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Tensions were running high in Denver, Colorado on Monday despite the dramatics taking place in Los Angeles, California.
It was arguably the most dramatic setting for a game Colorado Rockies history.
But Walker Buehler took all the wind out of the Rockies sails with a stellar performance that kept Colorado off the board until the final inning. The final from Dodger Stadium: Dodgers 5, Rockies 2. The Dodgers thus win the National League West, and now it’s on to Chicago for a one-game Wild Card play-in game on Tuesday against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
German Marquez came out hot and actually pitched a pretty fantastic game despite his final line. He racked up swings and misses and lived on the edges. But one bad break, one bad pitch, and one phenomenal swing drove him out of the game early.
The Dodgers put some pressure on Marquez in the second when Manny Machado managed a weak liner into center for a single, the first hit of the game. He was able to advance to second on an excellent running catch from David Dahl in left. Dahl went crashing over the wall, allowing the tag up.
It looked like LA was going to have runners at the corners but Cody Bellinger was barely beat to the bag at first (call in the field stood on review) by Marquez for the second out. He fanned Yasiel Puig with a gorgeous slider to strand the runner at third.
The Rockies got the leadoff runners aboard in the third (Ian Desmond HBP) and the fourth (David Dahl walk) but could not score either time.
Trouble was clearly brewing in the bottom of the fourth when the Dodgers got a leadoff runner despite Max Muncy striking out on a high fastball. Catcher Tony Wolters appears to have been crossed up on the pitch and Muncy was easily able to reach first. Marquez came back to strike out Machado and Yasmani Grandal but he left a fastball over the plate against Cody Bellinger, who was 1-for-15 against Marquez before that, and the Dodgers lefty launched it into the right-field bleachers for a two-run homer.
The Dodgers got to Marquez again in the fifth thanks to a leadoff double into the gap for Joc Pederson and another two-run shot, this time from Max Muncy who stayed back perfectly on a fastball on the outer edge to drive it the other way and over the fence in left.
With the pitch count climbing, Bud Black needed to go to his bullpen before Marquez could finish the fifth, handing the ball to lefty rookie Harrison Musgrave who got Grandal to ground out to finish the frame.
Musgrave continued on in the sixth and was ambushed on a first-pitch fastball by Enrique Hernandez who ended up with a ground-rule double to right. In a cruel twist of fate, Buehler poured it one with a single to right that scored another run to put the Dodgers ahead 5-0.
The Rockies put a bit of a scare into the Dodgers with a pair of ninth-inning home runs against Kenley Jansen from Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story to make it 5-2.
But that was all they could muster late. They forced a game 163, but the Colorado Rockies could not unseat the Los Angles Dodgers who won the West for the sixth consecutive time.
The Rockies are not dead yet. They are off to Chicago for the National League Wild Card game. They will face off against lefty veteran Jon Lester.