DENVER -- Walker Buehler fired a gem, but an uncertain bullpen unraveled on Saturday night, as the Dodgers suffered a 3-2 walk-off loss to the Rockies on Ryan McMahon's three-run homer in the ninth inning.
It was McMahon's second game-winning home run in as many nights off the Dodgers bullpen, which lost closer Kenley Jansen to the disabled list on Thursday. McMahon's two-run shot in the seventh inning off Zachary Rosscup led the Rockies to a 5-4 win on Friday. On Saturday, the loss went to JT Chargois.
"It's a tough one," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "All losses are tough, but when you're an out away from going up 2-1 in the series, lose two games like we have, it's tough."
It also wasted an excellent start from the rookie Buehler, who scattered four hits over seven scoreless innings at hitter-friendly Coors Field. It was the first time in his career that he pitched seven shutout innings.
A Dodgers starter hadn't gone seven or more innings since July 31 -- and that starter was Buehler. He said Saturday reminded him of his start against San Diego at home on May 27, when he had a similar line: seven innings, one run on four hits and eight strikeouts against no walks. That makes the three walks he allowed on Saturday sting a little.
"This one was probably my best outing outside of that," Buehler said. "The three walks are kind of annoying to me now, because you take away those three at-bats I probably get into the eighth there, so those three walks hurt. I kind of learned from it."
If Buehler had made it to the eighth, this might be a different story. He turned a 2-0 lead over to a Dodgers bullpen that has some uncertain roles with Jansen down. Caleb Ferguson is one reliever who is being called on in higher-leverage situations. In Thursday night's 8-5 win, he pitched 1 2/3 innings and allowed two hits. But because threw 28 pitches, it was predetermined that he would only go one inning on Saturday. That's what he did, throwing a perfect eighth on 15 pitches.
Roberts went to two relievers for the ninth inning. Scott Alexander -- who notched his second save of the season on Thursday -- gave up a one-out double to Trevor Story, so Roberts turned to Chargois to face pinch-hitter Nolan Arenado, who was out of the starting lineup with a sore right shoulder.
"You don't have that guy who has proven to get outs in the ninth inning," Roberts said. "That's where we're out right now. We talked about closer by committee and giving guys opportunity and the matchups that we feel are going to give us the best chance to get three outs."
Roberts matched Chargois (2-4) with Arenado because he's limited right-handed hitters to a .215 average (17-for-79) and struck out 28 of them this season. And Roberts didn't want Alexander facing Arenado, who "does a lot of damage against lefties" and homered off Alexander on June 29.
Chargois hit Arenado on the left hip, bringing the potential go-ahead run to the plate in Ian Desmond. Desmond grounded into a fielder's choice for the second out, but McMahon, a lefty, ended the game with a 391-foot shot to right field on a 1-0 count.
"Arenado, we were trying to attack with sliders, get ahead of him, and it didn't work out," Chargois said. "Thought I battled with Desmond, got a ground ball, just didn't end up in a place where we were able to turn two. And then I left that pitch up, and [McMahon] hit it."
The Dodgers got on the board on Justin Turner's RBI triple in the first and Yasiel Puig's 100th career homer in the second before Rockies left-hander Kyle Freeland settled in, striking out a career-high 10 over seven innings.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
In the third inning, the new duo in the Dodgers' infield turned a highlight-reel double play. After Buehler walked Charlie Blackmon, DJ LeMahieu grounded a hard-hit ball to second baseman James Dozier. Dozier dove for it -- fully extended -- and flipped the ball with his glove to shortstop Manny Machado at second base. Machado fired it to Player Page for Max Muncy at first and ended the inning with the Dodgers' 2-0 lead intact.
• Dozier, Machado start unreal double play
Dozier made an eerily similar play in the ninth on Desmond's grounder up the middle, but there wasn't enough time for a game-ending double play.
BUEHLER NOT FAZED BY COLLISION
Roberts called Buehler resilient, and not just because he had one of the best starts of his young career.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, LeMahieu hit a bouncer to Muncy, but the ball bounced off of the first baseman's glove and into foul territory. Buehler and Muncy both sprinted over to try to catch it, but collided instead. Both were OK, even though Buehler took quite a tumble. Muncy clipped Buehler's calf, but he doesn't expect anything to come of it.
"I'm just happy that he went down, too," Buehler joked. "If I would have been the only one down, I would have been embarrassed. I was flailing all over the place, but he's a lot bigger than me."
Left-hander Rich Hill (5-4, 3.62 ERA) will face Rockies righty Chad Bettis (5-2, 5.67) in Sunday's 12:10 p.m. PT series finale. Hill earned the win in his last outing, on Tuesday against the A's, giving up two runs on three hits in 5 2/3 innings. He hasn't pitched at Coors Field since 2008, when he was a member of the Cubs and gave up two runs on three hits in five innings.