for a game.
"Erstad in his career and what I've seen from Charlie almost mirror each other."
Blackmon breaks leadoff-hitter RBI record

Chad leaves LA hanging: Bettis returned from testicular cancer in August with two solid, seven-inning efforts, but the righty hadn't gone more than 5 1/3 innings since. But this would not be a short one. Bettis, who finished with four strikeouts against one walk, retired the final 14 Dodgers he faced. He ended with a John Forsythe grounder -- his 12th out on the ground.
"Bettis put the ball on the ground," said Roberts. "For us, in this ballpark, you get the ball in the air and better things can happen. We really didn't get a whole lot of good things off him. He was in control."

"We want to come out and win a ballgame, and that's what we did. Tomorrow, we want to win another ballgame. It's going to be tough with [Clayton] Kershaw on the bump. We've got to battle. If we want to win, we've got to beat the best." -- Arenado, whose team has beaten the Dodgers five straight times to clinch the season series (10-7 with two games left)
A challenge from the Rockies led to an out being overturned and helped fashion a two-run fifth. With two on, Bettis bunted with Carlos Gonzalez at second, courtesy of his own double. Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner attempted a third-to-first double play. Gonzalez was called out, but Bettis beat the throw at first. However, replay showed that Turner's right foot left the bag early. Gonzalez would score on a passed ball, and Blackmon would single in another run for a 9-1 lead.

Dodgers: Kershaw (18-4, 2.21 ERA) gets his final start to polish up credentials for a fourth NL Cy Young Award in Saturday night's 5:10 p.m. PT start against the Rockies. He is 21-7 with a 3.16 ERA in 37 career starts against Colorado.
Rockies: Righty German Marquez (11-7, 4.38 ERA) has seen a gradual return of his release point, which has helped his fastball and curve, and is coming off a win in his last start. He will bring a 6-3 record and 4.60 ERA at Coors Field (12 starts) into Saturday's game against the Dodgers. First pitch is set for 6:10 p.m. MT.
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Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for since 2001.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and** like his Facebook page**.