Denver-- 12 consecutive victories is always an impressive feat, but when it's against one opponent, all you can do is tip your hat.
The Los Angeles Dodgers out-slugged the Colorado Rockies 12-8 in a thrilling division battle. Chris Taylor softly hit an RBI bloop single to take the lead in the ninth before Kiké Hernandez hit a dagger two-out, three-run home run on two strikes off of Rockies closer Wade Davis to finally put the game out of reach.
Ladies and Gentleman, this is what you call a slugfest.
Rookie Peter Lambert started the game for the Rockies, and it was clear the Dodgers were ready to treat him like a rookie. L.A. raked FOUR home runs in the first four innings off Lambert, killing any confidence he built in his last start. Walker Buehler was nowhere near any better as he gave up a career-high seven earned runs, thirteen hits, and four strikeouts through 5 2/3 innings.
Remember this is the same Buehler that struck out seventeen Rox batters last Friday night in Los Angeles, but this is what happens when you travel to the infamous Coors Field.
Los Angeles started the scoring in the second inning with a Cody Bellinger home run to left-center field on a fortunate bounce off of David Dahl's glove that went over the railing as he tried closing his glove. Next pitch, Max Muncy hit a towering flyball that just kept carrying into the stands for an instantaneous 2-0 lead.
The Rockies soon countered in the bottom half with a two-run RBI triple from light-hitting shortstop Garrett Hampson to tie the game. Daniel Murphy and Raimel Tapia each hit doubles to take a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the third.
Somehow, both teams kept each other from scoring for two innings, but the fifth inning was when the sluggers came to play. Joc Pederson led off the fifth with a single to right center before Alex Verdugo lined a homer to left field for a Coors Field special. Like in the second inning, the Dodgers hit back to back home runs to take the lead thanks to Justin Turner poking one out to right field. Peter Lambert's final line 4 2/3 innings, nine hits, five earned runs, two strikeouts, and four home runs given up.
Colorado has had trouble finding an ace throughout their franchise history because of the conditions of elevation and field dimensions, but let's hope Lambert gets it together.
With a 6-4 lead heading into the bottom half of the sixth, you would think Buehler would settle down and close the next inning out without trouble, but you would be wrong. Former UCLA star Pat Valaika walked after an 0-2 count and Garrett Hampson hit a single to put runners on with no outs. Buehler proceeded to throw an awful wild pitch before Chuck Nazty (Charlie Blackmon) smacked a triple to score both runners to take a 7-6 lead. Two pitches later, David Dahl hit a sacrifice fly to score Blackmon and the nightmare finally ended for Walker Buehler. Newly promoted Zach Rosscup finished out the seventh finally striking out Tapia on three consecutive sliders.
The Rox had a game plan before the game, and they were ready to execute it from the first pitch. They just were not going to let the Dodgers ace get comfortable and let him dictate the tempo.
After Colorado scored their seventh run we knew that wasn't going to be enough to stop this stalwart Dodgers lineup. Jairo Diaz, flamethrower from Venezuela, has had his troubles against L.A., to say the least. The reliever owns a 21.60 ERA against the Dodgers and once again they pestered him into giving up another soft home run, this time to Max Muncy after a lead-off walk to Cody Bellinger.
Although Yimi Garcia gave up a 479-foot missile to Ryan McMahon to tie the game at 8-8, he still stopped the bleeding and survived the inning. Garcia holds a 2.16 ERA in June so he was due to have an okay outing.
The top of the ninth inning rolled around with Wade Davis ready to get an easy 1-2-3 inning to give the Rockies a chance to snap this absurd 11-game losing streak to their NL West rivals. Ever since he signed with the Rockies for 3 years and $52 million, he's been ever so slightly god awful. On Friday night, that continued. 26 pitches later, the score was 12-8 and the four earned runs raised his ERA to a career-high 6.00. Hey Bud Black, it's time you put Scott Oberg to close the games now. Kenley Jansen closed the game out for his 23rd save of the year after he endured a little trouble after a single and error.
Buckle up guys, three more games of this.
Los Angeles improves to 56-27, now 13 games up on the Rockies in the National League West.
Hyun-Jin Ryu (1.27 ERA) starts tomorrow against Antonio Senzatela (4.91 ERA) at 8:40 EST.