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Blackmon, Rox have finale to forget vs. Dodgers

@harding_at_mlb
April 8, 2019

DENVER -- Charlie Blackmon had a forgettable Sunday night in right field, and the rest of the Rockies won’t want to remember their performance in a 12-6 loss to the Dodgers at Coors Field. Blackmon, a three-time All-Star in center whom the club moved to right to preserve his legs

DENVER -- Charlie Blackmon had a forgettable Sunday night in right field, and the rest of the Rockies won’t want to remember their performance in a 12-6 loss to the Dodgers at Coors Field.

Blackmon, a three-time All-Star in center whom the club moved to right to preserve his legs over the length of his $108 million contract through 2023, committed two baffling errors that led to runs as the Rockies lost for the sixth time in seven games.

“That just happened -- it’s rare to see that, especially from Charlie because he’s really steady,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “Steady, dependable. That was a rare occurrence to see that tonight, especially two plays. You would never think that.”

But the performance of Blackmon -- who at least tripled, doubled and had a sacrifice fly -- may not have been the lowest light, as the loss completed a three-game sweep of the home-opening series.

• Starting pitcher Chad Bettis bowed out after giving up seven runs (six earned) on seven hits and four walks in just 2 2/3 innings.

“I just felt like my sights were all messed up. My fastball I sighted a little bit too high, my changeup a little too low, and that’s just not cutting it,” Bettis said.

• The Rockies pushed Dodgers starter Julio Urias out of the game after scoring three runs on four hits and four walks in 3 2/3 innings, and finished with 11 hits -- tied for second-most in a game this season. Yet they were never truly in the game because of the poor pitching and defense. A bases-loaded chance in the first that was cut short when Dodgers right fielder Cody Bellinger (who later parked his seventh homer of the season) reached into the foul-ground stands to snag a two-out foul pop from Ian Desmond, who went 0-for-5 and is 3-for-35 for the season.

“There were some good at-bats overall,” Black said. “We didn’t expand the zone a ton. Our takes were good. We swung at strikes for the most part. We got a little momentum offensively, so it’s getting closer.”

• In the most damaging event, left fielder David Dahl suffered an abdominal injury while striking out on a high fastball from Urias during the first inning. He was replaced on defense before the third inning. The Rockies were hoping Dahl, who entered with a .353 batting average and homers in the previous two games, will not join a lengthening list of key cogs on the injured list.

“I don’t think it’s anything too serious,” Dahl said. “Right now it’s just tight.”

The Rockies expect to challenge the six-time National League West champion Dodgers. They did last year by forcing a Game 163, which the Dodgers won at home, 5-2, to plunge the Rockies to Wild Card status. Pitching and defense were hallmarks of Rockies teams that have gone to the postseason the last two years, something that had never happened in a club history that began in 1993.

Sunday was certainly not a good day for pitching, as Bettis’ night deteriorated after he walked No. 8 hitter Austin Barnes with two out and a runner on in the second. And as for defense, Blackmon’s awful night started after the ill-advised Bettis walk.

Urias’ RBI single off Bettis skidded beneath Blackmon’s glove for an error, allowing Barnes to score an unearned run from first for a 2-0 deficit.

The Rockies were down going to the bottom of the third, 6-0, before Blackmon’s triple started a three-run inning that included Nolan Arenado’s triple. The rally also included a run that crossed when Dodgers second baseman Enrique Hernandez didn’t try to complete an easy double play because he forgot the number of outs.

But Blackmon’s glove eluded him, and momentum, escaped the Rockies.

With two down, Bellinger skied a pitch from reliever Yency Almonte to deep right. Blackmon peered into the sky, which is brightened by the new LED lights that are part of a bevy of 2019 improvements at Coors Field. He was under it, but the ball ticked off his glove for a three-base error, another run and a 7-3 deficit.

A scary moment occurred late, when shortstop Trevor Story was hit on the inside of the right ankle with a Caleb Ferguson curveball. Story stayed in and was thrown out at third on Nolan Arenado’s single, then left before the top of the ninth.

Story said his removal was precautionary and any panic over the team’s struggles through 10 games is premature. The Rockies went 2-4 on their first homestand in 2018.

“It’s not where we want to be, but we’ve been through it before, so we know that we can get out of it,” he said. “That’s what we did last year and that’s what we’re leaning on. We’ve just got to keep working.”

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