Dodgers lose; Kemp out for postseason

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- As playoff tuneups go, Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu probably wanted a little more than the eight hits and two runs he surrendered over four innings to the Colorado Rockies Sunday in the last regular-season game of the year.

But that's exactly what he'll take into the National League Divisional Series against the Atlanta Braves after getting battered about on a lazy late September afternoon in Colorado's 2-1 victory over the Dodgers.

And as first steps into the postseason go, it doesn't get much worse than learning center fielder Matt Kemp was ruled out of the playoffs with an ankle so fragile he's been told if he continues to push it he risks breaking it.

"My season is over," Kemp said after the game.

Team doctors informed him they were shutting him down.

"This season is like a nightmare," Kemp said.

The Rockies got to Ryu in the first on Troy Tulowitzki's RBI single and in the fourth when Charlie Blackmon singled home Charlie Culberson.

Colorado starter Jeff Francis, who acknowledged this might be his last season with the Rockies, picked up the start for the finale when Tyler Chatwood was ruled out. Francis pitched four scoreless innings before the Dodgers tagged him for a run in the fifth when Skip Shumaker singled home Mark Ellis.

But Francis worked out of a bases-loaded jam to minimize the damage.

Francis ultimately got the win after going five innings and allowing one run on three hits with six strikeouts.

With nothing on the line other than statistics, the attention was on Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, who was playing the final game of his illustrious 17-year career.

Prior to the game, Hall of Fame Dodgers' broadcaster Vin Scully honored Helton with a two-minute, personally written tribute in which he thanked Helton for his wonderful career and wished him luck in retirement.

"That was very kind," Helton said. "They didn't have to do that, so that was pretty cool. I'm honored and humbled by those kind words."

It was a touching tribute considering the man holding the mike. The Dodger Stadium crowd followed with an extended standing ovation as Helton tipped his cap from the Rockies dugout. Across the field, the entire Dodgers team stood outside their dugout an applauded their long-time nemesis, and Helton acknowledged them with a tip of his cap.

It was a fitting honor for Helton, a quiet leader whose numbers likely would have played bigger in a larger city but whose impact was highly regarded throughout baseball.

Helton got another standing ovation in the top of the ninth innings for the last at-bat of his career -- although he struck out swinging against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen.

As he walked off the field, Dodger Stadium gave him one last standing ovation, with Helton tipping his helmet as he was greeted by his Rockies teammates at the top of the dugout.

"It happens so quick," Helton said of his career. "You always wish you can slow down and enjoy it a bit more. In the long run, that's part of it, just being out there battling and that makes it go quick. It's been a great run and I accomplished more in this game I ever thought. It's been a lot of fun."

NOTES: Charlie Blackmon and Jordan Pacheco each had two of the Rockies' 11 hits. The Dodgers managed just five hits. ... Six Dodgers relievers blanked the Rockies over the final five inning.
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