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Shaw's 2-HR hiccup lets Dodgers off the hook

Desmond drives in two for Rockies, who remain in first by half-game
MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

LOS ANGELES -- The location woes that appeared to be behind Rockies right-handed reliever Bryan Shaw returned with a costly vengeance on Tuesday night.

Shaw hung a slider that Chris Taylor laced for a two-run homer, and two pitches later left another slider over the plate for a Yasiel Puig homer as the Rockies fell to the Dodgers, 5-3, at Dodger Stadium.

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LOS ANGELES -- The location woes that appeared to be behind Rockies right-handed reliever Bryan Shaw returned with a costly vengeance on Tuesday night.

Shaw hung a slider that Chris Taylor laced for a two-run homer, and two pitches later left another slider over the plate for a Yasiel Puig homer as the Rockies fell to the Dodgers, 5-3, at Dodger Stadium.

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"The first one was very bad," Shaw said. "That's the pitch that in your head you go, 'Please, don't hit it out of the park,'" Shaw said. "The second one was good. It was down, just a little more middle. With Puig, that's where his spot is. If I throw that four inches on the outer half, he pops out."

Video: COL@LAD: Taylor, Puig hit back-to-back jacks in 6th

The pitches came after the Rockies had grabbed a 3-2 lead on an RBI single from Ian Desmond, who also homered in the second. Shaw came in after Chad Bettis shook off a 34-pitch, two-run first inning by not giving up another hit over the next four. He left after five innings with what manager Bud Black called a "hot spot" on his right middle finger. Bettis said it's not a blister and "nothing to be too worried about."

Desmond, who has seven of his eight homers on the road, nearly started a ninth-inning rally against closer Kenley Jansen, but Taylor dove to snag his leadoff line drive to shortstop. Desmond is hitting .180, but a coupe productive games and some hard-hit balls in others could be signs of a turnaround.

"Chad was effective, as he's been, and the offense was able to put a few runs out there," Desmond said. "We fell a little short."

Video: COL@LAD: Bettis strikes out Muncy to start the frame

The Rockies -- 3-3 on a seven-game road trip that ends with Wednesday night's series finale -- remained leading the National League West by a half-game after the second-place D-backs suffered their 12th loss in 13 games. But the Rockies must find consistency from a key member of their bullpen.

In the first year of a three-year, $27 million contract, Shaw has given up five homers in a Major League-high 27 appearances. He yielded just five in 79 appearances with the Indians last season.

"It's been up and down," Shaw said. "Just trying to get back to the good and hopefully have more good."

After struggling during the second half of April, Shaw had a 13-game stretch that saw him post a 1.50 ERA and a .162 batting average against. But on Sunday, he yielded two runs as the Rockies took a 9-5 loss at San Francisco, and followed that with the two poorly located sliders on Tuesday.

In both cases, Shaw worked ahead in the count (1-2 to Taylor, 0-1 to Puig) using the cutter -- considered his best pitch -- then went to sliders.

"The sequences were right," Shaw said. "Everything was good there. Just the location of basically those two pitches was not good."

Video: COL@LAD: Kemp singles in Turner to open the scoring

Shaw's struggles washed away Bettis' solid recovery.

In the first inning, Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger had doubles, and Matt Kemp had an RBI single in between. With runners at second and third and two outs, Bettis walked Taylor, then walked Puig for a 2-0 disadvantage.

"I was getting a little too fine, trying to nitpick here and there," Bettis said. "And really, I tried to use their aggression against them early. They did a good job."

Black said, "After that, he was outstanding -- same sort of pitches, but better location in the strike zone."

The Rockies worked back against Dodgers starter Brock Stewart, freshly called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Desmond powered his eighth homer of the season to left field with two down in the second. Two-out singles by Charlie Blackmon, Gerardo Parra and Nolan Arenado tied the game at 2 in the third.

Desmond's sixth-inning RBI single off JT Chargois (2-1) briefly gave the Rockies a 3-2 lead.

Video: COL@LAD: Desmond singles in Story for the lead

SOUND SMART
Trevor Story walked in the sixth, then stole second for the team's 15th straight successful attempt -- tied for the second-longest run in club history. The Rockies stole 15 straight from June 23-July 1, 1996, and from May 19-June 2, 2013. The club record is 18 -- May 18-June 3, 2012.

UP NEXT
Rockies lefty Kyle Freeland (4-4, 3.17 ERA) hopes to continue his impressive run on Wednesday night, when he faces the Dodgers and righty Kenta Maeda (3-3, 3.89) in the series finale. Freeland is 4-1 with a 1.59 ERA in his last five starts.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.

Colorado Rockies, Ian Desmond, Bryan Shaw