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Rockies play small ball, long ball, secure sweep of Dodgers with 12-5 win

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A three-run home run from Nolan Arenado and some excellent small ball in the sixth inning helped the Rockies to a win.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

DENVER -- The Colorado Rockies concluded their home season with a 12-5 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers Sunday, completing a sweep of the presumptive NL West champions.

"We really want to finish strong," Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu said. "I thought we played with a lot of energy this series, this homestand and ended this homestand right. It felt good to beat them like that."

The sweep prevented the Dodgers from clinching the division at Coors Field, as Los Angeles' magic number still sits at two over the Giants, against whom they start a series today.

"It was nice to not see them celebrate here, that's for sure," Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado said.

Los Angeles got on the board first in the top of the second when an Arenado throwing error allowed Alex Guerrero to score, giving the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. The Rockies then leveled the score in the bottom of the inning on back-to-back doubles from Corey Dickerson and Rafael Ynoa.

The Dodgers then piled on three more runs in the third thanks to a trio of singles that followed a leadoff walk to Justin Ruggiano. Considering the trouble he was in, Rockies starter Chris Rusin did a good job of stopping the bleeding in the third and going on to hold Los Angeles scoreless for the rest of his outing.

Rusin pitched 5⅓ innings, allowing four runs, three earned, on eight hits with three walks and three srikeouts. He threw 100 pitches, 64 for strikes. Rockies manager Walt Weiss had praise for the lefty's performance in 2015 after the game.

"There's been times this year where he's been one of our most effective starters, if not the most effective starter for stretches," Weiss said.

Down 4-2 in the fourth, the Rockies got a run on a force out from LeMahieu before Arenado gave his team a 6-4 lead with a three-run home run, his 41st of the season.

"He just keeps adding to his amazing season, he did it again today," Weiss said of his third baseman.

After a rough stretch after the All-Star break and into August, Arenado has picked things back up in September, having possibly the best month of his career.

"I was having a tough time there for a while," Arenado said. "I was talkting to (Rockies trainer Keith Duggar) and I was talking to my mom, actually, and they told me to stop thinking and go up there and just hit the ball hard, and having a clear mind is what helped me out."

LeMahieu also had praise for his teammate, saying Arenado's contributions go beyond being a top-notch power hitter.

"He drives in clutch runs when we need them, goes the other way when he needs to, he hits for power, but he's just a good hitter overall," LeMahieu said.

The Rockies added to their lead in the sixth with three more runs in an inning that was highlighted by a perfectly-placed squeeze bunt from LeMahieu to score catcher Tom Murphy. Weiss said the squeeze was a call LeMahieu made on his own.

"When you're out there in that situation, the squeeze is always an option, and DJ did a great job," Weiss said.

LeMahieu said it was confidence in his bunting ability, along with some struggles against Dodgers reliever Pedro Baez, who was on the mound at the time, that led to the decision to bunt.

"I knew if I got that bunt down how I wanted to we were going to score that run," LeMahieu said.

A home sweep of the Dodgers is something the Rockies can look to and take pride in as the offseason approaches, and they will now look to finish strong away from Coors Field as they hit the road to face the Diamondbacks and the Giants to close out the 2015 season.

"We didn't quit," Arenado said. "This season hasn't gone our way, but we didn't quit, we come out every day and play as hard as we can."