The Rockies entered the night with their magic number to clinch the second Wild Card spot at two and did their part with a blowout of the NL West champs, but got no help from the Cardinals who lost a 5-3 game to the Brewers.
“We didn’t get to (celebrate) tonight, but hopefully we can take care of business tomorrow,” Rockies shortstop Trevor Story said.
Story was a standout offensively for the Rockies on Friday, going 3-for-4 and finishing a double shy of the cycle in a performance that included his 24th home run of the season. It continued a strong September for Story, who is hitting .272/.303/.573 with 17 extra-base hits in 27 games.
“He’s much more calm at the plate,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “He’s taking good swings, seeing the ball better.”
Story’s home run was one of four the Rockies hit on the night, including three in the first two innings against Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu, setting the tone for a night in which Rockies hitters saw 195 pitches in eight innings. They scored their nine runs on 11 hits, walking five times.
“I think offensively we’re doing a better job,” Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez said. “Everything’s clicking at just the right time, hopefully we can keep that going if we get into the postseason.”
Most notable among the home runs for the Rockies home runs was Charlie Blackmon’s two-run shot off of Ryu in the second inning. The homer gave him 101 RBIs from the leadoff spot, breaking the MLB record set by the Angels’ Darin Erstad in 2000. It earned Blackmon a curtain call from the 48,395 fans at Coors Field, something he said was a first.
“I’d never done that before,” Blackmon said. “That was really cool for me to have that connection there with the fans.”
In addition to the offensive outburst, the Rockies got a strong start on the mound from Chad Bettis, who allowed just one run on four hits in seven innings, walking one and striking out four while getting a dozen ground ball outs.
“He’s not going to be scared to pitch against the Dodgers,” Story said of his teammate. “No offense to the Dodgers, but he beat cancer.”
Bettis finished his outing by retiring the final 14 hitters he faced, and said he felt as good as he has all season.
“From a command and a feel stand point, for sure, I feel like I’m in a really good spot right now,” Bettis said.
The win marked the Rockies’ fifth straight over the Dodgers, their potential NLDS opponent, after a four-game sweep in Los Angeles earlier this month, which the players said gives them confidence for the rest of the regular season and beyond.
“If we want to move forward, we’re going to end up playing those guys,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a good time to play good baseball, don’t let them feel too comfortable.”
As for the present, with their magic number at one, the Rockies are just focusing on one thing.
“We want to win one more game, real bad,” Blackmon said.