DENVER -- On a Saturday night when everyone left Coors Field happy, Chris Taylor's seventh-inning fielder's choice grounder -- his second such productive out of the game -- gave the Dodgers a 5-3 victory over the Rockies.
Already having celebrated the National League West title and the NL's best record, the Dodgers ended up with home-field advantage should they advance to the World Series. The Indians' 2-1 loss to the White Sox earlier Saturday assured that. The best the Indians, with the American League's best record, can do is tie the Dodgers; however, Los Angeles won two of three from the Tribe earlier this season.
The Rockies entered the game in celebration mode, having captured the second NL Wild Card -- the team's first playoff berth since 2009. Not long before first pitch, the Brewers were eliminated from postseason contention when the Cardinals completed a 7-6, come-from-behind victory at St. Louis.
"This is only going to last a couple hours, but this is what it's all about," said third baseman Nolan Arenado in a raucous Rockies clubhouse that didn't care about the result of the game.
The game was delayed at the start for 20 minutes. The official explanation was weather, but the Dodgers weren't so sure, especially after the Rockies tweeted a video of their players celebrating (no champagne) before the game.
"Yeah, there's different stories with that one," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. "Didn't see any rain. By coincidence, the final score of the Brewers-Cardinals game came and they push the start back 20 minutes. It is what it is. We're not going to fret over it. We won a baseball game and we'll try to do the same thing tomorrow."
The Rockies and D-backs will meet Wednesday at Chase Field for the right to face the Dodgers in the NL Division Series presented by T-Mobile, which begins Friday at Dodger Stadium.
In addition to a four-inning tuneup for Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers used the game to give the bullpen a workout. Six relievers pitched, Kenley Jansen recorded a four-out save (No. 41) and three pitchers (Brock Stewart, Tony Cingrani and Pedro Baez) appeared on back-to-back days in what amounted to a test for postseason duty.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Eight years coming:Carlos Gonzalez, the only player left from the Rockies' last postseason trip in 2009 -- when he was a rookie, thanked the fans during a pregame interview that was shown on the large video board, then delivered a second-inning solo homer, off Kershaw, over the out-of-town scoreboard in right field. It was the 14th homer this season and 211th in a Rockies uniform for Gonzalez, who is in the final year of his contract. Gonzalez went 2-for-3.
"I hit a home run because I was so excited," Gonzalez said. "I was saying before the game that it was so special. I had a smile the whole night."
It's on! … well, maybe: The Dodgers' Yasiel Puig tied the game at 3 with his 28th homer of the season, a two-run shot in the fifth off Rockies starter German Marquez. As Puig circled the bases, a sizable contingent of blue-clad fans behind the visiting dugout broke into a "Let's go, Dodgers" chant. The uprising was booed down by the purple-loving majority. Could it have been a preview of the emotion that could break out should the Rockies defeat the D-backs and face the Dodgers in the NLDS?
"The best birthday present was seeing Dodgers fans dominate Coors Field," said Jansen, who was celebrating his 30th birthday.
"I guess all day long I just assumed Milwaukee was going to win and then we just needed to win today. Fortunately, they lost and we didn't have to really worry too much about it. We went out there and played a good game, but came up on the wrong end of it." -- Rockies closer Greg Holland, who gave up a run in the top of the ninth
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon went 2-for-3 to bring his batting average to .330, which essentially assures him of the NL batting title. The Dodgers' Justin Turner went 0-for-2 before leaving for a pinch-hitter and sits at .321. If they even play in Sunday afternoon's regular-season finale, which makes no difference to either team going into the postseason, Blackmon would have to go 0-for-6 and Turner 6-for-6 for Turner to overtake him.
Rockies shortstop Trevor Story was ruled out on a double-play attempt in the first inning, but after a manager's challenge, the call was overturned.
Dodgers: After the game, Roberts named Thomas Stripling as the starter for Sunday's 12:10 p.m. PT game, but said Stripling figures to pitch only two innings because he pitched Friday night and the bullpen will pick up the rest. It would have been Yu Darvish's turn, but he had a pregame throwing session on the Coors Field mound instead. Brandon McCarthy would have started, but he became the latest Dodger to take ill.
Rockies: The Rockies announced lefty Tyler Anderson (6-6, 4.81 ERA) to start Sunday's regular-season finale at 1:10 p.m. MT. Anderson is 3-1 with a 1.19 ERA and 18 strikeouts against three walks since recovering from left knee surgery and being reinstated from the disabled list Sept. 10.
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