After their defeat in the first game of the day’s double-header, Zack Greinke and the Dodgers looked to gain a split against the Rockies in the night cap. It was a wild ride with a surprisingly mediocre performance from Greinke and a game winning grand slam from Alex Guerrero giving LA a 9-8 victory at Coors Field.
Dodgers 9 13 0
Rockies 8 15 0
Ravin (W) Betancourt (L) Jansen (S)
Kiké Hernandez, facing David Hale in the first, made his presence known early. The second baseman, hitting second in the lineup, smashed a first pitch fastball over the right-center fence giving the Dodgers a quick 1-0 lead. First-pitch swinging would be one of many themes in the game.
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Not to be outdone, Joc Pederson took Hale deep to straight away center field (and then some) in the 3rd inning to extend the Dodgers lead to 2-0. After Hernandez singled to left field, Adrian Gonzalez joined the home run party, going to center-right giving the Dodgers a 4-0 lead.
The Rockies got on the board in the 3rd inning by going after Greinke on a couple first-pitch swings. Nick Hundley singled to left on a first pitch. Brandon Barnes then singled to left, moving Hundley to second. David Hale laid down a sac bunt, moving Hundley to third and Barnes to second. Charlie Blackmon flew out to deep center allowing Hundley to tag up and score, cutting the lead to 4-1. Barnes also tagged and took third. DJ LeMahieu then singled to center on his first pitch from Greinke, scoring Barnes and cutting the deficit to 4-2.
The Rox drew even closer in the 4th inning. Carlos Gonzalez and Nolan Arenado hit back-to-back singles before Greinke walked Ben Paulsen to load the bases with no outs. Nick Hundley, first-pitch swinging again, grounded to Hernandez who threw to Rollins for the force at second. The throw to first was late, leaving Hundley alive and allowing CarGo to score. 4-3 Dodgers.
Jun 2, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Kike Hernandez (14) celebrates with third base coach Lorenzo Bundy (49) after hitting a home run in the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
The Rockies tied up the game in the 6th inning when, with two outs, Nick Hundley (who finished 3-for-4 with 3 runs scored) doubled off the center field wall scoring Ben Paulsen, who had singled to right previously. Hundley took third on the late throw to the plate. He then scored when Brandon Barnes singled to right, giving the hosts their first lead of the game at 5-4.
The Dodgers answered in the 7th inning when Rollins led off with a walk and took second on a ground out by Chris Heisey. After Justin Turner, pinch-hitting for Greinke, grounded out, Joc Pederson tripled to center, scoring Rollins and tying the score at 5 apiece.
Yimi Garcia took over on the mound for Greinke to start the 7th. Greinke finished with an unspectacular 6 innings pitched, 10 hits and 5 runs allowed with a walk and two strikeouts. Like the Outlook Hotel in The Shining (also in Colorado), Coors Field gets the best of many a great men.
And it would get Yimi as well. In the 7th with one out, DJ LeMahieu singled to center. On a 2-2 count, Troy Tulowitzki then belted a 2-run bomb to center, giving the Rockies a 7-5 lead. That was the end of Garcia. He was replaced by Adam Liberatore who finished off the next two batters.
“He’s starting to look like Robert Redford swinging Wonder Boy.” – Orel Hershiser after Jock Pederson’s 472 foot bomb
The Rockies added an insurance run off Liberatore in the 8th when Hundley (at it again) doubled to left and came around to score when Brandon Barnes singled to center. Trailing 8-5, the Dodgers made one more attempt in the 9th to turn the game around.
Facing reliever Rafael Betancourt, Alberto Callaspo singled to center. Rollins followed that up with a single to center as did Chris Heisey. Bases loaded and no outs. The tension mounting. Justin Turner stepped up to be the hero but struck out. Joc Pederson, who played 18 innings and hit 949 feet of home runs today, took his swings and popped out to left.
Then Alex Guerrero, who came in as part of a double-switch in the 8th, with the game on the line in his first at-bat, took a 1-2 fastball deep to center for a lead-regaining grand slam. 9-8 Dodgers.
A one run lead in Denver is really no lead at all. But with Kenley Jansen on the mound it might just be enough. Troy Tulowitzki took his cuts early but struck out looking (on a generously called inside fastball). Carlos Gonzalez then doubled to right-center. Nolan Arenado grounded out to Rollins, pushing CarGo to third. Two outs. Ben Paulsen at the plate. Again, the tension rising to fever pitch, but Jansen stayed true to his immaculate form, striking out Ben Paulsen to win the game.
The Dodgers showed the same power in this game that has worked for them so many times this season. When Greinke didn’t have his best stuff, the bats picked him up. It wasn’t the Giants and it wasn’t the Cardinals, but it was another hard fought road win that we hope moves the team another tiny step closer to that ultimate destination in the post-season.
Alberto Callaspo throws an absolute rocket across the diamond. Defensively, he’s been a solid pickup so far.
Kike Hernandez’s defensive positioning: O-I-W (Outfielder, Infielder, Whatever)