Buehler bested as Dodgers drop middle game

Taylor homers in fifth; L.A.'s ninth-inning rally falls short

September 9th, 2018

DENVER -- Dodgers roster depth and matchup options weren't enough Saturday night to prevent a 4-2 loss to the Rockies, who restored their lead to 1 1/2 games over Los Angeles in the National League West.

(14-7) outdueled (6-5), with home runs by Colorado's Chris Iannetta and Charlie Blackmon outweighing a solo shot from Chris Taylor in the fifth inning. 's two-out RBI double followed 's triple in the ninth inning off , who got on a full-count called strike three for the save.

The teams have split the first two games of this showdown series, but the Dodgers have lost four of their last five at hitter-friendly Coors Field averaging less than three runs a loss.

Manager Dave Roberts said his club's starting and relief pitching has been solid, but an offense like Saturday's won't get the Dodgers into the postseason.

"Offensively, we just can't get synced up. The at-bats are there, the results aren't there," he said. "It's just not happening right now. We're all kind of frustrated by it."

defended the Dodgers' offense, which has been among the leaders for runs scored all season.

"This time of year, big games, they're going to be close games," said Turner. "I don't think you can point your finger at anything. If we lose, the offense is bad and if we win, the offense is good? That's a terrible analysis.

"As long as we score more than the other team, I don't care what the offense does."

With expanded rosters, Roberts made wholesale changes mid-game against Colorado relievers with seven pinch-hitters. But the Dodgers also struck out 14 times. The three hitters acquired in trades to boost the offense -- Manny Machado, and -- went 1-for-9. Roberts then checked off a handful of players he believes have had improved at-bats recently, starting with Taylor, who also singled and is starting to show some signs of offensive life after an otherwise disappointing follow-up to last year's break out.

"In general, we expect to put up runs, especially here we'd like to get more than two," said Taylor. "I think we've got to be better offensively when the pitchers hold them to four."

Buehler, who had allowed only seven earned runs in seven previous starts, was charged with the four runs in six innings.

"Two bad pitches, two good hitters. Blackmon hopped on a slider and Iannetta, a fastball," said Buehler. "Just wasn't good enough."

Freeland, a remarkable 8-2 at Coors Field this year, struck out eight in six innings.

"You do expect to put up runs in this ballpark," said Roberts. "The way Kyle threw the ball, it doesn't matter where you're playing. He really has good command and confidence pitching here. We still have to get baserunners to stress the pitcher and get that big hit."

Iannetta jumped on Buehler's first pitch of the third inning and shot the fastball over the right-field scoreboard for his 10th home run of the year, third against the Dodgers and seventh against them in the past two years.

Colorado added a run in the fourth. For the second time in two games, the Rockies hustled to stretch a single into a double; this time, it was besting Matt Kemp, who started in right field instead of . singled home Dahl, with Desmond erased going for second base.

Taylor cut the lead in half by beginning the fifth inning with a 440-foot home run to center field, his 15th.

Iannetta ambushed another first pitch from Buehler leading off the bottom of the fifth, a breaking ball he doubled to left. One out later, Blackmon launched a 442-foot bomb to right field to make the score 4-1.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED

Grandal represented the tying run when he came to bat in the ninth against Davis and the Dodgers liked the matchup, as Grandal was 3-for-6 with a home run and double against Davis in his career. But plate umpire Laz Diaz rang up Grandal on a borderline 3-2 cutter.

Related

SOUND SMART

With the home run by Taylor, the Dodgers have seven players (Muncy, Bellinger, Grandal, Kemp, and Puig) with at least 15 homers and 15 doubles in a season, the most in Dodger history (previously six in 1949 and 2017).

HE SAID IT

"Every player finds himself trying to do too much at some point. It's one thing to tell yourself to keep it simple, but it's a little bit different when you get in the game and the adrenaline's going and it can speed up on you real quick." -- Taylor

UP NEXT

Rich Hill opposes and the Rockies in Sunday's series finale at 12:10 p.m. PT. Hill was moved ahead of Alex Wood for this start because of matchups, manager Dave Roberts said. Hill allowed two runs in six innings in his only Coors Field start this year.