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DENVER – Soon after 1:12 PM first pitch at Coors Field, it became apparent that Colorado would need to travel to Los Angeles for a one-game playoff in order to claim the National League West. But they would still need to win to force it.
In the process of getting to game 163, Tyler Anderson emerged as the third horse in the Rockies rotation and the offense exploded in a major way.
Charlie Blackmon provided his typical spark to get the offense going with a leadoff triple in the first, the 40th of his career, moving him into fourth in franchise history.
Nolan Arenado blasted one 376-feet to left field to give the Rockies a quick 2-0 lead. His 36th home run helped break a tie with Trevor Story for the team lead; he would add another homer in the seventh to give him 37 for the season.
Story, not to be outdone, followed Arenado’s second home run with his own solo shot, his 36th, a 435-ft bomb.
The back-to-back blasts were the second time Arenado and Story had come together this season, the first time being June 19th against the Mets.
The five home runs on Sunday gave Colorado eighteen over the final five-game span, just three short of the MLB record.
Anderson helped himself with a line drive single to left field in the third inning. Blackmon followed up by lifting one 397-feet to right field for his 29th of the season to give Colorado a 4-0 lead.
The Rockies added three in the fifth and two more in the seventh.
David Dahl joined the home run barrage with Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu aboard in the fifth inning to give him six long balls in seven games.
Anderson induced weak contact all game and benefited from solid defense all game, some of which came from him.
The game’s first pitch resulted in a single by Nationals center fielder Victor Robles. Anderson promptly responded by picking off Robles on his second attempt.
Trea Turner’s single to left field meant the Nationals were 2-for-2 to start the game, but Anderson’s first pitch fastball to former Las Vegas prep teammate Bryce Harper was hammered in the dirt to start a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
A similar scene unraveled in the third when Anderson walked the first two batters. After retiring former Rockies first baseman Mark Reynolds, Anderson fielder a line drive off the bat of Adrian Sanchez and fired to Ian Desmond for the second consecutive inning-ending double play.
Desmond made an over-the-shoulder catch in foul territory to end the fifth and a 5-4-3 double-play ended the sixth.
Anderson flirted with throwing the first complete game of the season for the Rockies but was lifted with two outs in the eighth in favor of Seunghwan Oh.
With an RBI double in the bottom of the eighth, Blackmon not only put the cherry on the sundae for the win but also hit for the ninth cycle in club history.
They poured on three more runs in that frame to extend the lead our to 12-0, nearly matching the 15-0 score the Dodgers put on the Giants.
Colorado finishes with a record of 91-71 and will need one more game to decide the champions of the NL West.
Tyler Anderson: 7.2 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K
Seunghwan Oh: 0.1, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
Chris Rusin: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
Charlie Blackmon: 4-for-5, 3 R, 2 RBI (HR: 29)
Nolan Arenado: 2-for-4, 2 R, 3 RBI (2 HR: 37)
Trevor Story: 2-for-4, 1 R, 2 RBI (HR: 36)
David Dahl: 1-for-3, 1 R, 3 RBI (HR: 16)
Game 163. One game for the division in LA against the Dodgers. The starters are expected to be Walker Buehler and German Marquez.