There was a celebration Saturday night at Coors Field, only it wasn’t the Dodgers who were leaping into each other’s arms.
The magic number for the Dodgers to win the National League West remained at two after being defeated for the second time in as many nights by the last-place Colorado Rockies, this time 8-6.
With a two-run, walk-off home run against Yimi Garcia (3-4) that evaded the outstretched glove of leaping center fielder Joc Pederson, outfielder Carlos Gonzalez sent the Dodgers crashing to their sixth defeat in eight games.
The Dodgers can still secure the division title Sunday, provided they beat the Rockies and the second-place San Francisco Giants lose to the Oakland Athletics. If that doesn’t happen, the Dodgers will be forced to take their unpacked cases of champagne with them to AT&T Park, where Monday they open a three-game series against the Giants.
The night was particularly anticlimatic for Dodgers starter Brett Anderson, who began the game with not only a chance to celebrate a division title but also a personal milestone.
The start was the 30th of the season for Anderson, who has spent significant portions of his career on the disabled list. The number of starts matched the career high he set as a rookie for the Athletics in 2009.
The possibility of spraying champagne vanished earlier in the day when the Giants beat the Athletics, 14-10.
As for his personal achievement, Anderson wasn’t ready to reflect on that, considering he gave up six runs and 10 hits over four innings.
“I’m glass half-empty right now, I guess,” Anderson said.
The first inning was especially a nightmare for Anderson.
Charlie Blackmon led off with a single to center field past diving second baseman Chase Utley. DJ LeMahieu bunted for a hit and Carlos Gonzalez reached base on an infield single to Utley.
Like that, the bases were loaded.
“A little unlucky, honestly,” Manager Don Mattingly said.
Nolan Arenado cleared them with a grand slam to center field that moved the Rockies ahead, 4-0. The home run was the 40th of the season for Arenado.
The last Rockies player to record a 40-home run season was Todd Helton in 2001.
Arenado’s blast didn’t stop the Rockies attack, as it was followed by singles by Corey Dickeron and Justin Morneau.
Anderson didn’t record his first out until the Rockies’ No. 7 hitter, Cristhian Adames, grounded into a force out. Dustin Garneau grounded into a double play to end the inning.
The Dodgers narrowed their deficit to 4-2 in the second inning on a two-run home run by Andre Ethier.
But the Rockies scored again in the bottom of that inning, as Blackmon tripled and was driven in on a single by LeMahieu.
The Rockies extended their lead to 6-2 in the third inning, when Morneau doubled in Dickerson.
The Dodgers started their comeback in the fifth inning. A.J. Ellis doubled to left field and scored when pinch-hitter Alex Guerrero hit a flare into shallow center field that was dropped by backtracking second baseman LeMahieu.
The run moved the Dodgers to within 6-3.
The next inning started with a triple by rookie Corey Seager, who started at shortstop in place of Jimmy Rollins.
Seager scored on a single by Utley, who, in turn, scored on a double by Justin Turner.
Turner’s double marked the end of the night for starter Kyle Kendrick, who departed from the game with his team leading, 6-5.
Kendrick’s replacement, right-hander Brooks Brown, failed to stop the surge. Brown served up a run-scoring double to Ethier that tied the score, 6-6.
The Rockies nearly went back in front in the bottom of the seventh inning.
With two outs and Gonzalez on second base, Dickerson drove a ball to left-center field, only for Pederson to make a spectular diving catch at the warning track.
“That was a great play,” Mattingly said. “It’s one of those that definitely could have changed the game.”
Left-hander Alex Wood (11-11, 3.60 ERA) will face left-hander Chris Rusin (5-9, 5.39) and the Rockies on Sunday at 1 p.m. PDT at Coors Field. TV: SportsNet LA; Radio: 570, 1020.