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Rockies 2, Dodgers 1

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- As playoff tune-ups go, Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu probably wanted a little better performance than the one he turned in Sunday.

Ryu allowed eight hits and two runs over four innings against the Colorado Rockies, and the Dodgers lost 2-1 in the last regular-season game of the year.

Los Angeles opens the National League Division Series against the Braves in Atlanta on Thursday.

The Rockies got to Ryu (14-8) 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 due to elbow tightness. Francis (3-5) pitched four scoreless innings before the Dodgers tagged him for a run in the fifth when Skip Shumaker singled home Mark Ellis. Francis worked out of a bases-loaded jam to minimize the damage, and he earned the win after going five innings and allowing one run on three hits with six strikeouts.

Rex Brothers, the fourth Colorado reliever, pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his 19th save. He allowed two walks a hit but struck out three, including Tim Federowicz and Skip Schumaker with the bases loaded to end the game.

With nothing on the line other than statistics, the attention was on Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, who played 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.

It was a touching tribute considering the man holding the mike, and Dodger Stadium followed with an extended standing ovation as Helton tipped his cap from the Rockies dugout.

Across the field, the entire Dodgers team stood outside the dugout and applauded a 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. He went 1-for-4 with a walk.

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.

NOTES: Los Angeles CF Matt Kemp was out of the lineup again while dealing with left ankle soreness. The Dodgers said Kemp didn't aggravate the injury the night before, but that five consecutive days of playing on it culminated with some soreness. Team officials hope Kemp will be ready to open the first round of the playoffs Thursday. ... Blackmon and Jordan Pacheco each had two of the Rockies' 11 hits. The Dodgers managed just five hits. ... Six Dodgers relieved blanked the Rockies over the final five inning.
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