DENVER -- DJ LeMahieu had taken at-bat after at-bat last week in extended spring training. After missing 15 games with a left thumb injury, he was itching to get back in the lineup. It happened Friday night."I better be ready after all that," he said.And he was. The Rockies' leadoff
DENVER -- DJ LeMahieu had taken at-bat after at-bat last week in extended spring training. After missing 15 games with a left thumb injury, he was itching to get back in the lineup. It happened Friday night.
"I better be ready after all that," he said.
And he was. The Rockies' leadoff hitter was 4-for-5 with four singles and two RBIs -- except his offensive performance wasn't enough to pull the Rockies past the Dodgers, who won 11-8 in the series opener at Coors Field. First-place Colorado now has a half-game lead over the Diamondbacks in the National League West.
LeMahieu's four hits tie his career high in a game -- which he's done 11 times, including twice this season. He did it against the Nationals on April 12.
"He could probably take a couple of months off and be just as good as he was," Nolan Arenado said of LeMahieu. "Not surprised that he had a great day for us. He was the tablesetter for sure."
Colorado's offense wasn't the reason it lost its second straight game at Coors Field. Starting pitcher Tyler Anderson went only five innings, and a four-run sixth inning for the bullpen doomed the Rockies.
Anderson settled down after a wild first inning that resulted in a leadoff triple from Chris Taylor, a sacrifice fly by Justin Turner, a solo home run from Matt Kemp and a walk. But the lefty retired the next six batters.
In the fourth inning, Anderson gave up a two-run double to Dodgers pitcher Dennis Santana in his Major League debut, forcing Rockies manager Bud Black to look to the bullpen at least an inning earlier than he wanted. Anderson ended his night at 100 pitches, allowing seven hits, five runs, three walks and four strikeouts.
Disappointment and frustration lingered in Anderson's voice after the game. His goal was to go seven or eight innings to give the bullpen a break, but "it didn't work out that way," he said.
Anderson had trouble with his control, throwing around the plate but not necessarily in the strike zone. Some of that, Black mentioned, was the Dodgers' ability to work the count.
"They make you throw strikes," Black said. "Overall tonight, we didn't throw enough strikes."
Black turned to right-hander Brooks Pounders (0-1) -- generally not used in tight games -- in the hopes that he could navigate a primarily right-handed-hitting lineup. But Pounders displayed poor pitch location, didn't retire any of the four batters he faced, gave up Taylor's three-run homer and was charged with four runs.
"Those situations aren't given, those are earned," Pounders said. "You gotta make pitches in those situations."
Scott Oberg got out of the jam down 9-6. Arenado's solo shot to left field brought the score within two, and the next two relievers, Mike Dunn and Bryan Shaw, turned in scoreless innings.
Yasiel Puig's two-run homer in the top of the ninth off lefty Chris Rusin, after Rusin walked Austin Barnes with two outs, sealed the Dodgers' win.
With lefty Alex Wood's next start pushed to Sunday, the Dodgers sandwiched relief pitchers around Santana (1-0), who came up from Triple-A Oklahoma City and won despite giving up five runs on six hits -- with four strikeouts -- in 3 2/3 innings.
Without their poor pitching, the Rockies' offense might have been enough to pull out a win. Carlos Gonzalez had an RBI triple in the first and an RBI single during a ninth-inning rally that fell short. Charlie Blackmon was 2-for-5 with an RBI triple that tied the score in the second, and Chris Iannetta reached base for the 19th consecutive game with his double in the second.
After struggling offensively at home in earlier series this season, it seems the Rockies' bats are starting to click at Coors Field. The Rockies finished with 13 hits to extend their season-high streak of double-figure hit games to six.
"We're having good at-bats up and down the lineup," LeMahieu said. "We just couldn't get the win, but I know we're going to keep hitting. It's fun to hop into a lineup that's hot."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Rusin, coming off a scoreless inning Wednesday against the Giants while trying to put a slump in the past, retired the first two batters in the top of the ninth. But a two-out walk to Barnes was painful. It set up the Puig homer that turned a two-run deficit into four -- going into the bottom of the ninth against Kenley Jansen.
Right-handed hitting outfielder Noel Cuevas came off the bench to single off Jansen with two out in the eighth to improve to 6-for-17 (.353) as a pinch-hitter this season. The hit improved Cuevas' right-on-right numbers to 8-for-26 (.307) -- a stat that could increase his opportunities.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
The finger wag from Parra was all in competition and good fun.
Puig doubled against Dunn in the seventh with the Dodgers leading by three runs. The next batter, Joc Pederson, hit a fly ball to left that Puig decided to tag up on and go to third.
Parra, however, would have none of it. Parra's throw to Arenado at third was a strike, and Puig was out.
"I figured Puig would be tagging," Arenado said. "But Parra's got a good arm. I knew he was going to make a good throw. I'm not surprised at all."
Even in a tight game between division rivals, Parra knows it's good to show a sense of humor.
HE SAID IT
"I think we're OK. Obviously we're going to miss [outfielder David] Dahl, but Parra knows how to hit and it seems like CarGo is getting going. I think we're going to be all right."
-- Arenado, on the news that Dahl would likely miss 6-8 weeks with a broken right foot
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The tension of the ninth inning was extended, thanks to a replay review. Parra was ruled to have beaten out a double-play relay throw. The Dodgers challenged first-base umpire Nic Lentz's call, but the replay review confirmed Lentz's call.
Right-hander German Marquez (4-5, 4.21 ERA) began to turn around his home ERA (10.34) during his last start on May 27 when he pitched seven innings, allowing one run on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts against the Reds. He will face Dodgers' Walker Buehler (3-1, 2.20 ERA), who pitched seven innings at home against the Rockies on May 21, allowing one run on two hits.
Anne Rogers is a reporter for MLB.com based in Colorado.