As grand experiments go, the legend of Nikola Tesla is safe. The Dodgers rolled out their latest reclamation project Wednesday, and sorry to report it did not go well.
He gave up six hits and four runs in the first three innings, and this time the Dodgers could not fully recover, falling, 7-5, to the Colorado Rockies to end a winning streak at six games.
The Dodgers had won 24 of their last 27 games on the road, so you could forgive them if this losing-away-from-home thing felt unfamiliar.
But sending out Volquez to pitch at Coors Field, and resting five regulars, did not hint that Manager Don Mattingly was taking this particular contest all that seriously. Such is the luxury when you start the day with a 13 1/2-game lead in the National League West.
Volquez made an odd habit of getting ahead of batters, only for them to come back with a hard hit. In the first inning he gave up a triple to Josh Rutledge and a double to Troy Tulowitzki. After a wild pitch, Michael Cuddyer’s fly to right field drove in Tulowitzki.
Todd Helton hit a home run in the second inning. In the third, a hit by Rutledge, a passed ball by A.J. Ellis, a poor defensive decision by Juan Uribe that left two runners on base and a Cuddyer single accounted for Colorado’s fourth run.
Volquez retired his last six batters. So there was that. He threw 75 pitches in four innings, not walking a batter and striking out four.
But if the Dodgers were privately hoping he would put together a strong-enough outing to push Chris Capuano out of the rotation, it just didn’t happen.
The Dodgers still might have come back to win if another reclamation project, Carlos Marmol, had not given up three runs in the seventh inning. Marmol had given up only four runs in 13 appearances for the Dodgers.
The Dodgers got three hits and a two runs batted in from Michael Young and three hits and an RBI from Uribe, but missed a prime scoring opportunity when they loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth inning and Scott Van Slyke, trying to check his swing, bounced into a double play.
But aided by an error by Rutledge on what should have been an inning-ending double play, the Dodgers scored three times in the eighth inning to pull to within two runs. They still had runners at the corners with one out but reliever Manny Corpas struck out pinch-hitters Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig.