DENVER -- The Rockies homered three times in the fourth inning Friday night at Coors Field and held on for a 7-4 win over the Dodgers, whose magic number for clinching a third consecutive National League West title is down to two after the Giants lost to the A's, 5-4.
With a victory Saturday over the Rockies and a Giants loss to the A's, the Dodgers will be NL West champions.
Winning pitcher David Hale (5-5) gave up a first-inning run after Jimmy Rollins' triple, then kept the Dodgers at bay for the next four innings to qualify for the win. The Dodgers also scored on a wild pitch in the sixth and Howie Kendrick's two-run single in the seventh.
In his first start since Aug. 23, Hale gave up the fewest earned runs since he held the Giants to two (three total) in a May 23 win. After returning from a groin injury that cost him much of June and July, Hale changed his mechanics and struggled in his starts -- until Friday night. He threw 89 pitches and was happy Weiss extended his pitch count so he could qualify for the victory.
"I'm not blaming [struggles] on that at all, but it's nice to have that as second nature," said Hale, who concentrated on pushing his momentum toward the plate rather than rotationally. "I feel like I'm figuring some stuff out."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Can't sneak anything past the guy: In the second, Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado was shifted to the shortstop area against lefty-hitting Carl Crawford, whose dribbler down the third-base line rolled to the outfield grass for a sure hit. But you can never be sure of anything hitting a ball anywhere near Arenado, a two-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner. After sliding on the grass to stop the ball, Arenado fired to first -- where Crawford had made the turn toward second. Suddenly, the ball was in first baseman Justin Morneau's glove and Crawford had no chance to get to second, and no way back to first.
"I had a feeling he was going to round the bag hard," Arenado said. "It was a ball going down the line and I don't know if he knew I was going to get to it. I just threw the ball over there."
The incredulous looks from his teammates brought a wide grin to Arenado's face.
"Hale was smiling, [shortstop Cristhian] Adames was smiling, and [second baseman Rafael] Ynoa was laughing, and that made me laugh," Arenado said.
Of course, it's not the first time Arenado has pulled off such a behind-the-runner throw.
"In high school one time, there was a line drive hit to left field when we were playing intrasquad," he said. "I was playing short and he was a real slow runner. I was the cutoff man and I threw it to first. He was leaning and I got him out."
Gift runs: Dodgers defending Gold Glove first baseman Adrian Gonzalez made a rare error when Morneau's ground ball went between his legs, leading to two unearned runs. The Dodgers allowed another unearned run in the first inning when Bolsinger, covering first base, dropped a Gonzalez throw.
Line up and fire away:The three-homer fourth matched the Rockies' one-inning high this season. They went deep three times against the Reds on July 26 in a 17-7 victory at Coors. Friday's homer was a nice return for Blackmon, who had sat out the previous two games with neck stiffness. The homer improved Dickerson's total to eight in 58 games during a season shortened by left foot and rib injuries. Gonzalez improved his homer total to 38, one behind Arenado for the team lead.
"The way I look at it, we've got to win three games somehow and we can win them there [in San Francisco]. In my mind, if we can't win there, can't get it done there, we don't deserve it." -- Don Mattingly, when asked if it's important to clinch the division before the Giants series
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Gonzalez became the third player in Rockies history to hit at least 25 home runs after the All-Star break. Andres Galarraga hit 25 after the 1996 break and Bichette had 27 second-half shots in '95.
The Dodgers successfully challenged a safe call by first-base umpire D.J. Reyburn on a pickoff attempt of Tom Murphy by catcher Yasmani Grandal in the fifth. A review official overturned the original call and Murphy was out.
WHAT'S NEXT Dodgers:Brett Anderson, who starts in the 5:10 p.m. PT game, allowed five runs in 4 2/3 innings in his last outing, surrendering two home runs to add to his team-high 17. His 168 1/3 innings are the most he's thrown in any season since his rookie year in 2009 (175 1/3).
Rockies:Righty Kyle Kendrick (6-13, 6.37 ERA) has a shot at finally finding some success against the Dodgers when he starts the middle game at 6:10 p.m. MT. Kendrick is 0-6 with a 5.58 ERA in his past seven starts against them. He last won against them while with the Phillies on Aug. 10, 2010.