LOS ANGELES -- Walker Buehler didn't win a game on Monday night, but he won the clubhouse.Even more than for firing a two-hitter for seven innings, Buehler earned peer respect for taking a 108 mph liner off the ribs and staying in the game to nearly overshadow a 2-1 loss
LOS ANGELES -- Walker Buehler didn't win a game on Monday night, but he won the clubhouse.
Even more than for firing a two-hitter for seven innings, Buehler earned peer respect for taking a 108 mph liner off the ribs and staying in the game to nearly overshadow a 2-1 loss to the Rockies that snapped the Dodgers' win streak at four.
"After taking that line drive off the ribs, I think he showed, not only myself but all the guys, what he's made of," said Chase Utley.
Praise for the 23-year-old rookie came from manager Dave Roberts as well.
"Taking the ball off the ribs off the bat of [Trevor] Story, willing himself to stay in there and giving us two more innings was huge," said Roberts. "A young player to have that much fight was very inspirational. We're learning a lot pretty quickly about him. Unfortunately, the bats at home, we didn't get any production to pick him up."
X-rays on Buehler's right rib cage were negative, so at least he didn't join fellow starters Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill and Hyun-Jin Ryu on the disabled list.
"It didn't feel good," said Buehler. "Squared me up pretty good. It's been a long time since I've played football, but it felt a lot like diving and get the wind knocked out of you. I wanted to keep pitching."
The only run Buehler allowed came on a home run by Gerardo Parra, whose eight-pitch at-bat led off the top of the fifth inning and ended Buehler's bid for a perfect game. Buehler was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the seventh, having struck out six without a walk and throwing 90 pitches over a career-high seven innings.
"I wouldn't say one pitch was really, really good, but I tried to keep them off balance," said Buehler.
Buehler avoided getting tagged with the loss only by Player Page for Max Muncy's fifth homer in the past month, a shot leading off the bottom of the fourth against German Marquez, who was just as impressive as Buehler as he pitched the Rockies into first place.
The decisive run was tainted by one of the Dodgers' three errors. With one out in the eighth, Dodgers reliever Pedro Baez walked Tony Wolters.
"He got ahead of him, but lost him," Roberts said of Baez. "That can't happen, you've got to make him beat you with the bat."
Compounding the walk, Wolters stole second and advanced to third on catcher Yasmani Grandal's errant throw into center field. Roberts unsuccessfully protested to home-plate umpire Ryan Blakney that Grandal was interfered with by batter Pat Valaika.
"There was the batter's interference that wasn't called," said Roberts. "Unfortunately, if you look at the tape, you see an excess backswing, and Yasmani threw it away to second base."
"It's umpire's discretion," said Grandal. "He didn't see it, he didn't call it. That's pretty much it. They're human, they make mistakes."
After Baez struck out Valaika, Scott Alexander came on to get pinch-hitter Carlos Gonzalez to send a slow bouncer that Utley ranged to his right to snare, but his throw on a bounce skipped past first baseman Muncy for an infield single as Wolters scored.
"It was one of those, playing a semi-shift with CarGo up, you know before it's going to be tough if he hits it where you're not playing," said Utley. "I didn't get a whole lot on the throw, but I knew there was a runner on third and I had to get rid of it. We weren't able to make the play."
The game ended on an infield single. With two out and nobody on in the bottom of the ninth, Matt Kemp legged out a grounder to shortstop Story, whose throw trickled past first baseman Ian Desmond. Kemp was ruled by first-base umpire Alfonso Marquez to have made an attempt to advance to second base, even though it was only a partial turn.
Catcher Wolters, backing up the play, retrieved the ball and flipped to Desmond, who tagged out Kemp to end the game.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Dodgers' best chance came in the bottom of the fifth. With one out, Chris Taylor was hit by a pitch and Story fielded Utley's potential double-play grounder and threw it away, putting runners on second and third. But Buehler struck out and Joc Pederson lined out to left field.
The Dodgers are 8-14 at home. Last year, they went 57-24 and led MLB.
HE SAID IT
"Not your standard 6-3. It's tough. At that moment, you feel we've got a chance. The ball gets away, and we're one swing away from winning the game." -- Buehler, on the final out
Roberts hasn't named a starting pitcher for Tuesday night's 7:10 p.m. PT matchup against Colorado and right-hander Chad Bettis, but the most likely candidate is Brock Stewart, who will be recalled before the game for the fourth time this year and third time this month. He started five days ago for Triple-A Oklahoma City and threw three scoreless innings.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.