Descalso thwarts shutout with home run

Rockies infielder a bright spot amid offensive woes

Descalso thwarts shutout with home run

LOS ANGELES -- The Rockies don't hit at Dodger Stadium, but they were saved from a shutout in their 4-1 loss Sunday by Daniel Descalso -- who hits homers there like he hits them nowhere else.

Descalso's seventh-inning shot to right off reliever Casey Fien was the 17th of his career. Three of them have come at Dodger Stadium. That's more than he hit at Busch Stadium even though he played for the Cardinals from 2010 to 2014. It's more than he has at Coors Field, although he signed with the Rockies before last season.

It was little consolation for the Rockies, who suffered a three-game sweep during which they scored two runs (on Nolan Arenado's ninth-inning solo shot Saturday night and Descalso's homer Sunday) and struck out a whopping 41 times -- one fewer than the club's three-game series record.

"You run into good pitching and they're going to shut you down; that happens over the course of the year, but we've got to do a better job as an offense of making some adjustments and being able to score more than two runs over the course of a three-game series," Descalso said.

But in the grand scheme of the season, the homer was the continuation of a solid season for Descalso, 29, who signed a two-year, $3.6 contract with the Rockies before the 2015 season.

Descalso never found his offensive footing last year, when he hit .205 in 101 games, while playing mostly at shortstop. But this year, after missing the first 34 games while recovering from a left hand fracture he sustained when hit by a pitch in Spring Training, Descalso has hit .367 in 30 games while playing first base (as he did Sunday), second base and third base, and being a lefty bat off the bench (5-for-13, .385).

Descalso has played well during the past week, when injuries limited the availability of middle infielders Trevor Story (bruised middle finger) and DJ LeMahieu (left knee contusion).

"Hitting is timing-based, and it can come and go very quickly," Descalso said. "But they've done a good job of mixing me in there. When guys do get banged up, there are opportunities for other people. Just try to be ready to take advantage of those opportunities."

The loss dropped the Rockies to seven games below .500, which is tied for their lowest point. But this is also a team that has had a couple runs of success, so there is the angst of a club that believes consistent winning is within reach. Descalso, who has a World Series ring with the Cardinals, was signed in part to help the team develop winning habits.

"We've shown flashes of being a very good team," Descalso said. "We haven't been able to sustain that for longer periods of time but you definitely see the talent level here. We still have a ways to go before we're that consistent winning team."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.