DENVER -- Rockies rookie Ryan McMahon had inside intel, it turns out, before he blasted his first career left-on-left home run -- a two-run shot in the seventh inning off Zachary Rosscup to provide a key 5-4 victory over the Dodgers on Friday night at Coors Field.Rosscup, who was claimed
DENVER -- Rockies rookie Ryan McMahon had inside intel, it turns out, before he blasted his first career left-on-left home run -- a two-run shot in the seventh inning off Zachary Rosscup to provide a key 5-4 victory over the Dodgers on Friday night at Coors Field.
Rosscup, who was claimed by the Dodgers on July 11, began this year on the Rockies' 60-day disabled list. Prior to leaving the organization, Rosscup was preparing for an injury rehab assignment at Triple-A Albuquerque and threw a live batting practice session against McMahon and several hitters at Coors.
It turns out, the Statcast™ estimated 412-foot homer to center -- which allowed the Rockies to bounce back from a harrowing bullpen collapse 8-5 loss in the opener of the four-game set, and climb to 2 1/2 games behind the National League West co-leading D-backs and Dodgers -- was a repeat. McMahon didn't want to seem like he was bragging, so his inquisitor pulled the answer out of him.
"I know you know," a smiling McMahon said. "I hit a home run against him."
McMahon even being in the game was part of the story in this so-far odd and interesting series. All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado left before the top of the fifth because of a flare-up of a right shoulder issue that has been bothering him a couple of weeks. He hopes to return on Saturday.
• Arenado exits with sore right shoulder
But McMahon, a touted prospect enjoying his third tour wrapped around a couple of options to Albuquerque, continued his upward mobility. Since rejoining the Rockies on July 29, he is 10-for-28 (.359) with five extra-base hits and four RBIs in 13 games.
"It's going to take everybody, and today was Mac's night to give us a big swing," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "He's in the big leagues. The expectation is for him to give us a good at-bat and good play, and tonight it happened. Super pumped for Mac."
A second-round pick in 2013, McMahon, 23, made the season-opening roster but was sent down after a 9-for-50 beginning. McMahon not only has climbed to .244 overall, but he is turning heads with his left-on-left performance -- 7-for-24 (.291) with two doubles, a triple and Friday's winner.
"I've just gotten back to doing the things I've always done," McMahon said. "I think I've had a pretty good approach against lefties. Whether that leads to success or not, that's baseball."
McMahon's drive off Rosscup (0-1), who had given up a leadoff single to DJ LeMahieu (the only righty batter he faced among his five hitters) came in the seventh. That gave a lead to the struggling bullpen that had blown three saves in the ninth inning over the previous eight games and coughed up five homers in three innings on Thursday.
Black, however, said there wasn't any lingering effect from Thursday.
"From here on out, there are going to be hard-fought games. … This is what's going to happen," Black said. "We feel good about it, for sure. It was a hard-fought win against a good team that we're trying to catch."
Lefty Jake McGee (2-4), who entered with a 6.63 ERA but had regained life on his fastball in recent outings, gave up one hit -- Player Page for Max Muncy's two-out double in the eighth. Righty Scott Oberg, who gave up two homers Thursday to interrupt what had been a solid two months, forced a Yasiel Puig grounder to short to end the eighth.
After closer Wade Davis struggled Thursday with two homers allowed, Adam Ottavino -- unavailable on Thursday because of illness -- pitched the ninth for his fifth save. Ottavino's work (one hit, strikeouts of ninth-inning leadoff man Manny Machado) represented a rebound from his last outing, when he blew a save at Milwaukee on Sunday in a game the Rox won in 11 innings.
Ottavino spent the pregame hours in the sleep room -- added to the home side of Coors for players -- then put the finishing touch on a rebound game.
"It was a good game," Ottavino said. "Guys did their jobs. People are going to go home sleeping well tonight."
Friday's game began with workmanlike starting pitching. The Rockies' Jon Gray went 5 2/3 innings and gave up four runs -- two on Muncy's fourth-inning homer -- and eight hits, with four strikeouts. With two on in the sixth, Rockies reliever Harrison Musgrave forced a left-on-left flyout from Joc Pederson.
Dodgers righty Kenta Maeda gave up a two-run homer in the first inning to LeMahieu -- who had gone 96 at-bats between his eighth and ninth homers. But Maeda settled in and held the Rockies to three runs on six hits with seven strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Rockies could have made it easier, but the combination of solid Dodgers defense and an offense that went 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position prevented it.
Maeda was helped by a defense that cut down two runners at the plate -- Carlos Gonzalez on a throw from third baseman Justin Turner after an Arenado grounder in the first, and Trevor Story on second baseman James Dozier's throw in the third on David Dahl's grounder.
"That was a misread by CarGo," Black said. "With Trevor, the contact play is a play that's run throughout baseball. Dozier's gotta make a play -- he bobbled it a touch.
"Left-handed hitter with Trevor's speed -- Turner is off the bag, so Trev has an extended lead. Wwe have a good opportunity to beat that play. Unfortunately, it was right at Dozier and they executed."
HE SAID IT
"After playing in that [Wild Card] playoff game last year, no game this year has felt like a big game compared to that experience last year [a wild 11-8 loss to the D-backs]. So whatever happens in the game, we're very focused. We don't get crazy if it's a close game against a big team." -- LeMahieu, on handling pressure situations in a playoff race
Denver native Kyle Freeland (10-7, 3.04 ERA) isn't fazed by pitching in Coors Field. The lefty is 7-2 with a 2.18 ERA at home -- the fourth-lowest home ERA among NL starters. Freeland will face the Dodgers and righty Walker Buehler (5-4, 3.63) at 6:10 p.m. MT on Saturday. Because of a conflict with a Denver Broncos football game, the English radio broadcast will be carried on KHOW 630 AM.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.