The Dodgers' offense put up eight runs, and Michael Grove was serviceable for his first time out in Coors Field, but with the bullpen imploding in the sixth, the Rockies came back to win this one 9-8 on Wednesday night in Denver.
No lead was safe as both sides exchanged big blows.
The Rockies got out to a four-run lead by the end of the third, singling out Michael Grove with some soft contact. However, in wasn’t long before the Dodgers took control of this game, at least for a while, with a six-run fourth, giving them a 6-4 lead in the middle innings.
The inning began with a couple of walks to Will Smith and Miguel Vargas. Following a one-out single from Miguel Rojas, the bases were loaded, and as James Outman flew out to shallow left, the bags remained packed with Yonny Hernandez as the last hope of the frame.
The recently called-up utility man knocked a two-run single into the outfield, and cut the Rockies lead to 4-3, as the bottom of the order did some damage.
To cap off the inning, Mookie demolished a baseball for his team-leading 20th homer of the year, giving the Dodgers the lead.
The Dodgers’ lead and control of the game would be short lived, as right after Grove left the game, the Rockies jumped on the Dodgers bullpen, for a five-run sixth.
Victor González had an encouraging beginning to his outing, striking out Nolan Jones. However, the lefty proceeded to allow two of three hardest-hit balls on the night, on a single and double to Randall Grichuk and Jorge Alfaro, before loading up the bases with a HBP on Brenton Doyle.
With the bags full, and the lad at 6-4, Dave Roberts made the call to the ‘pen, bringing right-hander Nick Robertson to face the top of the order.
Robertson also didn’t have it, struggling with control, and walking Jurickson Profar to cut the lead to 6-5, before Ezequiel Tovar emptied the bags with a double to the right-center gap.
Elias Diáz would cap on the frame with an RBI knock, giving Colorado a 9-6 lead.
Dodgers inch back in the eighth inning but fall just short
Before this one was over, the visiting team still had one final stand left in them, trailing by three runs in the eighth.
Hernández cut the lead to 9-7 with a sac fly to drive in Jason Heyward, and Freeman cut it to one run with an RBI knock in a night that started with three strikeouts for the Dodgers' first baseman.
Trailing 9-8, the Dodgers had the bases loaded with two outs, but J.D. Martinez struck out as Justin Lawrence held on to retain the lead.
Grove survives Coors Field, rather adequately
Grove took the mound for this Wednesday affair, making his first appearance in Coors Field, and did so, following up Clayton Kershaw’s six scoreless innings of one-hit ball, suffice it to say, expectations were adjusted for the rookie arm.
The expectation was for Grove to perhaps not cover up the entire bulk of a starter, as an in-between step to a bullpen game. However, at the end of the night, the right-hander was able to keep the Dodgers in the game and cover five full frames, thus providing a bit of relief for a ‘pen which would need it, as it imploded in the sixth.
Grove left the mound allowing eight hits, and four earned runs across his five innings, but that line doesn’t do him justice, as he only allowed three hard-hit balls, leaning primarily on his slider (44 out of 78 pitches).
The damage came entirely on singles, on back-to-back RBI knocks from Harold Castro and C.J. Cron in the second and third, before Randall Grichuk brought in a pair with a single of his own to cap a three-run third.
Defensive play of the game
Back in the second inning when the score was still 0-0, Jonny DeLuca and Yonny Hernandez combined for a defensive putout as C.J. Cron attempted to go first to third on a single by Nolan Jones.
Jonny DeLuca's nice play saved a run. pic.twitter.com/tDVjClgzal— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) June 29, 2023
The initial call was safe, but a Roberts challenge reversed the decision.
Home runs: Mookie Betts (20)
WP — Jake Bird (2-1): 1 IP, 2 hits, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
LP — Victor González (2-3): ⅓ IP, 2 hits, 3 runs, 1 strikeout
Sv — Justin Lawrence (5): 1⅓ IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
The Dodgers and Rockies will play the series finale on Thursday night (5:40 p.m. PT; SportsNet LA, MLB Network), with another rookie making his first outing in Coors Field, as right-hander Emmett Sheehan will face veteran Chase Anderson.