LA suffers third straight late-inning loss

Bellinger snaps 0-for-25 slump with 2 hits, but exits with hamstring tightness

July 24th, 2021

LOS ANGELES -- After a series against the Giants that produced heartbreak on multiple occasions, the Dodgers needed a clear-cut win against the Rockies. But for a third consecutive night, the Dodgers couldn’t maintain their lead as they dropped the series opener to Colorado, 9-6, in 10 innings on Friday at Dodger Stadium.

Jimmie Sherfy was tasked with keeping the Rockies off the board in the 10th -- or at least keeping the Dodgers within striking distance. But Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon spoiled any semblance of Los Angeles making another comeback in the game.

Story singled in the automatic runner on the fourth pitch of the 10th inning to give the Rockies the lead, and wound up on second as Zach McKinstry bobbled the grounder in left field. The inning continued to unravel as Sherfy wasn’t in command against Blackmon, which showed in the two-run home run to right-center field.

The hanging 2-1 slider was left over the middle of the plate and the Dodgers watched their comeback fizzle.

“We’ve got to find ways as an offense to keep adding on and extending the lead,” said Justin Turner, who went 1-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs. “We’ve got to do the little things defensively and take care of the baseball to protect the lead.”

The Dodgers jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first and held leads of 3-1, 4-1, 4-3 and 5-3 before Colorado tied it at 5 in the eighth inning on Ryan McMahon's RBI single. The Rockies took their first lead in the ninth after Darien Núñez gave up a home run to Sam Hilliard.

The home run was soon forgotten, however.

Pinch-hitter Austin Barnes put the Dodgers in position for a walk-off win with a leadoff single against right-hander Daniel Bard in the ninth. Chris Taylor worked Bard in a seven-pitch grind and singled to right field, putting the go-ahead run on the bases.

As the situation intensified, Bard lost command. A wild pitch moved the runners 90 feet closer during Billy McKinney’s turn at the plate, only to then load the bases for Turner who tied the game at 6 with a walk.

But Los Angeles came up empty in the bases-loaded situation following Turner’s walk. What was a promising situation for the Dodgers to secure a much-needed win for morale, turned into three consecutive swinging strikeouts.

“I was pretty certain that the game was going to be over,” manager Dave Roberts said. “We started to expand. You can see [Bard] was stressed, pitch count up, went to the slider and we just kind of expanded. There were a couple sliders in the zone and we couldn't move them forward, couldn't drive in that run.”

Los Angeles went 4-for-15 with runners in scoring position, while leaving 10 runners on base.

Cody Bellinger, however, was able to find success with runners on base as he snapped out of an 0-for-25 slump. The starting center fielder collected two hits and an RBI -- his first since July 16 in Colorado. However, he exited the game before the eighth inning with left hamstring tightness.

The three-run first inning the Dodgers put together was highlighted by Bellinger’s bat finally making successful contact in the strike zone.

His second hit came in his third at-bat, which had Dodger Stadium rocking. Bellinger smashed a 93.7 mph fastball from left-hander Ben Bowden that traveled 385 feet to the right-field wall. The towering fly ball was a couple of feet from home run territory. But as it bounced off the wall, Bellinger kicked it into another gear and arrived at third base standing up, which is when he felt his hamstring tighten.

“He's going to be down [Saturday]. I like to think we got ahead of it,” Roberts said. “He felt it on his triple. Same hamstring as before. He'll be down [Saturday], hopefully come Sunday he'll be back in there. But right now, I guess, he's day to day.”