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DENVER (AP) — Charlie Blackmon’s bushy beard dripped with bubbly John Kruk Jersey , while Carlos Gonzalez cheerfully soaked up all the spray coming at him from every direction. Nolan Arenado posed for picture after picture as teammates got selfies with him.Think this party scene was wild, hold on. The Colorado Rockies are hoping to exchange those hats that read, “Postseason,” for ones that say, “NL West Champions.”Now that would really be a party.The NL West-leading Rockies locked up a playoff berth for the second straight season, beating the Washington Nationals 5-2 on Friday night for their eighth win in a row behind a resilient start from Kyle Freeland.David Dahl homered for the fifth consecutive game and Ian Desmond hit a two-run homer against his former team to help Colorado clinch at least a wild card with two games remaining. The Rockies remained one game ahead of Los Angeles as they try to wrap up the franchise’s first division crown. The Dodgers won 3-1 in San Francisco.“It’s a playoff atmosphere,” Arenado said. “The good thing about us is we’ve been in a playoff atmosphere before. We know how to handle it.”Colorado can take the NL West title — and end Los Angeles’ five-year reign — with a win Saturday and a Dodgers loss.Wade Davis struck out Bryce Harper looking to end the game and earn his 43rd save. The sellout crowd at Coors Field roared and fireworks went off.Plenty to celebrate: The Rockies are headed to the postseason in back-to-back years for the first time in team history. This is their fifth playoff trip since the franchise began in 1993 — last year, they lost to Arizona in the NL wild-card game.“It’s just incredible,” said Freeland, who grew up in Denver and was a big Rockies fan. “I dreamt of this as a little kid and never thought I’d be in this position to do it. But the work is not done.”Freeland (17-7) wiggled out of jam after jam on a cool night to finish the season with a 2.40 ERA in games at the hitter-friendly ballpark. The lefty allowed two runs and 11 hits over six innings before turning it over to a staunch bullpen.The Rockies’ winning streak is their longest since capturing eight straight in April 2013. During the current streak, the Rockies have outscored opponents by a 57-12 margin.With posters around the stadium billing this as “The Hunt for Rocktober,” the team improved to 18-8 in September. They’re on a quest to end the Dodgers’ five-year reign as division champions.Freeland found himself in trouble quite often Greg Luzinski Jersey , but was able to work his way out of it. His one big mistake was a fastball in the fourth that Trea Turner lined for a two-out, two-run triple to give the Nationals a 2-1 lead.Desmond put the Rockies up 3-2 in the fifth with his 22nd homer of the season. Two pitches later, Chris Iannetta went deep. It was the fifth time the Rockies have hit back-to-back homers this season.With his solo shot in the sixth, Dahl became the fourth Rockies player to homer in five straight games. He joins Dante Bichette (1995), Larry Walker (1999) and Arenado (2015).Freeland finished with a 2.85 ERA overall this season. He joins Marvin Freeman (2.80, 1994) and Ubaldo Jimenez (2.88, 2010) as the only Rockies pitchers who qualified for the league ERA title with a mark below 3.00.Joe Ross (0-2) allowed four runs over five innings in his third start since undergoing Tommy John surgery last year.“I felt OK. The last couple innings, my stuff kind of flattened out,” Ross said. “That’s frustrating, the team had the lead and then I give it right back.”The party in the Rockies clubhouse was wild, but not too wild for one reason.“This is just the first step,” Gonzalez said. “We understand we have a big chance in front of us.”TRAINER’S ROOMNationals: INF Ryan Zimmerman was out of the starting lineup with a sore back and the team plans to take a cautious approach. “I don’t want him to start the offseason worried about rehabbing http://www.philliesfanproshop.com/authentic-pat-neshek-jersey ,” manager Dave Martinez said.Rockies: LHP Tyler Anderson’s sore shoulder is a “little better,” manager Bud Black said. “He seems to be trending in the right direction.”PAIR OF ACESWashington will throw right-hander Stephen Strasburg (9-7, 3.77 ERA) on Saturday. But whether NL Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer (18-7, 2.53) starts Sunday largely depends on what’s still at stake for the Rockies.“We’re going to relish the moment,” Arenado said of possibly facing two aces. “You have to face the best pitchers in the game to get where you want to be.”UP NEXTThe Rockies will send RHP Jon Gray (12-8, 4.91 ERA) to the mound Saturday against Strasburg, who’s looking to hit the 10-win mark for a fifth straight season. The Baltimore Orioles had little success against the Toronto Blue Jays this season.So, it seemed fitting their AL East rival handed them a record-setting loss.The Blue Jays beat the Orioles 6-4 on Tuesday night. Baltimore dropped its 108th game, setting a record for most losses in Orioles history. The overall franchise record for defeats is 111 by the 1939 St. Louis Browns.Article continues below ...Toronto can complete a three-game sweep Wednesday at Camden Yards.“I’ve got too many things and people depending on me to do certain things between now and the end of the season,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said about the losses. “I think because it’s unpleasant to wrap around, probably I’m as guilty as anybody of staying tunnel vision about what we’re doing every day trying to do what’s best.”The Blue Jays, meanwhile Mitch Williams Jersey , have also struggled throughout the season. However, Toronto has found a way to consistently beat the Orioles, going 14-4 against their AL East rival.Toronto is using the final stretch of the season to get an extended look at some young players. Manager John Gibbons has been impressed with the overall talent, especially catchers Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire, first baseman Rowdy Tellez, shortstop Richard Urena, second baseman Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and pitcher Aaron Sanchez.“There’s something I like in all of them, there really is,” Gibbons said. “Go down the line, I like what both of the young catchers are doing, though it gets tougher from here on out. I’m excited about Tellez.“I think Richie Urena is just scratching the surface. I think Gurriel is starting to come into his own, figuring some things out. Those are the really young guys. And like everybody else Dave Cash Jersey , I’m curious to see where Sanchy goes with the finger stuff. So, yeah, stay tuned.”Marco Estrada, who last pitched in New York on Friday, will start the finale. Estrada (7-12, 5.75 ERA) wasn’t scheduled to pitch until Thursday but he threw only 55 pitches in his last outing against the Yankees, allowing eight runs and six hits over 2 2/3 innings.Estrada is 9-2 with a 3.55 ERA in 18 appearances (16 starts) against Baltimore.“It’s been about as bad as it can get,” Estrada said after the setback against the Yankees. “I’m struggling out there and it’s not fun. I need to figure it out, get things going in the right direction. If not, take care of everything this offseason and get ready for next year.”The Orioles still have not named a starter for Wednesday because several pitchers are sidelined with injuries. Alex Cobb is dealing with a blister and Andrew Cashner has a knee injury. Rookie Luis Ortiz injured his hamstring during his first major league start Friday and is shut down for the year.“It will be predicated on how we get through the night,” Showalter said.Baltimore has 11 games remaining in the 2018 season and the franchise can continue building toward the future. The players are ready to put this season behind and begin with a clean slate starting in 2019.“It’s frustrating to say the least,” said first baseman Chris Davis http://www.philliesfanproshop.com/authentic-pat-neshek-jersey , who is having the worst season of his professional career. “Once we hit 100, it was just kind of like, I don’t know. I mean, I honestly had no words for it. It was embarrassing, it was frustrating. It’s one of those things you never want to be associated with. At the same time, you’ve got to learn how to turn the page and start somewhere. Why not start now? I mean, I’m not sure where we’re headed, but at some point you’ve got to change it up, I guess.”


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