Dodgers 9, Rockies 7

Troy Tulowitzki slammed his helmet in disgust and impaled the

handle of his broken bat into the ground behind home plate.

The bat stayed in the ground as he walked off the field after

striking out to end the game, knowing his Colorado Rockies are out

of the pennant race.

Casey Blake homered twice, Rafael Furcal had two triples and the

Los Angeles Dodgers helped eliminate the Rockies from playoff

contention with a 9-7 victory Tuesday night.

The Rockies were eliminated from the NL playoff race with their

loss and wins by Atlanta and San Francisco on Tuesday. Atlanta’s

3-2 win over Florida knocked Colorado out of the wild card and the

Giants’ 4-2 win over Arizona finished them in the NL West.

”It’s been a tough stretch,” Todd Helton said. ”Just a tough

go.”

The Rockies were within a game of first place nine days earlier

with a chance to sweep the Dodgers in L.A. But they couldn’t hold

onto a 6-1 lead and lost in extra innings.

They’ve now lost eight of nine, including four of the first five

on this crucial homestand.

”We’ve been losing a lot lately because we haven’t played

well,” outfielder Seth Smith said. ”Great teams who are not

playing well find ways to win games.”

They almost found a way in Tuesday’s game. They had a man on

first and Tulowitzki, their hottest hitter, at the plate with two

outs in the ninth against reliever Kenley Jensen. But Tulowitzki

struck out swinging to end Colorado’s last hope.

”He made sure the first guy got a hit in the ninth so he could

go through the three and four hitters,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre

said of Jensen, who picked up his second save.

Los Angeles, which was eliminated from the race already, has

played spoiler by beating the Rockies three straight.

”They are professionals,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. ”If

you’re already going home you want to take somebody with you.”

The Dodgers blew a four-run lead Tuesday, but came back in the

eighth off reliever Octavio Dotel (3-4). A.J. Ellis doubled to lead

off and Furcal tripled home pinch-runner Chin-lung Hu to make it

7-6. One batter later, Andre Ethier’s sacrifice fly gave L.A. a

two-run lead.

The Rockies got one back on Chris Iannetta’s bases-loaded walk

in the eighth, but Ryan Spilborgh struck out to end the inning.

Blake hit his second homer, and 17th of the season, leading off the

ninth to restore the two-run lead.

Down 6-2 after James Loney’s solo homer in the top of the

seventh, the Rockies rallied against starter Hiroki Kuroda. Melvin

Mora led off with a single and Helton belted his eighth homer to

make it 6-4.

Iannetta drew a one-out walk to end Kuroda’s night and reliever

Ronald Bellisario gave up a two-run homer to Dexter Fowler to tie

it.

”We get back into the game with the help of Helton’s home run

and the Fowler home run and then they hit our bullpen

immediately,” Tracy said. ”When those things like that happen and

you keep asking your offense to come back, it’s hard to do.”

Bellisario (3-1) got the win, pitching two-thirds of an

inning.

The Dodgers jumped on starter Jeff Francis in the third. Kuroda

led off with a single and Furcal followed with an RBI triple.

Mora’s throwing error on Ryan Theriot’s grounder scored Furcal, and

one out later Matt Kemp and Blake hit back-to-back homers to make

it 5-1.

Francis allowed five runs, four earned, and six hits, striking

out just one in three innings. It was the third consecutive short

start for Francis since coming off the disabled list on Sept.

13.

The Rockies took a 1-0 lead in the first on Chris Nelson’s

double and Carlos Gonzalez’s single.

Notes: Helton, 37, said after the game he is coming back next

season. ”I signed a three-year deal. When was it that (retirement)

ever crossed my mind?” … Tracy said 2B Eric Young Jr. will have

an MRI on his sore right shin and will probably not play again this

season. Tracy also confirmed that veteran Jason Giambi will be shut

down for the final week of the season. … Rockies 2B Clint Barmes

left the team early Tuesday to be with his ailing father. … Torre

said after the game that left-hander Clayton Kershaw will be shut

down for the rest of the season. Carlos Monasterios will start in

Kershaw’s place against the Rockies.