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Dodgers must wait on clinching NL West title after loss to Rockies

Dodgers starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin delivers during the first inning against the Colorado Rockies.
Dodgers starting pitcher Tony Gonsolin delivers during the first inning against the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

The Dodgers will have to wait until at least Tuesday to clinch their eighth consecutive National League West title.

Needing a win and a loss by the San Diego Padres to extend their reign in the division and clinch the National League’s No. 1 seed in the postseason Sunday, the Dodgers fell to the Colorado Rockies, 6-3, in an atypical game at Coors Field in which neither team homered in the hitter’s haven.

The Dodgers stopped short of a four-game series sweep and had a five-game winning streak snapped in their final road game of the regular season. They finished the trip 5-2 and the abbreviated campaign 22-8 away from Dodger Stadium.

The Rockies (23-29) recorded their 12th win in 38 games to keep their slim playoff hopes alive without tallying an extra-base hit — all 10 of their hits were singles.

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“It’s kind of the way it went,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

Clayton Kershaw puts in another fine performance as the Dodgers defeat the Colorado Rockies 6-1 to lower their NL West-clinching magic number to two.

The Dodgers (38-16) were tamed without Mookie Betts and Chris Taylor in the starting lineup after scoring 30 runs in the series’ first three games. Right-hander Antonio Senzatela held them to one run and three hits across 6 1/3 innings.

On the other side, Tony Gonsolin pitched on regular rest for the first time and further solidified his place in the postseason rotation.

The rookie right-hander struck out the first six batters he faced and had seven strikeouts through three innings before the Rockies broke through in the fourth. Raimel Tapia stroked a leadoff single to become Colorado’s first baserunner. Kevin Pillar followed with another single to apply instant pressure in a scoreless game. Two batters later, Josh Fuentes cashed in with a two-run single.

Gonsolin’s outing ended after five innings. He surrendered two runs and three hits, recorded a career-high 10 strikeouts, walked one, and threw 82 pitches after compiling two strikeouts over a career-high seven innings in his previous outing. He has a 1.77 ERA in 40 2/3 innings this season after reporting late to training camp because of a positive COVID-19 test.

Highlights from the Dodgers’ 6-3 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.

“I think I made a big improvement on last year,” Gonsolin said. “I think, mechanically I wasn’t in a great spot last year with a couple injuries. And then in spring training we worked on it a lot to get back to where I was in 2018. I think we’re a lot closer to that now.”

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The Rockies tacked on three more runs in the sixth inning upon Gonsolin’s exit with five singles off Blake Treinen and Victor Gonzalez. They scored their final run in the ninth against Alex Wood.

The Dodgers, meanwhile, scored their first run in the seventh inning on Edwin Ríos’ two-out single, which ensured they weren’t shut out for the first time this season.

They had chances to muster another late rally in the eighth and ninth innings. In the eighth, Cody Bellinger stepped in with the bases loaded. But Rockies closer Daniel Bard, inserted to record the four-out save, struck him out with a 98-mph fastball.

In the ninth, AJ Pollock hit a two-run single off Bard before Corey Seager walked to chase Bard and bring Taylor, who entered the game as pinch-runner the previous inning, to the plate as the tying run. He grounded out to end the game.

Short hops


Roberts confirmed Walker Buehler will start Thursday against the Oakland Athletics after emerging from his simulated game Saturday without a worsened blister problem. Roberts said the right-hander threw 75 of his 90 pitches with the blister on his right hand uncovered. Buehler was placed on the injured list Sept. 10. …Roberts said Joc Pederson took seven at-bats against Buehler and will return to the team Tuesday against Oakland. Pederson was placed on the family medical emergency list Wednesday.

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Three takeaways for Dodgers

  • Utilityman Zach McKinstry recorded his first hits as a major leaguer in his first major league start. The 2016 33rd-round pick doubled in the third inning and singled in the ninth. The 25-year-old McKinstry started in right field — his first start there as a professional at any level.

  • Justin Turner extended his on-base streak to 26 games with a walk in the eighth inning. It’s the longest active streak in the majors.

  • The Cincinnati Reds entered Sunday as the NL’s No. 8 seed — putting them in position to face the Dodgers in the wild-card round — before beating the Chicago White Sox, 7-3. They improved to 27-27.

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