A night that should have centered on Joc Pederson’s fifth home run in as many games turned into an unwanted duel of diminishing bullpens Wednesday in Denver.
In these contests, last bullpen up loses.
And so the Dodgers, who had rallied for four runs against Colorado's relievers to take a two-run lead, saw it all come undone in a dismal ninth inning that was disturbingly devoid of closer Kenley Jansen.
All while Jansen was nowhere to be seen. There had been no mention of Jansen being injured. He had picked up the save in the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader, his first appearance since May 25. Jansen missed the first six weeks of the season after foot surgery.
The sudden turn of events in the ninth overshadowed Pederson homering in his fifth consecutive game, a club record for a rookie. It also ties the all-time franchise record, shared by four others -- Adrian Gonzalez (over two seasons), Matt Kemp, Shawn Green and Roy Campanella
That’s pretty good company for a 22-year-old playing in his first full season in the majors. On the night, he scored three times.
After a rain and hail delay of two hours and 10 minutes, the Rockies opened the scoring with a run in the first off Mike Bolsinger. Charlie Blackmon led off with a double and scored on a Troy Tulowitzki single. The Dodgers tied the score in the second on singles by Howie Kendrick and Grandal off right-hander Chad Bettis.
But then came Tulowitzki’s latest three-run homer. Tulowitzki loves playing the Dodgers. Who wouldn’t if they had hit seven home runs in a 27-game stretch against them like Tulowitzki has? He also hit a three-run homer against right-hander Yimi Garcia on Tuesday.
The Rockies were up 4-2 and for a while that’s the way it seemed it would end. Bolsinger left after six innings, having surrendered the four runs on five hits and three walks. He was hardly awful, but in the first time throwing his curveball in the high altitude of Denver, the right-hander who owned 0.71 ERA in his first four starts was not that effective.
Bettis left after six innings (one earned run, five hits, three walks), which was about three innings too soon. The Rockies’ bullpen started the night with a 4.62 ERA.
Left-hander Christian Friedrich took over and with one out Pederson and Turner singled. Gonzalez followed with another hit to score Pederson and pull the Dodgers to within one. Rockies Manager Walt Weiss had seen enough and called on reliever Brooks Brown.
Which didn’t exactly stem the tide. Brown walked Howie Kenderick and then gave up a two-run single to Andre Ethier. Brown walked Grandal and was done. He threw 14 pitches, four for strikes.
Pederson picked up his nightly homer in the eighth, taking Scott Oberg pitch out to center. Pederson, his confidence seemingly growing by the at-bat, has 17 home runs on the season. This one was another no-doubter, though measured at "only" 426 feet. He came into the game averaging a baseball-best 428 feet per home run.
The Dodgers got two more scoreless innings from right-hander Josh Ravin. The rookie got the win with his debut inning in the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader. This time he gave up two hits and struck out one.
Adam Liberatore threw a scoreless eighth, but he got into quick trouble in the ninth, giving up a leadoff single to Michael McKenry and a ground-rule double to Blackmon. The Dodgers went to struggling right-hander Garcia, who walked DJ LeMahieu to load the bases and Tulowitzki to force in a run.
J.P. Howell took over and Grandal missed his first pitch for the passed ball to allow the tying run to score. After an intentional walk to load the bases, Chris Hatcher came on to face Nolan Arenado, who lifted the sacrifice fly to left to score the winning run.