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Chi Chi's LA story has an unhappy ending

@harding_at_mlb
September 4, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- Rockies right-handed pitcher Chi Chi Gonzalez waited nearly four years since his last Major League win, only to watch his shot disappear in mere minutes as the Dodgers hit back-to-back home runs off reliever Bryan Shaw one batter after Gonzalez left the game. Gonzalez held the Dodgers

LOS ANGELES -- Rockies right-handed pitcher Chi Chi Gonzalez waited nearly four years since his last Major League win, only to watch his shot disappear in mere minutes as the Dodgers hit back-to-back home runs off reliever Bryan Shaw one batter after Gonzalez left the game.

Gonzalez held the Dodgers to three hits in 6 1/3 innings and left a one-run lead to Shaw with two on. But two batters later, Russell Martin launched a three-run homer, and David Freese added a solo shot. Just like that, the Rockies were well on their way to their eighth straight loss, 5-3, on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.

Box score

“I executed every pitch, didn’t make little mistakes,” said Gonzalez, whose performance gave the reeling Rockies their first quality start since Tim Melville at Arizona on Aug. 19, a symptom of having their entire season-opening rotation on the injured list.

Gonzalez, who was out of the Majors in 2017 and ‘18 after Tommy John surgery, is winless since earning one in relief for the Rangers over the Athletics on Sept. 22, 2015. His last win in a start was Sept. 13, 2015, also for the Rangers over the Athletics. If nothing else, Tuesday was another argument to get rid of the win stat because the pitcher doesn’t control all elements.

But wins are nice, you know? And after giving up seven runs and six hits in two-thirds of an inning in his last start, a home loss to the Pirates, it’s OK for Gonzalez to want a win. Besides, he’s already had hard luck. His six innings of three hits and two runs at Arizona on Aug. 19 came in a team loss. And the Rockies have lost all nine games started by Gonzalez, who made 16 appearances at Triple-A Albuquerque.

“It’s just the conviction -- attacking the zone, not leaving anything left in the tank,” Gonzalez said. “I was really concentrating pitch to pitch, instead of batter to batter. And that played off great for me.”

Gonzalez had a 2-0 lead on homers by Daniel Murphy in the second and Nolan Arenado in the fourth. Arenado’s was his 37th of the season and the 15th of his career at Dodger Stadium, 14th most among active players and the most at the ballpark in Rockies history.

The lead held because Gonzalez went inside early in counts, stayed in the strike zone and for much of the game tested hitters’ discipline.

“He pitched, both sides of the plate, choked off some swings, got some jam shots,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “He didn’t let guys really get extended all night, made pitches when he had to.”

Gonzalez battled from 3-0 to full against seventh-inning leadoff man Cody Bellinger but walked him, and Gonzalez left with one out and two on base.

Black had been testing younger relievers in tight situations, but Shaw and erstwhile closer Wade Davis were among the freshest arms in the bullpen. Gonzalez’s outing was all wiped away when Shaw, making his 599th Major League appearance, left a 2-2 cutter over the inner part of the plate to Martin and a 1-1 changeup dead middle to Freese.

“When we had the lead, it hasn’t been that often and we’ve been struggling,” Shaw said. “We’re out here grinding together. We’re all out here trying to have success together. Hitters did a good job and Chi Chi did a great job. Unfortunately we couldn’t hold it for him. We’ve got to get back out there tomorrow.”

Davis served up a one-out homer to Justin Turner in the eighth inning. The homer haunted the Rockies in the ninth, when they had two hits and Tony Wolters’ RBI fielder’s choice before Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen worked Raimel Tapia into a grounder.

“I haven’t had a win in a while,” Gonzalez said. “But that’s the plan.”.

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.