LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers gut-punched the Rockies with a late home run for the second straight game in Wednesday night's 5-2 loss to complete a three-game sweep at Dodger Stadium and move Colorado 2 1/2 games back in the National League West.The Rockies are now 1 1/2 games behind
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers gut-punched the Rockies with a late home run for the second straight game in Wednesday night's 5-2 loss to complete a three-game sweep at Dodger Stadium and move Colorado 2 1/2 games back in the National League West.
The Rockies are now 1 1/2 games behind St. Louis for the second NL Wild Card spot.
Yasiel Puig became the latest Dodger to sink the Rockies. With the game tied at 2 in the seventh inning, Puig faced off against Scott Oberg as a pinch-hitter with runners on second and third. Puig unloaded on a 0-1 pitch, sending it into the left-field bleachers for a three-run homer.
"That started out from the get-go to be a hard-fought game," manager Bud Black said. "We have all the confidence in the world the way [Oberg's] thrown this month. The way he's thrown the ball, we felt he could get Puig."
With one out, the Rockies elected not to intentionally walk Puig to load the bases and put a potential inning-ending double play on the table. They chose rather to throw "chase pitches" to Puig, hoping he'd bite. But Puig connected on a breaking ball that was low and outside.
"We weren't necessarily trying to walk him, but with the way he's been swinging the bat, we weren't trying to give him anything to hit," catcher Chris Iannetta said. "We were mostly trying to pitch to him like he had two strikes on him.
"Personally for me, there's not much I would've done differently," he added. "We still would've tried to pitch him with chase pitches. If you're going to pitch to him in that situation, you pitch to him carefully."
With 10 games remaining in the regular season, the Rockies have their work cut out for them if they want to claim their first division title in franchise history. They've gotten no help from their offense, which has struggled in the last week. They've mustered just nine total runs in their last six games.
"These last two games especially came down to a couple big swings," Black said. "They got them and we didn't. We had a couple of opportunities through the course of yesterday and tonight to get that hit and to swing the game our way. But that's baseball."
The Rockies searched all series for their own big swing, but never got one. Colorado's first three batters of the game reached and loaded the bases against Dodgers starter Walker Buehler, but Buehler battled back to retire Nolan Arenado and Gerardo Parra. Ian Desmond delivered, though, sending a sharp ground ball to center field for a two-out, two-run single.
It certainly seemed to be the key hit the Rockies were seeking, but Colorado wasn't able to put anything else together against Buehler. He struck out a career-high 12 batters and allowed just three baserunners over the next five innings. The Rockies mustered one hit over that span -- a single in the third inning by David Dahl -- and didn't record another hit until Arenado's single in the eighth inning.
"Obviously everyone's going to look at our offense right now," Iannetta said. " You can see it as a tale of two teams right now with the Dodgers getting hot over the last week and a half. We've been grinding a little bit the past week and a half. We've had moments, but we haven't had consistent production at the plate."
The Rockies will head to Arizona to close out the road trip and their final road series of the regular season. They won't have an easy test ahead of them as they attempt to break out of their offensive woes. The first two pitchers they face are Zack Greinke and Patrick Corbin.
ANDERSON KEEPS IT TIGHT
Tyler Anderson followed up his last outing with another quality start, again spinning six innings of two-run ball. He yielded just three hits, but they were big ones. Anderson was tagged for his first hit when Matt Kemp unleashed a solo shot to left field in the second inning to cut the Dodgers' deficit to 2-1.
He bounced back with perfect third and fourth innings, but surrendered a single to Joc Pederson to lead off the fifth. James Dozier made Anderson pay two at-bats later when he lined a double in the left-center gap to tie the game at 2.
"They hit the ball hard, but the pitches they hit were good," Anderson said. "As a pitcher you can take that and say that I'm executing."
Anderson notched back-to-back starts spanning six innings or more for the first time since the end of July. In five starts against the Dodgers this season, he has gone 1-1 with a 3.58 ERA and limited Dodger hitters to a .228 batting average.
Desmond's two-run single accounted for RBIs No. 80 and 81 this season. He's now the eighth player in franchise history to have notched 20 home runs, 80 RBIs and 20 steals in a season and joins Trevor Story as the second to do so this season.
HE SAID IT
"Losing tonight's game is tough. Throughout the course of the season, we've always said to try to wipe out as many losses as we possibly can, but obviously with the impact this has on the standings, it's a bigger loss. It makes our job a lot harder if we want to get in the playoffs. We have to rely on other teams as well as play really well with 10 games to go. It's definitely tougher." -- Iannetta, on the loss and being swept
After an off-day on Thursday, German Marquez will take the mound for the Rockies Friday night as Colorado heads to Arizona. Marquez has given up three runs or less in each of his last 10 starts. He'll take on Greinke, with first pitch scheduled for 7:40 p.m. MT.
Katie Woo is a reporter for MLB.com based in San Diego. Follow her on Twitter @katiejwoo.