DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Rockies showed patience at the plate by hitting four two-out, full-count homers.
Now, a little more patience may be all that’s necessary for something special.
Nolan Arenado hit the first of Colorado’s homers, Chad Bettis picked up his second win since his return from testicular cancer and the Rockies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-1 on Friday night to remain on the verge of clinching their first postseason spot since 2009.
The Rockies have two games remaining and hold a two-game lead over Milwaukee for the second NL wild-card spot. The Brewers beat St. Louis 5-3 to stay in the picture. With the Brewers playing an afternoon game Saturday, the Rockies potentially could clinch before they take the field later that night.
“The ball is in your court and you don’t want to drop it,” Bettis said. “That has a lot to say about how we’re playing right now. We’re on a roll.”
A capacity crowd turned out hoping to see a clinch. Instead, fans got fireworks — during the game and after.
Arenado hit a solo homer, while Mark Reynolds, Charlie Blackmon and Trevor Story added two-run shots.
Bettis (2-4) allowed one run over seven innings, retiring the final 14 batters he faced.
This was the latest chapter of Bettis’ feel-good story back to the majors. He underwent surgery last November, went through treatments during the spring and into the season before returning to the rotation in August.
“That was great for all of us, I think for everybody — organizationally and even fans of the Rockies who have followed Chad’s year,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “To see this, in probably one of the biggest games he’s ever pitched? To respond like this?”
Bettis had some of his best stuff, too.
“It was a lot of fun. I tried soaking it in,” Bettis said.
Blackmon set a major league record for most RBIs in a season by a leadoff man with his homer in the second. The outfielder with the mullet and bushy beard also added an RBI single and has 102 RBIs from the top spot in the lineup. Blackmon topped Darin Erstad for the mark. Erstad had 100 RBIs from the leadoff spot in 2000 for the Angels.
“For Charlie to surpass Darin is quite an achievement,” said Black, who was the pitching coach for the Angels back then. “Two outstanding players.”
Los Angeles lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu (5-9) allowed five runs over two innings. It was his shortest outing this season.
Asked if this hurt Ryu’s chances of being in the postseason rotation, manager Dave Roberts responded: “It’s one of those things that we’ve got some tough decisions to make. You never want to think that it’s one start that kind of determines a player’s postseason fate.”
THIS & THAT
The Dodgers selected the contract of INF/OF Tim Locastro from Triple-A Oklahoma City. He made his major league debut as a pinch runner in the eighth. … 3B Justin Turner and some of his teammates wore a T-shirt to raise money for the Hurricane Maria relief fund. … Story finished a double shy of the cycle. … Colorado has scored six or more runs in three straight games for the first time since mid-July. … Colorado has won five straight over L.A.
OF Carlos Gonzalez remains the only player from the ’09 squad that lost to Philadelphia during the NLDS.
“It’s something when we first did it in ’09 you think, ‘Oh, this is going to happen every year,'” Gonzalez said. “It’s frustrating, because year after year, I’m going home and watching the postseason on TV. You’re like, ‘Man, I want to be there.'”
Blackmon’s 37 homers rank third by a leadoff hitter, behind Alfonso Soriano’s 38 in 2002 for the New York Yankees and 39 while with the Washington Nationals in 2006.
“To be in this position and play for something this late in the year, it’s what you play for. To get that sweat shirt that says, whatever it’s going to say this year with October on it — that’s what you play for. Just get in that tournament and anything can happen.” — Reynolds said.
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (18-4, 2.21 ERA) takes the mound Saturday as a tuneup for his Game 1 start of the NLDS next Friday at Dodger Stadium.
Rockies: RHP German Marquez (11-7, 4.38 ERA) leads all major league rookies with 145 strikeouts and is tied with teammate Kyle Freeland for wins.
By PAT GRAHAM, AP Sports Writer
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