LOS ANGELES — For the 15th time in franchise history, and for the fourth straight year, the Dodgers are champions of the National League West. Charlie Culberson hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning to beat the Rockies 4-3, giving them an eight-game division lead, insurmountable with six games left to play.
Culberson had three hits in the win, his home run the first Dodgers walk-off clincher since Steve Finley in 2004.
Down 3-2 in the ninth, Corey Seager hit a tying home run with two outs, getting back the run from the top of the frame when David Dahl homered off Kenley Jansen.
The Dodgers had their usual troubles with Tyler Anderson, scoring just two runs as he pitched into the seventh. Justin Turner was in the middle of both rallies, doubling in the second inning, then singling and scoring in the seventh.
Seager hit a triple to drive in Turner to tie the score and drive Anderson from the game. It was Seager’s 70th extra-base hit of the season, the first Dodger to do since Matt Kemp (76) in 2011.
Seager finished with three hits, and 100 hits at home in 2016, just the 11th season of 100 or more hits in a season at Dodger Stadium.
Brandon McCarthy pitched very well in his first major league start in six weeks, showing no signs of the control problems that sidelined him. McCarthy allowed two runs on four hits in 5⅓ innings, walking only one while striking out six.
The fourth consecutive postseason trip for the Dodgers is unprecedented in franchise history, as was their third straight trip to the playoffs last year. In addition, the Dodgers (90-66) have now won 90 or more games in four consecutive seasons for the first time since doing so in Brooklyn from 1951-56.
Despite crippling injuries to their starting rotation, including losing ace Clayton Kershaw for over 10 weeks, the Dodgers have persevered thanks to a bullpen that has excelled with an uncommon workload.
The Dodgers’ bullpen leads MLB in games (577) and innings pitched (561), setting franchise records for both. Despite the heavy workload, the relievers have excelled, entering Sunday tops in baseball in bullpen ERA (3.22) and strikeouts (600), while third in FIP (3.52) and fourth in strikeout rate (26.4%).
The low point of the season was June 26, a loss to the Pirates in what would be Kershaw’s last start for 75 days. That loss dropped the Dodgers eight games behind the Giants, but despite the setback the Dodgers are 49-30 (.620) since then to overtake San Francisco.
The offense helped pick up the slack, especially after the All-Star break, averaging 5.00 runs per game after scoring 4.20 runs before the break.
The Dodgers have made quite a finishing kick, at 16-7 so far in September, and won 11 of their last 12 games at home.
The Dodgers will play the National League East champion Washington Nationals in the NLDS. Home field advantage is still to be decided, with Washington holding a 1½-game lead at the moment. LA needs nine of 14 outcomes to go their way (a Dodgers win or a Nationals loss) to secure home field advantage in the first round.
Home runs: Corey Seager (26), Charlie Culberson (1); David Dahl (7)
WP - Joe Blanton (7-2): 1 IP, 2 hits, 1 strikeout
LP - Boone Logan (2-5): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts