Colorado Rockies: 3 things to note from Los Angeles Dodgers series

Sep 23, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies left fielder Raimel Tapia (15) celebrates a two run home run in the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 23, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies left fielder Raimel Tapia (15) celebrates a two run home run in the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

For Lucas Gilbreath, the end to his streak of scoreless outings could not have come at a much worse time.

Max Muncy greeted Gilbreath by hammering the left-hander’s first pitch of the 10th inning for a two-run homer to provide the Los Angeles Dodgers with the winning margin in a 7-5, 10-inning victory against the Colorado Rockies Thursday afternoon at Coors Field.

The victory for Los Angeles (98-55) was the Dodgers’ second extra-inning win in three days against the Rockies (71-81) and allowed the defending World Series champs to capture the three-game series between the National League West rivals.

The Colorado Rockies bullpen was great against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday but not on Thursday.

Given a 5-3 lead on a two-run homer in the fifth inning by Raimel Tapia, his sixth homer of the year and first since May 21, Rockies manager Bud Black asked his bullpen to protect that lead for three innings after Rox starting pitcher Kyle Freeland went the first six frames.

Daniel Bard did his part by tossing a scoreless seventh. But Jhoulys Chacin was touched for a run in the eighth inning to make it a one-run contest. Rockies closer Carlos Estevez then retired the first two batters he faced in the top of the ninth before surrendering three consecutive singles and a run to send the game to extra innings knotted at 5-5.

Gilbreath (2-2) took over in the 10th inning carrying a streak of 17 consecutive scoreless outings, spanning 16.0 innings on the mound—the fourth-longest active streak in the Majors entering action Thursday.

Muncy’s 35th homer of the season abruptly ended Gilbreath’s scoreless outing stretch with the placed runner on second base (per MLB tiebreaker rules) scoring ahead of the Los Angeles first baseman’s clout.

As Rox Pile’s Noah Yingling wrote over a month ago, Gilbreath, who skipped both Double-A and Triple-A before making his MLB debut in May, has become one of the most reliable relievers for the Rockies. After an ERA of 10.13 in his first five games, he has an ERA of 2.76 in the 37 outings since then, including Thursday.

After Los Angeles moved in front 3-0 with a trio of runs against Freeland in the second inning, Colorado struck back quickly against Dodgers right-hander Max Scherzer.

A single by Trevor Story and the first of two singles by C.J. Cron preceded a run-scoring double by Sam Hilliard, who had three hits on the day. With two out, Freeland stepped to the plate and helped himself as a hitter by lacing a single to left field to drive in Cron and Hilliard and tie the game at 3-3.

Two innings later, Tapia’s blast off Scherzer—following a walk by Freeland to open the fifth—provided the purple with a two-run cushion.

“There it looked like he got a changeup that was sort of middle, middle in and crushed it,” Black told media after the game in describing Tapia’s homer. “He is capable of that, even though that sort goes away from his approach (with) that type of swing. But it’s in there, it’s in there. That was good to see. Obviously, that stretched our lead to 5-3. That was a big hit.”

Colorado hitters fanned 11 times, including three strikeouts by Garrett Hampson, against seven Los Angeles hurlers.

Here are 3 things to note from the Dodgers series:

1. The Colorado Rockies snap home losing streak

Despite dropping the series to Los Angeles, with their win on Wednesday night, the Rox were able to snap a string of five consecutive home losses—Colorado’s longest home losing streak since dropping six straight at Coors Field late in the 2019 campaign.

2. Sam Hilliard is rolling

Sam Hilliard’s three-hit game Thursday was his third multi-hit contest since Sept. 9, a period in which he is hitting .379 with two doubles, three home runs, and eight RBIs. He had a three-run blast, his 12th homer of the year, in the 10-5 victory Wednesday night.

3. Rox pitchers have helped themselves—at the plate:

Against the Dodgers, a pair of Rockies pitchers helped their own cause via the bat. On Wednesday, Germán Márquez slapped a two-run double to give him nine RBIs this season—tied with the Dodgers ‘Julio Urías for the most for an NL pitcher. Then, on Thursday, Freeland came up with his big two-out, two-run single during Colorado’s three-run second inning outburst.

With the Dodgers series complete, Colorado continues its homestand by taking on NL West leader San Francisco for three games. Game 1 with the Giants will be at 6:10 p.m. (Mountain time) Friday.

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Earlier this week, Black indicated that Peter Lambert, whose last MLB start was in 2019 and who has been recovering from Tommy John surgery, would start for Colorado. Alex Wood (10-4, 3.99 earned run average) is slated to get the starting nod for the Giants.

You can check out betting odds and lines for Friday’s game as well as game information here.