LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers gave Vin Scully a championship sendoff in his final Dodger Stadium broadcast, as reserve Charlie Culberson blasted a two-out walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning on Sunday to clinch a fourth consecutive National League West crown with a 4-3 win over the Rockies.
The clubs traded home runs with two outs in the ninth inning, with David Dahl giving the Rockies a 3-2 lead with a homer off closer Kenley Jansen, and then Corey Seager tying the game and earning a curtain call with a blast off Adam Ottavino. Culberson's home run, off Boone Logan, was his first since 2014.
"You get your best player in Corey hitting a game-tying home run, then Charlie Culberson, a non-roster player who made our club and went up and down and had his struggles but did whatever we asked, and he hits a walk-off home run to clinch, well, I love Charlie Culberson," said manager Dave Roberts.
The postseason opens for the Dodgers on Friday, Oct. 7 against the NL East champion Nationals, who hold a 1 1/2-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage in the best-of-five series. Scully will not work in the postseason; his final broadcasts will be the last three games of the regular season in San Francisco next weekend.
"Vin, we love you and this is for you, my friend," Roberts said, throwing the on-field celebration up to Scully for a farewell message to the Dodger Stadium fans.
With starter Brandon McCarthy returning from the disabled list and an admitted case of the yips, a 31st bullpen win, 45th comeback win and a game-winning home run from a callup, Roberts agreed that in many ways this win symbolized the resilience of his club this season. It was the club's first clinching walk-off homer since Steve Finley's grand slam in 2004 beat the Giants.
Yasiel Puig's sacrifice fly in the third inning scored the first Dodgers run after a single by Howie Kendrick and double by Justin Turner. Seager tied the game with a one-out triple in the seventh inning to score Turner and chase Rockies starter Tyler Anderson. McCarthy, activated after five weeks on the disabled list with hip and wildness issues, allowed two runs in 5 1/3 solid innings in a longshot bid to be the fourth starter in the postseason.
Dahl, a rookie called to the Majors July 25, had struck out on high pitches both previous times facing Jansen, and was determined not to swing under the ball. Instead he hit it just right and had reacted joyfully to his seventh Major League homer.
"I was really pumped up -- that was probably the most emotion I've shown in a while," Dahl said.
Instead, it was Culberson admiring the length and import of his homer, and tossing his helmet into the California sky as he rounded third, and, after stomping on the plate, going to the mound with both arms raised. Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu said of his former-infield teammate, "It's a cool moment for him, really cool. Happy for him. Bad timing for us. It just wasn't our day."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Escape act: Before Seager's game-tying triple, Anderson faced runners in scoring position and gave up a grand total of one run. The first two hitters reached in the second and third. In the second he escaped against the bottom of the lineup, with ground balls sandwiching a strikeout of Culberson. In the third, the only run scored on Puig's sacrifice fly.
Better late than never: With an opposing left-handed starter on the mound, the Dodgers went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded 11. They put runners on second and third with no outs in the second and third innings, but scored only once on a Puig sacrifice fly, and left two runners on in the fourth and fifth innings as well.
You don't always believe in fate, but sometimes: Even with Anderson's solid work, Chris Rusin throwing 1 2/3 scoreless innings to run his string to 9 2/3 and Dahl's homer, it seemed the magic of the weekend pulled the Dodgers through. Ottavino had two outs, but suddenly watched his cutter go into the right-field corner stands, courtesy of Seager. More >
"I don't believe in stuff like that," Ottavino said. "But at the same time, it sure worked out that way today. They go down in stunning fashion. It looks like I'm not going to give up a run. They hit a homer and then another homer to clinch the division on Vin's day. So it's just kind of amazing."
Rockies manager Walt Weiss added, "Vin has a lot of pull, I guess."
"He's Rookie of the Year, MVP, all of the above." -- Roberts on Seager
"I wanted to see how they did it, because everybody on this team thinks and believes that we're going to do that next year. I wanted to watch them enjoy it. They worked hard. They earned it. But I hope to not be far behind." -- Anderson, who sat in the dugout in uniform, watching the Dodgers' celebration
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Dodgers are the first club in National League West history to win the division in four consecutive seasons and the last NL team to win four straight since the Phillies in 2007-11. The Tigers did it in 2011-14.
WHAT'S NEXT Rockies: Rookie righty German Marquez, 21, held the Cardinals to one run in five innings while winning his first Major League start on Wednesday. Next, he'll face another team trying to determine its playoffs chances, the Giants, on Tuesday at AT&T Park. First pitch is at 8:15 p.m. MT.
Dodgers: After a day off on Monday, the Dodgers on Tuesday start rookie Jose De Leon in a 7:10 p.m. PT start in San Diego. De Leon last started Sept. 18 in Arizona, allowing six runs (four earned) in a no decision. His Major League debut on Sept. 4 was against the Padres, when he allowed four runs (three earned) in five innings. De Leon has a longshot chance to be the fourth starter in the postseason.