LOS ANGELES -- Any successful player known for his cool-headedness has a fire that folks overlook. DJ LeMahieu used his to burn Dodgers star pitcher Zack Greinke for a seventh-inning, two-run homer in the Rockies' 6-3 loss Saturday night at Dodger Stadium.
"I knew I was probably his last batter, and I didn't want him to leave the game having a good taste in his mouth -- that's really all I was thinking," said LeMahieu, who, with the homer, has hit safely in 10 of the team's 11 games.
But LeMahieu went home with the bitterness of knowing a rare miscue was potentially costly. One of the game's premier second basemen, he bounced a throw that cost the Rockies a third-inning double play that might have made the night easier, maybe even made victory possible.
The Dodgers loaded the bases with one out against struggling starter Jordan Lyles, who was having difficulty forcing ground balls -- his M.O. He got one from Adrian Gonzalez, but LeMahieu bounced the relay throw and first baseman Justin Morneau couldn't make the backhand scoop. The resulting run gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead and the Rockies never caught them.
"We've got to play good, clean baseball to win on the road," LeMahieu said. "It helps a lot if we can get out of the inning. It happens. You move on. Hopefully next time in that situation -- we turn that 99 out of 100 times -- so we'll get them next time."
LeMahieu, who has a .463 batting average, wasn't the only Rockies player who left feeling he could have done a little more to win the game. Lyles left trailing just 4-3, thanks to LeMahieu's homer, but he walked five in six innings. In the seventh, dependable righty reliever Brooks Brown gave up the first two runs off him since Aug. 26.
Offensively, the Rockies were 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position. The hits were Troy Tulowitzki's first-inning RBI single, after Charlie Blackmon's double, and LeMahieu's homer three batters after Nolan Arenado's double. Another clutch hit or two against Greinke could have made a difference.
After winning their first six road games, the Rockies have dropped the first two at Dodger Stadium..
The Rockies are five games into a stretch of 25 games in the National League West. LeMahieu realizes he and his mates must be consistently clutch, even if the opposing pitchers are as decorated as Clayton Kershaw and Greinke.
"We battled, we had some opportunities," LeMahieu said. "Going forward, we're going to face these guys multiple times this year. We'll be ready."