LOS ANGELES – Justin Morneau won the National League batting title on the final day of the regular season, when the Colorado Rockies limped into the offseason with a fourth consecutive loss and 60th road defeat.
They were beaten 10-5 by the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, and finished with a 66-96 record, including a franchise-worst 21-60 away from home.
“These guys never wavered despite all of the injuries,” manager Walt Weiss said. “I thanked them for their efforts and told them to take some time off and come back ready for spring training.”
The Rockies became the 22nd team in major league history to lose 60 road games in a season.
Morneau finished at .319 after he grounded out as a pinch hitter in the eighth. It’s the lowest average for a batting champion since the late Tony Gwynn hit .313 for San Diego in 1988.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Morneau said. “I’m most proud that I was consistent all season. Sometimes you get hot for a while and hit .450, but I think I was consistent all season, and I focus and concentrated on that.”
Morneau edged Pittsburgh’s Josh Harrison, who was hitless in four at-bats Sunday and slipped three points to close at .315.
It was the Rockies’ second consecutive batting title and ninth in 22 years; Michael Cuddyer led the NL last season at .331. Morneau finished the season two hits shy of 1,500 for his career, although his 160 hits are his most since he had 187 in 2008.
Colorado got a two-out RBI single by Josh Rutledge in the second, a bases-loaded double by Rafael Ynoa in the seventh and a homer by Wilin Rosario in the eighth.
“We played like we should have for the first month of the season, but then the injury bug caught us,” first baseman Ben Paulsen said. “We have got to come next season and grind out every game.”
Rookie Christian Bergman (3-5) gave up eight runs – seven earned – and 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Adrian Gonzalez hit a three-run homer to finish with a major league-leading 116 runs batted in, and Matt Kemp added a two-run shot for the Dodgers, who won their fifth in a row heading into postseason play.
The Dodgers’ 94 wins were their most since going 95-67 in 2009. They ended the regular season without a losing streak longer than three games, something only their 1924 and 1988 clubs had done.
Zack Greinke (17-8) set a career high for wins and remained unbeaten in his last eight starts, going 5-0 since Aug. 15. He allowed one run and four hits in five innings, struck out six and walked one while finishing 12-0 in 15 starts against NL West opponents.
Gonzalez finished three RBIs short of his career high, set in 2008. His 27th homer helped power a 16-hit attack and extended the Dodgers’ lead to 5-1 in the third. It scored Darwin Barney who singled and Yasiel Puig, who reached on an error by shortstop Josh Rutledge.
Kemp’s 25th homer into the left-field pavilion with two outs in the first gave Los Angeles a 2-0 lead and scored Gonzalez, who doubled.
Defensive replacement Roger Bernadina added a three-run homer on his first pitch from Rob Scahill in the seventh, making it 9-1. Bernadina added a two-out RBI single in the seventh.
LaTroy Hawkins made his 1,000th career appearance Saturday, tossing 1/3 of an inning of scoreless relief. Rockies manager Walt Weiss said he’d like to have the 41-year-old pitcher back next season. “I got a text from my best friend this morning that said ‘Dreams do come true, even for a kid from the ‘hood in Gary, Indiana,”’ said Hawkins, the 16th pitcher in MLB history to appear in that many games. Dodgers GM Ned Colletti stopped by the visiting clubhouse Sunday to congratulate him. “Still got one year left in you,” Colletti said. “Yes, I do,” Hawkins replied.