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Dodgers offense leaves the door open for Connor Joe, Rockies

Old friend’s HR wins it for Colorado

Los Angeles Dodgers v Colorado Rockies Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

One day after the Dodgers showed the length of their lineup, Los Angeles scratched and clawed to score only twice in the offensive paradise of Coors Field. That opened the door for the former Dodger Connor Joe, whose eighth-inning home run off Blake Treinen made winners of the Rockies, 3-2 on Saturday night in Denver.

Treinen, the Dodgers’ best reliever, struck out his first two batters faced while pitching on a second consecutive day. Joe blasted a cutter from Treinen over the center field wall, evening the opening series at one game apiece.

The Dodgers managed just three hits in seven innings against Rockies starter German Márquez, and never more than one in any single frame. The right-hander only pitched to two Dodgers with a runner in scoring position, and got them both out. Márquez retired the Dodgers in order in four of his seven innings, allowing only one run while strikeout out five.

The 27-year-old right-hander has a 2.89 ERA against the Dodgers in 12 career starts.

Márquez retired 14 of his final 15 batters faced after giving up his only run, and getting him out of the game was a boon to the Dodgers offense. Los Angeles had four hits in the eighth inning off Alex Colomé, including two bloops and one infield single to bring home the equalizing run.

The first two Rockies runs scored with help from Dodgers defensive miscues, including Max Muncy booting a potential double play ball, followed by a wild pitch in the sixth inning.

That was the only blemish against left-hander Tyler Anderson, whose only three hitters allowed to reach base all came in the same frame. Anderson, a starter asked to pitch in relief at least to begin the season, struck out two in his four innings. He and Tony Gonsolin piggybacked for seven innings, allowing two runs, which anyone would take at most ballparks, let alone Coors Field.

Saturday’s loss dropped the Dodgers to 52-7 (.881) when allowing three or fewer runs at Coors Field.

What a grab

Justin Turner was the designated hitter for the Dodgers on opening day, but on Saturday he was in his usual spot at third base. When Charlie Blackmon’s foul pop in the fifth inning kept drifting into the visitors dugout, Turner stayed with it, balancing himself over the railing while making an incredible catch while fully stretched out.

For starters

Gonsolin had a familiar outing, one that looked superficially good with only one run allowed, but was also typically short at just three innings. Part of that is by design, with the Dodgers carrying 16 pitchers in the opening weekend after a shortened spring training.

There were positives, like Gonsolin averaging 94 mph on his four-seam fastball on Saturday, higher than his mark during 2021 and more than a few ticks higher than Monday in the Freeway Series. Manager Dave Roberts at the time said he wasn’t worried since it was only Gonsolin’s third exhibition outing, and that the adrenalin of a real game would induce increased velocity. He was correct.

Gonsolin struck out three in his three innings, but worked around traffic on the bases in all three frames, allowing six of his 15 batters to reach base. Longer innings were an issue last season for Gonsolin, who missed extended stretches with shoulder soreness and was limited to only 15 outings, averaging under four innings. A quarter of the innings he started in 2021 were at least 20 pitches. On Saturday, Gonsolin needed 23 pitches to get through the first, then 25 more in the second, and saw his day end after 62 pitches.

Opposite ends of the spectrum

Gonsolin allowed three singles in the opening frame, but nearly escaped without allowing a run. Ryan McMahon’s two-out single was hit to rightfielder Mookie Betts, whose strong throw home was in time to get Kris Bryant, but catcher Austin Barnes was unable to secure throw, which arrived at roughly the same time as a sliding Bryant.

Two innings later, Barnes got that run back all by himself with a 453-foot, no-doubter home run well into the left field seats.

Not only was it the first home run of the season for the Dodgers, but also the longest homer of Barnes’ career, 29 feet farther than his previous best, hit back in 2017.

Barnes had two hits on the night, including a single in the eighth that extended the game-tying rally.

Saturday particulars

Home runs: Austin Barnes (1); Connor Joe (1)

WP — Carlos Estévez (1-0): 1 up, 1 down

LP — Blake Treinen (0-1): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 3 strikeouts

Sv — Daniel Bard (1): 1 IP, 3 strikeouts

Up next

The Dodgers and Rockies finish things off on Sunday afternoon (12:10 p.m. PT, SportsNet LA), with Julio Urías making his 2022 debut, facing right-hander Antonio Senzatela for the Rockies.