The old adage says no lead is safe at Coors Field, and the Dodgers saw both sides of that parable on Sunday afternoon. The Dodgers blew a 7-1 lead, including allowing five runs in the eighth inning, but then rebounded to score five runs in the ninth inning for a 12-10 win over the Rockies and a fourth straight series win for Los Angeles.
The Dodgers allowed the Rockies nine consecutive runs at one point, had several defensive misplays, and didn't have a hit from the third inning until the beginning of the ninth, but somehow found a way to win.
Down three to start the ninth against Rockies closer Jake McGee, the Dodgers got two hits and a walk to load the bases with one out. Then shortstop Trevor Story bobbled a ground ball by Trayce Thompson, ending any chances for an game-ending double play.
That scored one run, then pinch-hitter A.J. Ellis singled home another to pull the Dodgers within a run.
Thompson alertly went first to third base on the single by Ellis, then scored on a wild pitch to tie the game. Chase Utley gave the Dodgers the lead with a go-ahead double, then Corey Seager followed with one of his own for the 12-10 lead.
Joe Blanton entered after the Rockies had scored five runs to take the lead in the eighth inning, but needed just one pitch to induce a double play to get out of the inning. He became the fourth Dodgers pitcher since 1913 to throw one pitch to get two outs in a win, and the first since Alan Mills on May 17, 2000.
Dustin Garneau walked on four pitches to open the ninth inning against Kenley Jansen, his first free pass issued this season, because after all no lead is safe at Coors Field. But Jansen was able to recover with two strikeouts and fly out for his ninth save.
Things began to unravel in the fourth inning when, up 7-1 with two outs, Thompson misjudged a fly ball about as badly as humanly possible. Yes, wind was howling, but he went back on a fly ball by Gerardo Parra and with his back turned Thompson never saw the ball land in front of him for a gift double, bringing home one run.
A walk was then followed by a slow ground ball through a vacated second base by Dustin Garneau for one run, then a bunt by relief pitcher Chris Rusin that third baseman Howie Kendrick couldn't feel cleanly to make the game 7-4.
The only reason the Rockies didn't score more runs in the fourth was thanks to Puig, making his second must-see defensive play in three days, this one a catch while crashing into the right field wall that served as a suitable temporary dam to the Rockies floodgates.
Wood pitched into the sixth inning, but was pulled with no outs after allowing runners on the corners to open the frame. Pedro Baez came in, but his error on a sacrifice bunt pulled the Rockies to within two runs, then he walked a batter to load the bases with nobody out.
"Right about now if you're the Dodgers on defense and pitching, you want to get out of this inning with a tie game," Orel Hershiser said on the SportsNet LA broadcast. "It just has a bad feel the way this game has been going since the Dodgers knocked their starter out."
Amazingly, Baez didn't allow another run. He struck out Ben Paulsen, then got both Brandon Barnes and Trevor Story to fly out to right field to end the threat.
But given how the rest of the day went, that sixth inning felt like eons ago. The Dodgers escaped with the victory, but more importantly get to leave Coors Field, place they don't have to see again until Aug. 2.
The Dodgers didn't score in the first inning on Sunday, snapping a three-game streak of doing just that, but they made up for it with four runs in the second inning and three in the third.
Yasiel Puig had a two-run double, Seager had an RBI triple before his double later, and Utley scored three times.
Joc Pederson hit a solo home run but also walked three times, his first multi-walk game of the season. He tied a career high by reaching base four times, something he has now done six times.
The five runs in the ninth inning matched the Dodgers' season high in 2016, something they have done four times.
The Dodgers' last three wins while allowing 10 or more runs have been at Coors Field, including Sunday. The last such win elsewhere was The 4+1 Game, on Sept. 18, 2006 at home against the Padres.
The Dodgers' four-hour tour in Coors Field saw them use six relievers on Sunday, including two left-handers. But not J.P. Howell, who hasn't pitched since recording five outs on Wednesday. After the game, Dave Roberts told Alanna Rizzo on SportsNet LA that Howell wasn't hurt.
"With those guys over there, I saw some matchups that I liked," Roberts said. "I expect [Howell] to pitch in the Marlins series."
Lyles provides the spark
Done after just eight outs recorded, Lyles had just the fifth start with at least five walks and no strikeouts against the Dodgers in the last 25 years, and the first since Jacob Turner of the Tigers on Aug. 20 2013.
One of his five hits allowed was a drive off the wall by Wood in the third inning, though Wood was only able to get a single out of it. It was the first hit by a Dodgers pitcher since Kenta Maeda's home run on Apr. 6 in San Diego, snapping an 0-for-33 string with 18 strikeouts.
The Dodgers return home Sunday night, then start a four-game series Monday night against old friend Don Mattingly, who brings his Marlins to Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers will start with Ross Stripling on Monday night, up against left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, with both first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and second baseman Utley likely to get nights off in the opener.
Home run: Joc Pederson (3)
WP - Joe Blanton (2-1): 1 pitch, 2 outs
LP - Jake McGee (0-1): ⅔ IP, 5 hits, 5 runs, 1 walk
Sv - Kenley Jansen (9): 1 IP, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts