Rookie Walker Buehler tossed one-hit ball into the seventh inning, Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy launched two-run homers, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies 5-2 in a tiebreaker to earn their record sixth consecutive NL West title.
The defending NL champion Dodgers became the first major league team to win six straight division crowns since the Yankees captured nine AL East titles in a row from 1998-2006.
Los Angeles now hosts Atlanta in the best-of-five NL Division Series beginning Thursday.
Denied their first division title in franchise history, the Rockies head to Wrigley Field to play the Chicago Cubs in the NL wild-card game on Tuesday night.
Pitching in 90-degree heat, Buehler was oh-so-cool in closing out a regular season that ended with Game 163 after both teams had identical records of 91-71.
The soft-spoken, 24-year-old from Lexington, Kentucky, has been so steady of late that manager Dave Roberts had no qualms about giving Buehler the ball for the crucial game that helped decide the Dodgers’ postseason fate.
He settled in quickly, retiring his first six batters in a row, and never did allow a run.
Buehler (8-5) had his no-hit bid broken up in the sixth on Charlie Blackmon’s single, one of his two hits for the Rockies.
Buehler even helped himself offensively, hitting a single in the sixth for his first professional RBI and extending the Dodgers’ lead to 5-0.
After giving up a two-out walk to Carlos Gonzalez in the seventh, Buehler exited to a standing ovation from the announced crowd of 47,816. He waved his right hand and quickly strode to the dugout as fans chanted his last name. The right-hander struck out three and walked three.
Despite posting the best road record in franchise history (44-38), the Rockies couldn’t get untracked. They didn’t advance a runner past second base until the ninth when Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story homered back-to-back off closer Kenley Jansen.
Jansen then retired the next three batters in a row.
The Dodgers’ two homers extended their franchise and NL-leading total to 235 on the season.
Bellinger got the Dodgers on the board with his 25th homer in the fourth, a two-out shot to left that made it 2-0. Muncy struck out leading off but was safe at first on a passed ball by catcher Tony Wolters. After Manny Machado and Yasmani Grandal struck out, Bellinger connected on a 1-0 pitch from German Marquez (14-11).
Joc Pederson doubled to deep right-center leading off the fifth. One out later, Muncy hit his 35th homer to left-center, extending the lead to 4-0 and chasing Marquez.
Marquez (14-11) gave up four runs — two earned — and five hits in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out nine and walked two.
The Dodgers played their first tiebreaker since 1980, when they lost to Houston for the division title.
The Rockies were on a roll coming into the club’s second tiebreaker and first for the NL West title, having won nine of 10 since being swept at Dodger Stadium from Sept. 17-19.
The Dodgers get two days off before the division series. The Rockies were headed to Chicago immediately after the game.
Source: The Associated Press