DENVER -- The home-run ball almost doomed the Dodgers on Thursday night. It ended up saving them, as they hit five long balls in an 8-5 win over the Rockies in the opener of a four-game series at Coors Field.Chris Taylor led off the ninth inning with a tie-breaking homer
DENVER -- The home-run ball almost doomed the Dodgers on Thursday night. It ended up saving them, as they hit five long balls in an 8-5 win over the Rockies in the opener of a four-game series at Coors Field.
Chris Taylor led off the ninth inning with a tie-breaking homer on Rockies closer Wade Davis' first pitch of the frame. Later in the inning, James Dozier hit a two-run home run for the Dodgers, who moved into a tie for first place with the idle D-backs in the National League West.
"We're the type of team that isn't going to quit until the last out," said shortstop Manny Machado, who recorded his 1,000th career hit in the sixth inning. "We got ahead, they came back, we went ahead and we didn't stop fighting."
After Joc Pederson and Player Page for Max Muncy each hit a pinch-hit solo home run in the seventh to break a 1-1 tie, Dodgers reliever Pedro Baez gave up a three-run home run to Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta in the bottom of the frame, which gave Colorado a 5-3 lead. It was the first time Baez gave up more than one run in an inning since April 28.
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"Baez has had three or four days off, so that's a spot for him where he has to get outs," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "The last couple of outings he's thrown the ball pretty well, but you have to get outs. Fortunately for us, we battled back."
Cody Bellinger led that battle. He launched a game-tying two-run homer against Seunghwan Oh in the eighth.
Roberts knew that Bellinger was due for a home run. The first baseman had only one home run since July 2, prior to Thursday. Before the game, Roberts predicted Bellinger would hit two homers. But the manager settled for the one big one.
"The intent with Cody we've seen, where he's getting off his swing more confidently, where he was just on balls or just missing balls," Roberts said. "I know he likes hitting here and he was just tracking in the right way."
The constant movement on the scoreboard didn't occur until the late innings, once both starters had exited the game after six innings. In his return from the disabled list, Dodgers right-hander Thomas Stripling allowed one run on four hits with two strikeouts and two walks. Rockies left-hander Tyler Anderson also tossed six innings of one-run ball, allowing four hits with six strikeouts and one walk.
Stripling used his fastball more than most outings and had to move away from the curveball, based on the scouting report put together before the game. Of his 77 pitches, he threw 44 fastballs and 23 sliders, while only throwing three knuckle-curves.
"I was able to stay efficient, got a couple of double plays, but overall happy with it coming off the 10-day DL stint," Stripling said. "It got kind of crazy after I came out, but happy to get the win tonight."
Roberts went to Baez after taking Stripling out. But after Iannetta's homer, left-hander Caleb Ferguson entered and recorded two outs in the seventh and preserved the tie with a scoreless eighth to earn the win.
"Any way I can help the team win, I'm going to do that," Ferguson said. "Whenever my name is called, I'm going to do my job."
The Dodgers' only run before the seventh came on a Taylor sacrifice fly in the second, and they left five runners on base against Anderson. But they took advantage of a struggling Rockies bullpen with a pair of homers against Scott Oberg, who had allowed only one previous home run this season.
"We had some good at-bats today," Roberts said. "Just to see us bounce back … the long ball played big tonight."
The pair of homers from Pederson and Muncy in the seventh inning was the first time the Dodgers hit two pinch-hit home runs in the same inning since July 23, 1975, against the Cardinals. It was the fourth time they had a pair of pinch-hit home runs in the same game, and the first since Aug. 27, 1982, against the Cubs.
HE SAID IT
"It does mess with you. And I've been coming here for three years and you just don't get used to it. After the swinging bunt by [Charlie] Blackmon in the sixth, I went to field it and threw it to first and I was like out of breath. I felt like I was going to faint. It just kind of messes with you. But it's nice to be the first one to pitch here and now I can kind of hang back. But it wears on you more and more the longer you're here." -- Stripling, on playing in the high altitude at Coors Field
Right-hander Kenta Maeda (7-7, 3.73 ERA) will take the mound for the Dodgers in the second game of the series on Friday night at 5:40 PT. He will face Rockies righty Jon Gray (9-7, 4.73), who has found a resurgence since coming back from Triple-A in late July. Maeda last faced the Rockies on June 30 at Dodger Stadium, where he allowed three runs on five hits in seven innings in a loss.
Anne Rogers is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow her on Twitter at @anne__rogers.