Dodgers claim NL West title, Kenta Maeda contributes in relief

Dodgers claim NL West title, Kenta Maeda contributes in relief

The Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies all finished with identical records in the National League central and western divisions respectively, so the extra games were needed to determine which teams would take the division.

Of the seven previous teams to win a tiebreaker game in the wild-card era (1995-present), only the 2007 Rockies went on to play in the World Series (lost to Red Sox) and only two other teams got as far as a league championship series (1995 Mariners and 1999 Mets).

The victor hosts Atlanta in a best-of-five Division Series starting Thursday; the loser is on the road for the NL wild-card game Tuesday against the loser of Monday's Brewers-Cubs NL Central tiebreaker. Monday's losers will be back on the field Tuesday, forced to face off in the single-game elimination NL Wild-Card Game. The Rockies will counter with German Marquez, who struck out eight straight to begin his last start. Game 163, as it turned out, was a big letdown for the Rockies, who have still not won a division title in their 26 years of existence. Marquez will oppose rookie right-hander Walker Buehler (7-5, 2.76), who has faced the Rockies five times this season.

Blackmon tripled in the first, homered in the third and singled in the fifth to help Colorado make quick work of the Nationals and force an extra game for the division crown.

The Colorado Rockies' Charlie Blackmon completed a cycle by hitting an RBI double in the bottom of the eighth inning Sunday.

So the Dodgers win the N.L. west for a record sixth time in a row.

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But Walker Buehler took all the wind out of the Rockies sails with a stellar performance that kept Colorado off the board until the final inning. He allowed only one hit over 6 2/3 innings and even drove in a run of his own at the plate.

"We are going to the playoffs tomorrow, and that's an awesome opportunity", Blackmon said. The tiebreakers are considered part of the regular season, and stats are counted accordingly.

In such an important game, the Dodgers chose to hand the ball to rookie Walker Buehler, and he came through in a big way.

Buehler's only slip-up came on the field after the game when he let loose with an inadvertent expletive, having been handed the mic after fans demanded to hear from him. The Rockies pounded Washington 12-0 on Sunday and Los Angeles routed San Francisco 15-0.

J.D. Martinez hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning, and host Boston concluded the best regular season in team history with a victory over NY. He ended up missing five games.

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