LOS ANGELES (AP) – Jeff Francis came out of the bullpen to win his first start in more than three months, Michael Cuddyer won his first batting title, and Todd Helton singled in the final game of his career to help the Colorado Rockies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1 Sunday.
The NL West champion Dodgers, who lost four of their last five games to finish 92-70, will open the NL division seriess at Atlanta on Thursday.
Colorado (74-88) its their first winning record against the Dodgers since 2007, going 10-9.
Cuddyer went 1 for 5 with three strikeouts and finished the season with a .331 batting average to win the batting title by 10 points over Atlanta’s Chris Johnson, who was held out Sunday to rest his right shoulder.
Francis (3-5) made his first start since June 18 at Toronto, having made 11 previous appearances out of the bullpen. The left-hander allowed one run and three hits in five innings. Rex Brothers pitched the ninth for his 19th save in 21 chances.
Helton was 1 for 4 with a walk and a strikeout, singling his first time up. The first baseman announced two weeks ago that he will retire after his 17th season in the big leagues. He finished with 2,519 hits, 592 doubles, and 369 home runs.
In his last at-bat, Helton received a standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 52,396, and he waved his left hand in acknowledgement before stepping into the batter’s box. He struck out swinging as the crowd rose for a final ovation.
Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully paid tribute to Helton on the video board before the game. Fans gave Helton a standing ovation and he waved his cap to the crowd as both teams joined in the applause.
The Dodgers’ rally attempt came up short in the ninth after they loaded the bases with one out. Brothers struck out Tim Federowicz and Skip Schumaker to end the game.
Hyun-Jin Ryu (14-8) walked his first batter of the game before giving up three consecutive singles, with Troy Tulowitzki driving in Colorado’s first run on his single to left. The Rockies made it 2-0 in the fourth on Charlie Blackmon’s RBI single.
Los Angeles closed to 2-1 in the fifth on Skip Schumaker’s RBI single.
Ryu gave up two runs and eight hits on four innings in his shortest start of the season. The left-hander struck out four and walked one.
NOTES: Dodgers OF Andre Ethier’s playoff status remains in doubt because of shin splints. He was in Arizona on Sunday, but will rejoin the team for its workout Tuesday at Dodger Stadium. That will be the club’s last chance to evaluate Ethier’s condition before finalizing the playoff roster. “It’s really going to see what he can do,” manager Don Mattingly said. “Then we’ll decide if that’s going to be enough.” … The Dodgers became the first team since the 2010 Yankees to lead the majors in home and road attendance and the the first NL team since 1988. A total of 3,743,527 fans attended 81 home games, while the road attendance was 2,863,247 in 81 games. … Dodgers RHP Peter Moylan’s wife, Amanda, sang the national anthem and “God Bless America.”
– By BETH HARRIS, AP Sports Writer
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