DENVER -- Signed with much fanfare in December, Rockies righty reliever Bryan Shaw was booed off the Coors Field mound on Saturday.Shaw entered in the seventh with the score tied and gave up three runs -- two on a Matt Kemp homer -- and the inning degenerated into an eight-run
DENVER -- Signed with much fanfare in December, Rockies righty reliever Bryan Shaw was booed off the Coors Field mound on Saturday.
Shaw entered in the seventh with the score tied and gave up three runs -- two on a Matt Kemp homer -- and the inning degenerated into an eight-run mess as the Dodgers handed the Rockies their third straight loss, 12-4.
The loss, which also featured two home runs and a career-high-tying four hits from the Dodgers' Joc Pederson, dropped the Rockies a half game back of the D-backs in the National League West. More concerning, however, are the struggles of Colorado's pitching staff.
Saturday's game and Friday's 11-8 loss to the Dodgers featured rough outings from relievers.
Lefty Mike Dunn replaced Shaw, but he gave up two hits and walked two -- all of whom scored -- without retiring a batter. The Rockies, who rose to the top of the division with solid starting pitching and dependable lead protection, finished with 10 hits but are in a rut reminiscent of all-hit, no-pitch seasons past.
"We just have to keep fighting through this," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "Obviously, there are a few guys going through tough times. We've got 100 games left. These guys are our guys, and we have to get them through it. This is a time when you have to really cinch your belt a little bit if you're a guy in the 'pen and struggling through pitches."
The Rockies scored all their runs in the second off Dodgers rookie starter Walker Buehler, who gave up that many earned runs just once in his previous seven starts. The inning included a two-run double from DJ LeMahieu, his fifth hit in two games since returning from a left thumb injury.
Black rode hearty, if inefficient, starter German Marquez for a career-high 114 pitches in six innings for fear of further exposing a bullpen that used five of its members in Friday night's 11-8 loss to the Dodgers.
There was little choice but to squeeze as much as possible out of Marquez. Jon Gray threw 91 pitches in just 3 1/3 innings Wednesday night against the Giants and Tyler Anderson threw 100 in five on Friday.
Additionally, stalwart Adam Ottavino is on the 10-day disabled list with a left oblique injury and Jake McGee hasn't pitched in the past two games, after taking a line drive off his leg in Wednesday's loss to the Giants.
Marquez struck out eight, but he was hurt by a sixth inning during which the Dodgers drew two of his three walks and forced him to throw 31 pitches. Marquez gave up four runs -- the last Pederson's second homer, to lead off the sixth -- on seven hits.
"He gave up the homer to Pederson, and he was tiring, but he hung in there and got those last three outs and kept it 4-4 without a Dodger rally," Black said. "He went six innings and gave up four on a day that we needed him to at least go six, and he did. Really, really proud of Marquez."
For Shaw, Saturday's seventh became a microcosm of a first year of a three-year, $27 million contract that isn't going well.
"It hasn't seemed that great," Shaw said. "It's kind of been good outing, bad outing, so you've got to look past it and get back on a roll."
Chris Taylor opened with a soft broken-bat single with the count full, but Shaw compounded that by wild-pitching him to second and giving up a Justin Turner single with the count full. Taylor scored when Yasmani Grandal beat out a relay throw on a double-play attempt. But Grandal's hustle became academic when Shaw left a 2-1 cutter over the plate for Kemp to crush for his ninth homer of the season.
"Falling behind has been a little bit of an issue," Shaw said. "If you fall behind, they get a little bit more comfortable."
Shaw has coughed up seven homers -- one shy of his career high in 2015 and '16 during a solid stint with the Indians -- and has a 6.59 ERA.
"I know their expectations, and I know mine -- and I'm not living up to either one right now," Shaw said.
Dunn, himself in the middle season of a three-year, $19 million deal that was marked with a troublesome back injury last year and inconsistency this year, saw his ERA inflate to 8.04. Dunn was ahead or even with all four batters he faced, "but I just didn't put them away," he said.
The eight runs in the seventh were the second most against the Rox in an inning this year; they yielded nine against the Padres on April 23.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
It's hard to tell by the final score, but the Dodgers needed a key pitch from reliever Pedro Baez. Ian Desmond drew a leadoff walk and pinch-hitter Ryan McMahon singled to put runners at the corners with one out. However, Baez worked LeMahieu into a double-play grounder, and the Dodgers were set.
Catcher Tony Wolters is seeing the ball well these days. So well that he went 15 plate appearances without swinging and missing. The streak was broken in the bottom of the sixth on a swinging strike induced by Baez.
AGGRESSIVE BUT UNSUCCESSFUL
The idea was to be aggressive -- it just didn't work out well for Charlie Blackmon.
Standing on third until Dodgers left fielder Kemp caught Carlos Gonzalez's fly ball, Blackmon sprinted home in hopes of putting the Rockies up early on Buehler.
Kemp wasn't going to let that happen -- not by a long shot. He hurled the ball to Grandal at home, who caught it with no bounce and tagged Blackmon sliding into the plate.
HE SAID IT
"It's a long season. Very rarely are both sides going to be clicking at the same time. They held us up through the first month and a half of the season, and we won a lot of ballgames that way. Now, it's our time to pick them up." -- Trevor Story, on how the Rockies' offense needs to help the pitching problems
The Rockies will try to avoid a sweep against the Dodgers in their 1:10 p.m. MT game at Coors Field. It will be the last game in Colorado's nine-game homestand, where it won two out of three series. Righty Chad Bettis (4-1, 3.68 ERA) faces Dodgers lefty Alex Wood (1-4, 3.75 ERA), whose start was pushed back from Friday for extra rest.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.