Tulo's sixth-inning at-bat encapsulates missed chances

With two men on and one out, Rockies shortstop hits into double play

Tulo's sixth-inning at-bat encapsulates missed chances

LOS ANGELES -- The Rockies had their chance Sunday afternoon in the sixth against Dodgers starter Brandon McCarthy -- no outs, two on, with stars Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki hitting and a two-run deficit.

But Gonzalez managed just a pop fly to shortstop, and Tulowitzki -- after fouling off a couple of rare pitches up in the zone during a seven-pitch at-bat -- grounded to McCarthy to start a double play. The Rockies wound up losing, 7-0.

"That really was our only chance," Tulowitzki said.

The Rockies cashed in on a limited number of chances in San Francisco, where they swept the defending World Series champs to start the road trip. But in three games at Dodger Stadium, the Rockies didn't execute at anywhere near the level it takes to win -- especially on the road.

The Rockies will finally head home for their first extended homestand of the season, for seven total games against the Padres (four) and the Giants (three). The Rockies traditionally play well at home, where scoring chances tend to be more plentiful, so missed opportunities can be erased quickly.

"You've got to play tight, clean games against these guys," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "You're not going to have many opportunities against this pitching staff and you've got to cash in if you do. But we're going to go home and get on a roll."

The Rockies gave themselves more chances in the first two losses, against Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, than they did Sunday against McCarthy, who displayed increased fastball velocity over what the Rockies had seen previously. McCarthy fanned six and held the Rockies to three hits and two walks in six innings.

Rockies starter Eddie Butler overcame a two-run, three-hit second to keep the Dodgers' lead at 2-0. Butler battled Adrian Gonzalez, whose hit streak ended at 13 games, to a pop foul to the catcher to end the bottom of the fifth. Weiss, believing Butler had "emptied the tank" and understanding the Rockies needed offense, sent pinch-hitter Rafael Ynoa to replace Butler to lead off the sixth.

Butler escapes a jam

Ynoa worked a walk and Charlie Blackmon (two hits) singled Ynoa to third. Trying at the very least to hit a fly ball to bring in one run, Gonzalez popped up to the outfield grass.

Tulowitzki, who noted that McCarthy's fastball has gone from 90-91 mph last season with the D-backs to 95 Sunday, had the pitch he wanted -- a 96-mph fastball with the count 2-2 -- but fouled it back.

"I had a couple pitches I fouled off," Tulowitzki said. "But the guy was throwing 95-mph sinkers. He has a cutter off that, he has a good curveball. You're battling up there, trying to put the ball in play.

"I just put the ball in play to the wrong spot."

After that, Scott Oberg, who entered after two scoreless outings after being called up from Triple-A Albuquerque, yielded homers to Howie Kendrick, Scott Van Slyke and Joc Pederson in the sixth.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.