The Dodgers found themselves wanting on offense in the opener of a three-game series, blown out by the Rockies 8-1 on Monday night at Coors Field.
The loss dropped the Dodgers’ lead in the National League West down to 1½ games over the idle Giants.
Los Angeles had runners reach base in every inning, totaling 13 runners on the night — five hits, five walks and three times hit by a pitch. But they were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position against Jon Gray, who struck out eight in his six scoreless innings, his second August home start against the Dodgers without allowing a run.
The Dodgers didn’t score until Andrew Toles tripled in the ninth and trotted home on a ground out, avoiding what would have been the club’s first shutout at Coors Field since Aug. 27, 2012.
The Dodgers have averaged 5.1 runs in 40 games since the All-Star break, but that includes just 10 runs over the past six games, of which somehow the Dodgers have won three.
It was the hit batsmen that were a concern for the Dodgers, specifically when Corey Seager was hit by a Chris Rusin fastball in the seventh inning, a pitch that seemed to clip Seager’s right wrist then also hit him squarely somewhere on his left hand, possibly his left wrist.
Seager, who was also hit in the right calf by Gray in the fifth inning, doubled over in obvious pain after getting hit on the hand in the seventh. He was visited at first base by trainer Nate Lucero and manager Dave Roberts, and remained in the game.
The Rockies didn’t have a hit with runners in scoring position against Kenta Maeda, but with David Dahl on first base after a single in the fourth inning Colorado got on the board with a two-run home run to left field by catcher Nick Hundley, his sixth extra-base hit in his last eight games.
It spoiled an otherwise solid start for Maeda, who threw 88 pitches in five innings, striking out six with just one walk. Maeda has a 2.12 ERA in three starts at Coors Field this season, and is just the second visiting pitcher ever to have three starts in Denver with two or fewer runs allowed in the same season, joining Clay Hensley of the Padres in 2006.
Colorado did have the game’s first hits with runners in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh, and had several, plating five runs against relievers Adam Liberatore and Pedro Baez, punctuated by a two-run double by D.J. LeMahieu, who (.34437) narrowly trails Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy (.34475) for the National League lead in batting average.
Nolan Arenado added an RBI double off the right field wall in the four-run frame, giving him 33 RBI in August. That is not his career-best month, still two behind his total in June 2015.
Maeda has allowed four runs in 17 innings at Coors Field this season. The rest of the Dodgers’ pitching staff has allowed 43 runs in 42 innings.
Rich Hill makes his second start as a Dodger on Tuesday night in the middle game of the series, another 5:40 p.m. PT start. Left-handed rookie Tyler Anderson starts for the Rockies, completing this battle of southpaws.
Monday night particulars
Home run: Nick Hundley (8)
WP - Jon Gray (9-6): 6 IP, 4 hits, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts
LP - Kenta Maeda (13-8): 5 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts