DENVER (AP) — Nolan Arenado hit the first of Colorado’s four homers, Chad Bettis picked up his second win since his return from testicular cancer and the Rockies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-1 on Friday night to remain on the verge of clinching their first postseason spot since 2009.
The Rockies have two games remaining and hold a two-game lead over Milwaukee for the second NL wild-card spot. The Brewers beat St. Louis 5-3 to stay in the picture.
A capacity crowd turned out hoping to see a clinch. Instead, fans got fireworks — during the game and after.
Arenado hit a solo homer, while Mark Reynolds, Charlie Blackmon and Trevor Story added two-run shots. All four came with the count full.
Bettis (2-4) allowed one run over seven innings, retiring the final 14 batters he faced.
This was the latest chapter of Bettis’ feel-good story back to the majors. He underwent surgery last November, went through treatments during the spring and into the season before returning to the rotation in August.
Blackmon set a major league record for most RBIs in a season by a leadoff man with his homer in the second. The outfielder with the mullet and bushy beard also added an RBI single and has 102 RBIs from the top spot in the lineup. Blackmon topped Darin Erstad for the mark. Erstad had 100 RBIs from the leadoff spot in 2000 for the Angels.
Los Angeles lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu (5-9) allowed five runs over two innings. It was his shortest outing this season.
The Dodgers remain at 102 wins. That’s tied with the 1962 and ’74 teams for the best mark in L.A. Dodgers history.
Dodgers: INF/OF O’Koyea Dickson may require surgery on his left shoulder.
THIS & THAT
The Dodgers selected the contract of INF/OF Tim Locastro from Triple-A Oklahoma City. He made his major league debut as a pinch runner in the eighth. … 3B Justin Turner and some of his teammates wore a T-shirt to raise money for the Hurricane Maria relief fund. … Arenado had his fourth stolen base of the season negated when home plate umpire Lance Barksdale’s mask got in the way of catcher Yasmani Grandal. Barksdale sent Arenado back to first. … Story finished a double shy of the cycle.
Carlos Gonzalez remains the only player from the ’09 squad that lost to Philadelphia during the NLDS.
“It’s something when we first did it in ’09 you think, ‘Oh, this is going to happen every year,'” Gonzalez said. “It’s frustrating, because year after year, I’m going home and watching the postseason on TV. You’re like, ‘Man, I want to be there.'”
Blackmon’s 37 homers rank third by a leadoff hitter, behind Alfonso Soriano’s 38 in 2002 for the New York Yankees and 39 while with the Washington Nationals in 2006.
“To be in this position and play for something this late in the year, it’s what you play for. To get that sweat shirt that says, whatever it’s going to say this year with October on it — that’s what you play for. Just get in that tournament and anything can happen.” — Reynolds said.
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (18-4, 2.21 ERA) takes the mound Saturday as a tuneup for his Game 1 start of the NLDS next Friday at Dodger Stadium.
Rockies: RHP German Marquez (11-7, 4.38 ERA) leads all major league rookies with 145 strikeouts and is tied with teammate Kyle Freeland for wins.
(@Copyright 2017. The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)