Pitching has carried the Dodgers all season, which made Wednesday night’s clunker a surprise. The usually reliable Walker Buehler and Alex Vesia had particularly rough nights in a sloppy 10-5 loss to the Rockies.
The Dodgers scored five runs for the ninth time in 10 games. But for the first time since July 30, they lost while scoring at least five, snapping a string of 25 straight wins in such contests.
Ten runs allowed are the most by the Dodgers since June 12, 88 games ago. In between, Los Angeles pitchers allowed 3.01 runs per game.
Neither team did much offensively until the fourth inning, just like the series opener. But Wednesday’s outburst was much more lively. The Dodgers plated three runs thanks to players who started September in Triple-A, with an RBI double by Gavin Lux and a two-run home run for Luke Raley.
Raley’s mother was in the stands, which made the home run — his second this season — more special.
“This is the first time she’s gotten to see me play in the big leagues,” Raley said. “Which was really awesome I was able to do that today, in front of her.”
The Rockies answered immediately against Buehler, with Brendan Rodgers homering to start the fourth inning. Then Buehler allowed four straight singles. In fairness, one of them was an eminently catchable pop fly behind second base that fell between a trio of Dodgers. But he lost all benefit of the doubt by getting thumped by the opposing pitcher.
German Márquez blasted a two-run double to the gap in right center to chase Buehler in the fourth inning, giving Colorado a 5-3 advantage. Márquez hit the ball 100.6 mph off the bat, one of nine balls with an exit velocity of at least 95 mph against Buehler, who only faced 18 batters.
Buehler threw 74 pitches, and induced only four swinging strikes.
“They got me out to a lead, and I couldn’t protect it,” Buehler said. “My job is to set the tone and get us into the game, and I didn’t do that.”
It’s been a rough September for Buehler, with a 7.32 ERA and 4.58 FIP in four starts. He had his second truly bad start of the season on Wednesday, with both coming this month. He also reached 195⅔ innings on the season, surpassing his 2019 — 195 innings in the regular season and postseason combined — for a career high.
That pop fly behind second base in the fourth inning was hit by C.J. Cron, who didn’t really need the help. He had four hits on Wednesday, including his second straight night with two doubles.
The second of those Cron doubles was against Vesia in the seventh inning. Earlier in the inning, Vesia fielded a grounder up the first base line, but dropped the ball in a collision while trying to tag Charlie Blackmon. After a long conference with Dave Roberts and a team trainer, Vesia remained in the game with a sore jaw. He walked two (one intentionally) and allowed two hits while recording only two outs.
Sam Hillard had the second of those hits, a three-run home run to right center that essentially put the game away.
Vesia allowed multiple hits for the first time since May 29, and his four runs allowed — all unearned on Wednesday, thanks to his error — matched his total for his 26 innings and 28 appearances since getting recalled in July.
Home runs: Luke Raley (2); Brendan Rodgers (15), Sam Hilliard (12)
WP — Robert Stephenson (2-1): 1 IP, 1 strikeout
LP — Justin Bruihl (0-1): ⅓ IP, 1 hit, 1 run
The Dodgers and Rockies finish things up on Thursday afternoon (12:10 p.m. PT, SportsNet LA), with Max Scherzer on the mound 33 days after allowing his last earned run. Left-hander Kyle Freeland starts for the Rockies. AJ Pollock is expected to start in left field, and Gavin Lux will man center for the first time in a major league game.