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Dodgers fall to Rox despite Maeda's strong 7

Hernandez's solo shot ties NL single-month HR mark, but it's not enough
MLB.com @kengurnick

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers opened June by scoring 33 runs in a series sweep at Colorado, a harbinger of slugging to come. But they ended it with a three-game losing streak, the Rockies a Sunday win away from their first three-game sweep at Dodger Stadium since 2007.

The Dodgers slugged a franchise-record 55 home runs in June, tying the National League record when Enrique Hernandez slugged his 14th on Saturday. But it was the lone run in a 3-1 loss, the second consecutive game in which the Dodgers were held to a solo home run.

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LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers opened June by scoring 33 runs in a series sweep at Colorado, a harbinger of slugging to come. But they ended it with a three-game losing streak, the Rockies a Sunday win away from their first three-game sweep at Dodger Stadium since 2007.

The Dodgers slugged a franchise-record 55 home runs in June, tying the National League record when Enrique Hernandez slugged his 14th on Saturday. But it was the lone run in a 3-1 loss, the second consecutive game in which the Dodgers were held to a solo home run.

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Video: COL@LAD: Hernandez's homer breaks up perfect-game bid

It's not hard for the Dodgers to look at June as a glass half full.

"A very positive month," said manager Dave Roberts. "To finish losing three straight is one thing, but look at the entirety and there were a lot of positives. A lot of growth with the starters, guys offensively. Look back at 30 days from today, we're in a much better situation. Our best days are still ahead of us."

A 17-9 mark makes for a successful month, no doubt, but that just meant treading water behind first-place Arizona, which led by four games at the end of May and will lead the Dodgers by 3 1/2 games or 4 1/2 games to close June, depending on the outcome of Saturday night's D-backs game with the Giants.

And while home runs are cool and all, Roberts concedes concern that his club might have become predictably one dimensional, either scoring with the long ball or not at all.

"We've talked about it, it's kind of the construction of our club," said Roberts. "A lot of the guys we have, it's tough to live by the long ball. Against good pitching and you can't or don't take a walk, you can't find a way to hit the outfield grass and manufacture and keep the line moving, it's tough."

That was the case on Saturday against German Marquez, who came into the game with eight losses and a 5.53 ERA. But Marquez was perfect for five innings, allowed only two hits over eight innings, struck out nine without a walk and was throwing 99.9 mph in his final frame of work.

Video: COL@LAD: Marquez whiffs Hernandez for 9th strikeout

"We knew he had a good arm, but I didn't know he had a hundred in there," said Roberts. "He outpitched our guy, who I thought pitched pretty well."

His guy was Kenta Maeda (5-5), pitching on regular rest and well enough to win if the offense had done its part. Maeda allowed three runs (two earned) and struck out nine in seven innings, giving the beleaguered and undermanned bullpen some needed rest.

"I was able to execute all my pitches," said Maeda, making his third start since coming off the disabled list with a strained hip.

For three innings, Maeda was in a perfect duel with Marquez, but that ended when DJ LeMahieu led off the top of the fourth with a double inside third base. LeMahieu tagged to third on Charlie Blackmon's fly out to center and scored on a passed ball by Yasmani Grandal, who failed to catch a third strike to Nolan Arenado.

Video: COL@LAD: LeMahieu scores on a strikeout, wild pitch

Maeda needed 27 pitches to finish off the frame, after making only 31 over the first three innings. Colorado didn't need any gifts for its second run, as Desmond led off the fifth inning with a rocket home run to left field on a 1-0 slider, his 17th.

Hernandez started at shortstop in place of Chris Taylor, who was given a rest after starting back-to-back games following a tight hamstring. Justin Turner also was rested until a ninth-inning pinch-hit appearance, replaced at third base by Max Muncy.

SOUND SMART
Hernandez has seven home runs and 13 RBIs in his last 18 games. In 2017, Hernandez had 11 homers and 37 RBIs for the entire season.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Grandal's passed ball allowed the first Rockies run to score, but his defensive play on a seventh-inning safety squeeze by Marquez prevented a run from scoring. Grandal retrieved the bunt near the first-base line and dived back to tag out Gerardo Parra before he could touch the plate.

Video: COL@LAD: Grandal fields bunt, dives to tag Parra

HE SAID IT
"There's no problem [with the hip] in terms of pitching in game situation. It's hard to tell on baserunning, since I haven't exactly been tested there yet. Hitting I'm still not there yet" -- Maeda

UP NEXT
Ross Stripling takes on Chad Bettis and the Rockies in Sunday's series finale at 1:10 p.m. PT. Stripling allowed one run over five innings against the Cubs in his most recent start, lowering his ERA to 1.98.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers