When opportunity comes knocking, you need to take advantage of it. The Colorado Rockies had their share of opportunities Tuesday night to take the lead late against the Los Angeles Dodgers but failed to do so.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles converted its lone late-inning chance with a run-scoring single in the 10th inning to edge Colorado, 5-4, before a crowd of 23,869 at Coors Field in the opener of a three-game series between the National League West rivals.
Veteran Albert Pujols had the go-ahead RBI single for the Dodgers (97-54) off Rockies reliever Jhoulys Chacín. The pinch-hit single proved to be the game-winner after Colorado (70-80) failed to score in the bottom of the 10th, leaving runners stranded at first and third bases to end the 3-hour, 30-minute contest.
The Colorado Rockies did not have key hits all night against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The ability to get the big hit at crucial times haunted Colorado all night. The Rockies had the leadoff runner on in every inning from the fourth inning on but could score on just two occasions with a pair of runs in both the fourth and sixth.
On the flip side, after scoring a pair of runs in the top of the sixth inning to take a 4-2 lead, Los Angeles did not have a base runner reach second base until the 10th inning when the Dodgers started the frame with a placed runner at second as per MLB extra inning tie-breaker rules.
Colorado Manager Bud Black noted his team did have some good plate appearances against Los Angeles pitching but bemoaned his team’s lack of getting the timely hit in the frustrating loss to the defending World Series champions.
“I thought we had some good at-bats,” Black told media, including Rox Pile, after the game. “There was some good at-bats but again the big hit eluded us tonight.”
With the game knotted at 4-4, the Rox left the bases loaded in the seventh inning when Charlie Blackmon struck out in a nine-pitch at-bat against Dodgers reliever Blake Treinen.
Then, in the ninth inning, a leadoff walk and wild pitch by Los Angeles reliever Kenley Jansen put a runner at second base with no outs. But, after attempting to bunt the runner up a base, Garrett Hampson struck out before a pair of flyouts ended the inning.
C.J. Cron had another big night at the plate with three hits, including a pair of run-scoring doubles. He had a leadoff single in the eighth inning but was left there with the next three Rockies hitters being retired.
Colorado tallied all four of its runs by getting seven hits against Los Angeles starter Julio Urias, who was seeking his 19th win of the season. Urias entered the game as the Major League leader in victories.
The loss spoiled a solid pitching performance by Colorado starting pitcher Antonio Senzatela and the Rockies bullpen.
Senzatela breezed through the first four innings before being touched for a pair of runs in both the fifth and sixth. The right-hander allowed seven hits and fanned three with no walks.
The Colorado bullpen then combined to allow just two hits and the Dodgers’ game-winning run (an unearned run) in the final four innings. Robert Stephenson, Tyler Kinley, Carlos Estévez, and Chacin teamed up to strike out four without issuing a walk.
The series continues Wednesday at 6:40 p.m. (Mountain time). Germán Márquez (12-10, 4.16 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for Colorado while Walker Buehler (14-4, 2.39 ERA) is slated to get the starting nod for the Dodgers.