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Rockies’ Big Inning Is Bigger

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Dodgers produced a big inning for the second game in a row Tuesday night against the Colorado Rockies.

And for the second consecutive night, that was all they produced.

This time, however, it was not enough and resulted in a 6-4 loss before 30,354 at Coors Field.

The Dodgers, who made a five-run first inning stand up for a victory Monday night, could not do the same after hitting three home runs during a four-run fourth that gave them a 4-2 lead.

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“We had some opportunities,” first baseman Eric Karros said. “We just weren’t able to cash in.”

Andy Ashby suffered his first loss as a Dodger, giving up six runs and nine hits in five innings. The Rockies scored four runs in the sixth inning on five consecutive hits.

The Dodgers are 4-4 on this nine-game trip that concludes today against a Rocky team that won its first game against a National League West opponent after eight consecutive losses. It was also the Rockies’ first win in their last seven games against the Dodgers.

“We could have taken a very solid road trip and turned it into a great one if we had just come up with a base hit in a couple of those run-producing situations,” Dodger Manager Jim Tracy said. “Tonight is another case of that.”

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Tracy shuffled the lineup to give left fielder Brian Jordan the night off, and just about every player involved in the switches produced.

Hiram Bocachica made his first career start in left field and batted second, Karros moved from sixth to fifth in the lineup and Marquis Grissom played center field in place of leadoff man Dave Roberts and batted sixth.

Bocachica, catcher Paul Lo Duca, and Grissom all hit home runs in the fourth against Rocky starter Jason Jennings (1-1) to give the Dodgers a 4-2 lead.

It was the Dodgers’ first three-homer inning since June 28, when Gary Sheffield, Shawn Green and Adrian Beltre homered in the eighth inning of a 7-4 victory at San Diego.

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Ashby, however, was not sharp.

“I was fighting myself the first two innings and pretty much all game,” said Ashby, who threw 92 pitches, 55 for strikes.

Ashby (1-1) was on the defensive from the outset as leadoff hitter Juan Pierre nailed him with a line drive on the right leg.

Ashby stayed in the game, but Pierre stole second, moved to third on Juan Uribe’s grounder to second and scored when second baseman Mark Grudzielanek could not come up with a broken-bat single by Larry Walker that sent the barrel of the bat flying toward second.

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The Rockies went ahead, 2-0, on Jennings’ run-scoring double to the right-field corner in the second inning, setting the stage for the Dodgers’ big inning.

Bocachica led off with a homer to right-center and, one out later, Lo Duca hammered his first homer into the left-field seats to tie the score.

Karros followed with a single and Grissom then hit a 412-foot homer to center for a 4-2 lead.

Ashby held off the Rockies for one inning before Colorado came back.

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Todd Helton singled to right to start the sixth and scored on a double by Greg Norton into the right-field gap. The Rockies tied the score, 4-4, on Todd Hollandsworth’s single up the middle. Jose Ortiz singled to left and the Rockies went ahead on Gary Bennett’s ground ball that spun wildly past Karros for a single that scored Hollandsworth.

Paul Quantrill replaced Ashby and got pinch-hitter Terry Shumpert to hit a ground ball to shortstop Cesar Izturis to start a double play, but Ortiz scored from third to make it 6-4.

The Dodgers had two men on in the sixth, but Jennings got Beltre to hit a ground ball that third baseman Norton turned into a 5-3 double play.

In the eighth, Green drew a walk from reliever Todd Jones and moved to second on Karros’ one-out single, his third hit of the game. Jones, however, got Grissom to hit a ground ball near second base. Uribe, the shortstop, scooped up the ball, stepped on the bag and fired to Helton at first to complete the double play.

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Jose Jimenez came on in the ninth for the Rockies and earned his third save when Beltre hit a fly ball to right and Grudzielanek and pinch-hitter Dave Hansen grounded out.

“In this ballpark you have a chance to come from behind,” Bocachica said. “We should have scored more than four runs. I don’t think we got satisfied, they started making better pitches.”


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