Dodgers rally twice, but lose on a walk-off HR

Dodgers rally twice, but lose on a walk-off HR

Dodgers rally twice, but lose on a walk-off HR
DENVER -- While the rest of the organization was celebrating back in Los Angeles at Wednesday's introduction of the new ownership group, the members of the Dodgers that actually play the game were, well, playing a game.

One of those Coors Field, no-lead-is-safe, you've-got-to-be kidding games that the Dodgers lost in the bottom of the ninth inning, 8-5, on Jason Giambi's three-run walk-off pinch-hit homer off Scott Elbert, with the Dodgers deploying the five-man infield that featured Andre Ethier at first base.

Yeah, one of those games. The kind where Clayton Kershaw allowed three home runs for the first time in his career and let a lead get away in the eighth inning.

The kind where the Dodgers took a 3-2 lead in the top of the eighth inning on Jerry Hairston's two-run double, the Rockies took that 5-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth on Carlos Gonzalez's second homer off Kershaw; the Dodgers tied it with two outs in the ninth on a two-run double by Dee Gordon, only to have the Rockies win it in the bottom of the ninth when pinch-hitter Giambi hit Elbert's second pitch 434 feet.

The Dodgers could have played a five-man outfield for Giambi and it wouldn't have saved this game.

"He got a good pitch to hit and did what he's supposed to do," said Elbert. "He got me."

Oh, and there was also that call by crew chief Tim Welke at first base.

Jamey Wright preceded Elbert, walked two batters and took the loss, pitching late because Josh Lindblom and Kenley Jansen were unavailable. Also unavailable was third baseman Juan Uribe and his sore wrist, which allowed Hairston to star offensively and defensively. He put this loss in perspective.

"They came back, we came back and unfortunately they came back, too," he said. "It was just a good game. Obviously, we lost, but the main thing is we're playing good baseball. We continue to put ourselves in position to win and we'll be fine."

Kershaw, who has a 5.91 career ERA at Coors Field, went 7 1/3 innings and only walked one, but couldn't keep the ball in the park.

"The team kept battling back, I kept giving up leads," he said. "That makes it hurt a little bit worse, for sure."

Running into their former manager, Jim Tracy, the Dodgers also ran into some strategy they hadn't seen. In the top of the ninth, after a leadoff single by Adam Kennedy and strikeouts of Tony Gwynn and Mark Ellis, Tracy issued the first intentional walk of the season to Matt Kemp, who had just been named Player of the Month for April.

That meant Tracy was putting the tying run on base, but he was doing it because Gordon was up next, having been inserted for defense an inning earlier.

"If I had the decision to do over, I'd have done it the exact same way," said Tracy. "I certainly would not have slept well tonight if in fact I would have let Matt Kemp hit and he hits the ball out of the ballpark. If they were going hit a homer in that situation, Dee Gordon's going to have to do that, not Matt Kemp. That's not on Rafael Betancourt. That's on me. It didn't work out."

Gordon tied the game with a two-run double, with third-base coach Tim Wallach aggressively waving home Adam Kennedy and then Kemp, who just beat Troy Tulowitzki's relay to the plate.

"We've got to take a chance there," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.

Prior to that, the pivotal play for the Dodgers was a missed call by Welke with two out in the top of the sixth inning, the Dodgers trailing by a run and a runner on first.

Welke, a 27-year veteran, ruled Hairston out after third baseman Chris Nelson made a diving stop of his grounder and threw to first base on a bounce. First baseman Todd Helton came three feet off the bag just to make sure the ball didn't get by, and Welke called Hairston out.

Mattingly bolted out of the dugout and charged Welke with his arms spread wide to demonstrate how far Helton was off the bag, then pointed at Welke's chest, but was not ejected.

Mattingly continued yelling at Welke and waving his arms as he headed back toward the Dodgers dugout, then stopped halfway and appealed to plate umpire Paul Schreiber to overrule the crew chief, believing at least one umpire saw the play correctly. But the original call stood with no conference by the umpire crew.

"He knows he missed it, I think [Todd] Helton told him," said Mattingly. "It doesn't matter, it's not here nor there."

The Ellises got the Dodgers on the board in the third inning off Drew Pomeranz. A.J. led off the inning with a walk, was bunted to second and scored on Mark's line single to left. Gonzalez throwing a strike to catcher Wilin Rosario, who tagged Ellis' arm as his foot hit the plate.

Gonzalez got the Rockies even, leading off the fourth inning with a home run to center field. Wilin Rosario then put Colorado ahead leading off the fifth inning, also with a home run to center field.

The Dodgers took the lead in the top of the eighth. Kemp led off with a single. One out later Kemp was singled to third by Ethier and Ethier took second on a wild pitch to Hairston, who then doubled home Kemp and Ethier off Rex Brothers.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.