The playoff-bound Colorado Rockies are headed to Los Angeles for a tiebreaking game to decide the NL West title after routing the Washington Nationals 12-0 on Sunday behind Charlie Blackmon’s cycle.
Tied atop the division with the Dodgers entering the last day, the Rockies won for the ninth time in 10 games, while Los Angeles routed San Francisco 15-0 to send the season to game 163.
The one-game tiebreaker will be Monday at Dodger Stadium, and the loser goes to the Chicago Cubs or Milwaukee for Tuesday’s wild-card game.
Nolan Arenado hit two of the Rockies’ five homers and took over the National League lead with 37, one more than teammate Trevor Story — who also went deep. David Dahl homered for the sixth time in seven games.
Colorado (91-71), is trying for its first division title.
Blackmon finished off his first career cycle and the ninth in Rockies history with a double in the eighth. He tripled in the first, homered in the third, singled in the fifth and struck out in the sixth.
Tyler Anderson (7-9) didn’t look the least bit bothered by a sore shoulder that sidelined him for about a week. He scattered four hits over 7 2/3 inninhs for his first win since July 4.
Arenado got the Rockies rolling in the first, with a two-run shot off Erick Fedde (2-4), who was starting after the Nationals elected to skip NL Cy Young Award candidate Max Scherzer. Blackmon added a two-run drive in the third.
The Rockies went 19-9 in September, marking the second-most wins in the month in franchise history. The team record is 20 in 2007, when the Rockies made a late surge and beat San Diego in a play-in game to climb into the post-season. They used the momentum to propel them all the way to their only World Series appearance, where they were swept by Boston.
Before the game, Story said he planned to do sneak peeks at the large scoreboard in right field to see how the Dodgers were faring. It wasn’t pretty, as Los Angeles scored early and often.
Late in the game, the fans chanted “Beat LA! Beat LA! Beat LA!” The only cheer louder was the one Anderson received when he was taken out.
Arenado and Story hit back-to-back homers in the seventh to help the Rockies earn their 91st win of the season, which is the second-most in team history. The record is 92 turned in by the 2009 team.
Cubs, Brewers roll
Anthony Rizzo had four hits and scored three times, and the Chicago Cubs set up a tiebreaker game for the NL Central title by beating the St. Louis Cardinals 10-5 on Sunday.
Shortly after Milwaukee completed an 11-0 victory over Detroit, Jorge De La Rosa worked a hitless ninth inning to move the Cubs back into a tie with the Brewers at 95-67. The crowd of 39,275 roared in delight after Francisco Pena flied to right for the final out on a wet, cool afternoon at Wrigley Field.
Now, everything gets real crazy.
Chicago hosts Milwaukee on Monday afternoon and Colorado visits Los Angeles as baseball holds a pair of tiebreaker games on the same day for the first time. At stake is the post-season road for each club.
The winner at Wrigley gets a spot in the division series and home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs. The loser plays again Tuesday night, hosting the runner-up in the NL West in the wild-card game.
St. Louis (88-74) was in contention heading into the final week of the season, but it was swept by Milwaukee before dropping two of three against Chicago. Catcher Yadier Molina, outfielder Marcell Ozuna and infielders Kolten Wong and Jedd Gyorko were held out of the finale due to nagging injuries.
Rizzo and company are looking for another October run, but they have been plagued by an inconsistent offence. It looked like more of the same when Jack Flaherty (8-9) cruised into the third inning with a 2-0 lead and then retired the first two batters.
Then everything changed.
The next six batters reached for Chicago, producing four runs. Rizzo hit a tiebreaking double to give him 100 RBIs on the year, waving his arms in the air as he coasted into second. Jason Heyward added an RBI single.
The Cubs broke it open with four more in the fifth. Kris Bryant roped a two-run double into the left-field corner. Two batters later, Willson Contreras hit a drive to left for his first homer since Aug. 1.