LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers were able to break out of their offensive funk, but only briefly. They stopped scoring after an early outburst, and the Rockies seized the opportunity, rallying for a 5-4 win on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers have now lost eight straight and 13 out of their last 14 games.
After two weeks of bad baseball and offensive futility, the Dodgers broke out with a crooked number in the first inning against Rockies starter German Marquez, their first multiple-run first inning in 27 games.
Justin Turner hit a two-run home run, and Austin Barnes hit a two-run single, and the hungry Dodger Stadium crowd, yearning for something — anything — to cheer for, exploded after both run-scoring hits as if this was a playoff game.
Those four runs in the first inning matched the Dodgers’ total output of the previous four games.
The early 4-1 lead didn’t last, with the Rockies hitting four doubles in the fifth inning to plate four runs and take a 5-4 lead. That knocked Yu Darvish out the game early, and coupled with Marquez lasting only four innings this became a battle of the bullpens.
The Dodgers’ bullpen was up to the task, with Tony Watson wiggling out of the jam in the fifth, followed by scoreless innings by Pedro Baez — more on him shortly — Tony Cingrani, Ross Stripling and Josh Fields. That quintet combined to strike out eight while allowing just three to reach base in 4⅔ innings, and one was an intentional walk.
Cingrani in the seventh inning struck out left-handed batters Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez, and since joining the Dodgers at the trade deadline has throttled lefties to the tune of 1-for-17 (.059) with 10 strikeouts and no walks.
On offense the Dodgers had more chances to score, putting runners on base in every inning but the ninth, including a pair in scoring position with one out in the fourth. But they couldn’t push across another run after the first, stranding 10 runners on base on the night.
The Dodgers lead the majors in walks (562) as well as walk rate (10.4 percent), but of late the free passes haven’t been flowing. During the club’s stretch of 13 losses in 14 games, the Dodgers walked just 32 times, with a walk rate of 7.5 percent.
The four-run first inning was extended by a two-out walk from Joc Pederson, who eventually scored on Barnes’ single.
“When we’re at our best as an offense, we’re aggressive in the strike zone, and balls that are out of the zone we’re taking, and we’re taking walks,” manager Dave Roberts said. “We’re not walking as much as we normally do when we’re good. When you’re getting pitchers out of the strike zone, and getting traffic, you have a better chance to score runs.”
The Dodgers walked six times on Friday. Only one scored.
Though the Dodgers lost, again, Friday night wasn’t a total loss for the team. The Diamondbacks proved to be human, dropping a game to the Padres, 10-6 in Arizona. That knocked the Dodgers’ magic number down to 12 to clinch the National League West, the first day that number has lowered since Aug. 25.
LA leads Arizona by 10 games in the division, with 21 left to play.
Home runs: Justin Turner (19); Carlos Gonzalez (10)
WP - Chris Rusin (5-0): 2 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
LP - Yu Darvish (8-12): 4⅓ IP, 5 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts
Sv - Greg Holland (38): 1 IP, 1 strikeout