The Rockies were swept by the Dodgers, but at least the Dodgers won the division
LOS ANGELES — Sprayed champagne and beer flooded the blue carpet in the Dodgers clubhouse. The stench of alcohol hung in the damp air. Wives, kids and a puppy were in on the party with music blaring.
The Los Angeles Dodgers celebrated clinching their fourth straight NL West title with the kind of storybook ending this city was built on: winning the crown in Vin Scully’s final home game when Charlie Culberson homered with two outs in the 10th inning to beat the Colorado Rockies 4-3 Sunday.
“It hasn’t really sunk in,” said Culberson, who made the opening day roster only to flip-flop between the majors and minors during the season.
Scully eluded the clubhouse chaos and throng of fans waiting outside the press box named for him, having quietly exited after broadcasting his last game at Dodger Stadium.
The 88-year-old Hall of Famer, who has just three games at San Francisco next weekend before ending his 67-year career, bid a public farewell to the team and its 51,962 fans at game’s end.
“I was hoping the team would win the game 10-0 and there would be no tension, and it would be a nice easy day,” Scully said, looking out at the sea of faces turned toward his booth. “Believe me when I tell you, I’ve needed you far more than you’ve needed me.”
At that, he asked the crowd to indulge what he called “a loving gesture” and listen to him singing “Wind Beneath My Wings” that he recorded for his wife, Sandi. As the song played, the couple stood with their arms around each other.
“A lot of history this weekend,” ace Clayton Kershaw said.
Under Dave Roberts, the Dodgers became the first NL West team to win four straight division titles, also a first in franchise history. Roberts joined Tom Lasorda (1977) as the only rookie managers to lead the club to a division title.
“It was a work in progress all year,” said Roberts, his eyes burning from champagne. “We’re going to enjoy it.”
Culberson’s first homer of the season and just sixth of his career landed in the lower left-field seats, touching off wild cheers and a raucous celebration at home plate. The Dodgers charged out of their dugout and surrounded Culberson, jumping up and down. They donned championship T-shirts and hats from carts wheeled on the field.
“I wanted to see how they did it because everybody on this team believes and thinks that we’re going to do that next year,” Colorado starter Tyler Anderson said after his team’s 83rd defeat.
The Dodgers took off their caps, turned toward the broadcast booth and held them in a salute to Scully, nattily attired in his usual long-sleeved shirt and tie despite the 95-degree heat. He began with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950 and is the longest tenured broadcaster with a single team in professional sports.
“What a special day,” third baseman Justin Turner said. “It’s an incredible feeling.”
Catcher Yasmani Grandal partied with his puppy, Taz, after the players jogged the warning track exchanging high-fives with fans.
The Dodgers provided plenty of drama for Scully to describe.
“Yeah, Vin has a lot of pull,” Colorado manager Walt Weiss said.
Corey Seager homered with two outs in the ninth off Adam Ottavino, tying the game 3-all. It was the rookie’s 190th hit of the season to go with a single in the first and triple in the seventh.
David Dahl’s two-out homer snapped a 2-all tie in the ninth off closer Kenley Jansen
Seager’s triple rolled into the right-field corner, tying the game 2-all and chasing Rockies starter Tyler Anderson.
Culberson contributed three hits, tying his career high, and is 7 for 14 in seven games this month.
“It’s the way it’s been all year, different guys doing different things to win games,” said Kershaw, his hair soaked and wife Ellen and young daughter Cali nearby.
Joe Blanton (7-2) pitched the 10th to get the victory.
Boone Logan (2-5) took the loss in relief.
The Dodgers trailed 2-1 after Yasiel Puig’s sacrifice fly in the third.
Colorado took a 2-0 lead in the third on Dustin Garneau’s RBI double in the right field corner and Charlie Blackmon’s sacrifice fly.
Brandon McCarthy came off the disabled list (right hip stiffness) earlier in the day to make his first start for the Dodgers since Aug. 13. He replaced Rich Hill, who skipped his scheduled start for precautionary reasons because of a recurrence of blisters on the index finger of his left pitching hand.
McCarthy gave up two runs and four hits in 5 1/3 innings, struck out six and walked one. He hasn’t won since July 9 against San Diego.
Anderson allowed two runs and 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings. The left-hander struck out one and walked two.
Several Dodgers tipped their helmets or saluted toward Scully in his booth before stepping into the box for their first at-bats.
Some of Scully’s grandchildren popped into the booth between innings, sharing hugs and kisses before he put his headset back on. Fans chanted “VIN! VIN! VIN!” between innings when video tributes to him were aired. A sheepish Scully covered his face with his hands, having said earlier that all the attention was embarrassing.
Scully’s final three games will be next weekend at San Francisco. He won’t do the three-game series in San Diego starting Tuesday, having long ago reduced his travel.
There was a moment of silence for Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez before the game. He was killed in a boating accident early Sunday in Miami. Fellow Cuban Yasiel Puig used pieces of white athletic tape to secure Fernandez’s jersey to the wall of the Dodgers dugout. The flags in center field were lowered to half-staff.
The announced attendance of 51,962 brought the Dodgers’ season total to 3,703,312, their fourth consecutive year leading the major leagues.
Rockies: They’re off Monday before opening a three-game series at San Francisco. RHP German Marquez (1-0, 3.48 ERA) makes his first major league start on the road, where he has a 6.23 ERA. He has yet to allow a homer.
Dodgers: After an off-day Monday, RHP Jose De Leon (2-0, 5.52) starts the series opener at San Diego. He beat the Padres 7-4 in his major league debut on Sept. 4, allowing four runs (three earned) and five hits in six innings. He had nine strikeouts and no walks.