L.A. was down 10-0 before starting to chip away at deficit
By Owen Perkins
Special to MLB.com |
DENVER -- You could be forgiven for believing the Dodgers were done after four innings of baseball Thursday night.
With the Dodgers down, 10-0, in the opening game of a four-game series against the Rockies, the prognosis appeared grim. But the combination of the unpredictability of Coors Field and the reliability of the Dodgers made in a 10-7 loss was an encouraging sign headed into Friday's game.
"We had some late-inning wins in Pittsburgh, too," said Corey Seager, who doubled in the seventh and ninth to put the pressure on. "We just never stop."
Manager Dave Roberts was smart with his scorecard, inserting players and double-switching with an eye toward a comeback even when down by double-digits. He used two pinch-hitters in the game -- Scott Van Slyke who homered when he hit for starter Hyun-Jin Ryu in the fifth, and Yasmani Grandal, who drove a two-run double to left when he hit for reliever Chris Hatcher in the eighth.
"You're never out of it here," Roberts said. "It's just a credit to our guys. For us to get [Rockies closer Greg] Holland in the game was a good thing for us when you're looking at a four-game series. Our guys keep fighting."
The Dodgers started building momentum in the fifth and sixth innings, hitting starting pitcher Jeff Hoffman hard after striking out seven times in the first three innings. The late outs gave the Rockies outfielders a workout, and L.A. touched Hoffman for three runs before he left with one out in the sixth.
"You see a guy twice [in a game] and you start getting a little comfortable," said Cody Bellinger, who doubled off Hoffman to open the sixth and singled in the ninth. "You see what he has. We're just trying to put together good at-bats all game. We came up short, but it's all good."
One good thing was the chance to see three more Rockies pitchers, building familiarity that can come in to play into the weekend while keeping the Rockies relievers from getting too well rested.
"Keep at it and try to dig deep into their bullpen as much as you can after a game like that," Bellinger said. "Even when we're down 10-0, we know where we're playing, so we never gave up and we made it close."
Among the bright lights offensively was Chase Utley, who started his second consecutive game at first base and delivered his second multi-hit game, going 3-for-5 with a triple and an RBI. He's now hitting .375 in his 46 games played at Coors Field.
"He's going to continue to try and figure things out and compete," Roberts said. "He's worked really hard with the hitting guys and himself, and he's finding the barrel."
The Dodgers scored six runs on eight hits off the Rockies' bullpen -- a source of strength in Colorado's surprise first-place run in the National League West.
"It's just a testament to them over there," Hoffman said of the comeback. "They're swinging the bat really well right now, and it showed in the late innings. They weren't going to give up. They were going to fight to the last out."
"They put a good rally together at the end, but the damage was done earlier," added Carlos Gonzalez.
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.