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After Iannetta's clutch HR, Rox can't hold lead

August 9, 2018

DENVER -- In a chance to begin the process of pushing the Rockies into the stretch run, closer Wade Davis found himself being booed off Coors Field. He was taking the brunt of the frustration over a bullpen that is supposed to make a difference in the National League West

DENVER -- In a chance to begin the process of pushing the Rockies into the stretch run, closer Wade Davis found himself being booed off Coors Field. He was taking the brunt of the frustration over a bullpen that is supposed to make a difference in the National League West race.
Davis yielded a tie-breaking homer to Chris Taylor on his first pitch of the ninth inning, and a two-run shot to James Dozier two batters later, as the Dodgers opened a four-game series with a wild, 8-5 victory on Thursday night. Los Angeles hit five homers over the final three innings against Colorado's bullpen.
Davis (1-6) has allowed eight homers this season, the most since he became a full-time reliever in 2014. At times, he feels he is moving past delivery issues that have led to a 5.51 ERA and six blown saves. At other times, his struggles have been a big part of the Rockies losing 10 of their last 17 games and falling to 3 1/2 games behind the Dodgers and D-backs, who are tied for first in the NL West.
"Any pitcher will tell you, you get the ball up, it has a chance to be hit," said Rockies manager Bud Black, whose team fell to 1-3 on this homestand after a 2-5 road trip.

It wasn't just Davis.
Scott Oberg, who had yielded one homer in his previous 32 appearances -- gave up solo shots to pinch-hitters Joc Pederson (on a changeup, which has given hitters trouble) and Player Page for Max Muncy in the seventh. Seunghwan Oh, who had not allowed a run in seven appearances since arriving in a trade with the Blue Jays, lost a 5-3 lead when Cody Bellinger swatted a two-run homer in the eighth.
"Tonight's one of those games where you've gotta flush it," Oberg said.

Catcher Chris Iannetta, whose three-run homer off Pedro Baez in the seventh was responsible for the lead that Oh lost, said there's no choice but to move on.
"If you're playing in a rec league, you might let this stick with you," Iannetta said. "But if you're a professional baseball player at the Major League level, you learn how to wipe this off. You learn in the Minor Leagues, you learn as a rookie and throughout your career to let this go.
"Sometimes it's much easier to let the team stuff go more than it is the personal stuff. When you're battling at the plate or battling on the mound, sometimes it's tough to really grind through those moments. But wins and losses, it's a lot easier to forget it because we're taught to just turn the page over and over again and focus on what we can do to help the team win tomorrow."

Davis retired Yasmani Grandal to preserve the 5-5 tie in the eighth. But in the ninth, Taylor continued his success against the Rockies. Taylor is 7-for-14 with two homers and eight RBIs against Colorado this season.
"They have a really good leadoff hitter in Chris Taylor -- or two-hitter or three-hitter in Chris Taylor, or four-hitter in Chris Taylor -- now hitting seventh and eighth," Iannetta said. "That's a game-changer that speaks to how good they are. But you can't let that mental grind of constantly trying to execute get to you. I believe that we can do that."

The game started as a pitching duel, with the Dodgers' Thomas Stripling and the Rockies' Tyler Anderson each allowing one run on four hits in six innings.
Dodgers hitters were not swinging at borderline pitches early, so Anderson -- who shook off a seven-run, four-inning struggle at Milwaukee in his last start -- began attacking the plate. Anderson had six strikeouts.
"He sort of got stronger as the game went on," Black said. "The Dodgers have a game plan against Tyler from multiple starts. There's a big sample of at-bats, Tyler vs. the Dodgers, so it's always a little cat-and-mouse game.
"They were battling, just like we were battling Stripling. He's got a good arm, too."
Pitching decisions don't pay off: Even though the Dodgers had left-handed hitters Pederson and Muncy looming on the bench, the Rockies stuck with right-hander Oberg in the seventh, when he allowed pinch-hit homers to the Los Angeles duo. Then, in the eighth they stuck with right-hander Oh to face the left-handed-hitting Bellinger, who swatted a game-tying homer.
However, Black was in a bind. Left-hander Chris Rusin (6.81 ERA) had just been activated from the 10-day disabled list, lefty Jake McGee (6.63) has struggled all year with location and Harrison Musgrave is a rookie with a high walk rate (16 against 22 strikeouts in 31 1/3 innings). Additionally, righty Adam Ottavino, at times the team's best reliever, was not available after throwing a difficult inning in Wednesday's 4-3 loss to the Pirates.
"Oh has been pitching so good for us, he's been really solid," Black said. "So he got a pitch to [Matt] Kemp he'd probably like to get back, and he'd like to get one back to Bellinger."
"You get that bad feeling in you and carry it around for the next couple of days, it's not going to help anybody," Oh said through an interpreter.
The Dodgers' five home runs tied a Rockies single-game record for homers given up by the bullpen. The D-backs hit five off Colorado relievers on Sept. 28, 2002, at Arizona.
Right-hander Jon Gray (9-7, 4.73 ERA) is 2-0 in four starts since returning from Triple-A Albuquerque, all of which the Rockies have won. He's 5-3 with a 4.58 ERA in 10 starts at Coors Field this season. The righty will make his first start against the Dodgers this year when he opposes righty Kenta Maeda (7-7, 3.73) at Coors Field at 6:40 p.m. MT on Friday.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.