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Dodgers beat Rockies, move closer to division crown

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Pederson & Ethier hit bac-to-back home runs in the 4th inningk

Colorado Rockies v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers started the night in front of a frenzied crowd at Dodger Stadium, and kept the aura of good feeling alive with a 5-2 win over the Rockies, bringing LA to the precipice of a fourth consecutive National League West title.

Coupled with the Giants’ loss in San Diego, the Dodgers now own a seven-game lead in the division with eight games to play, with a magic number to clinch the division of just two.

The wonderful ceremony for Vin Scully ran about an hour, which delayed the start until 7:45 p.m., about 25 minutes after originally planned. But the layoff didn’t hurt the Dodgers, who rallied immediately in the first inning.

Yasmani Grandal, who homered twice including a grand slam on Thursday night, found himself up with the bases loaded in the opening frame. He didn’t go deep this time, but his fly ball single into shallow right field scored a pair for an early lead.

Scott Kazmir left after one inning with right intercostal spasms, but Ross Stripling picked up the slack with three scoreless innings to keep Colorado at bay. Six Dodgers relief pitchers combined to pitch the final eight innings.

Joc Pederson and Andre Ethier hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning to widen the Dodgers’ advantage. For Ethier, it was his first home run of the season and his second extra-base hit in as many nights.

For the 24-year-old Pederson, it was his 24th home run of the season, after hitting 26 in 2015. In Dodgers history there have only been two players with two 25-homer seasons through age 25 — Duke Snider and Matt Kemp.

Chase Utley was hit by a pitch, advanced to third on a single by Justin Turner then scored on a sacrifice fly by Adrian Gonzalez for an insurance run.

Kenley Jansen closed things out in the ninth for his career-high 47th save of the season. He has 101 strikeouts and 9 walks in 2016.

7th inning stretch

A recording of Scully singing ‘Take Me Out To The Ballgme’ set to music was played during the seventh inning stretch, leading the Dodger Stadium crowd. Scully and his wife Sandra stood and sang along with the recording from the booth, and during that break a banner was unveiled in front of Scully’s announcing booth, reading “I’ll miss you.”

Friday particulars

Home runs: Joc Pederson (24), Andre Ethier (1); Nolan Arenado (40)

WP - Ross Stripling (5-8): 3 IP, 2 hits, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts

LP - Jon Gray (10-9): 4 IP, 3 hits, 4 runs, 3 walks, 10 strikeouts

Sv - Kenley Jansen (47): 1 IP, 2 strikeouts