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Dodgers capitalize on big sixth inning to split series with Rockies

Los Angeles Dodgers v Colorado Rockies
Dodgers left fielder Joc Pederson hits a two-run single during the sixth inning of a 10-5 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.
(Matthew Stockman / Getty Images)

Before they exacted some revenge in their 10-5 win Sunday, the Dodgers emerged from two losses to the Colorado Rockies slightly stupefied. All season long they had, for the most part, avoided the self-induced ugly inning propelled by defensive gaffes. But they endured one on Friday and another on Saturday. Both fueled defeats. Both left the Dodgers puzzled, and confident they were just blips.

On Sunday, the Dodgers composed their own big inning -- a six-run sixth -- to overtake another Rockies outburst -- a four-run fifth -- and seal a series split with the second-place club in a game that plodded across four hours. They returned to Los Angeles after a 3-4 trip for a long-awaited off-day Monday following an 18-day stretch in which they went 12-6.

“For us to come out of here with a split and not lose no ground to those guys who gave it all they had, is a good thing for us,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

The Dodgers (57-29) sent 11 batters to the plate in the sixth inning. Edwin Rios, Enrique Hernandez and Russell Martin ignited the surge with consecutive singles off right-hander Chad Bettis. With the bases loaded, Bettis plunked Justin Turner, pinch-hitting in the pitcher’s spot, with a fastball on the left elbow to push a run across and tie the score at 4-4. Joc Pederson then delivered a two-run single before Matt Beaty lashed an RBI double to give the Dodgers a 7-4 lead.

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They tacked on another run on Cody Bellinger’s fielder’s choice groundball, which would’ve been an inning-ending double play had pitcher Jesus Tinoco not dropped the throw from second base at first base. Max Muncy capitalized on the gaffe with a run-scoring single to top complete the onslaught.

The day began with Kenta Maeda extending his status as an outlier at Coors Field. The right-hander entered Sunday with a 3.00 earned-run average in nine appearances at the mile-high ballpark, including six starts. The ERA ranked second among active pitchers with at least 30 innings logged. Adam Wainwright’s 2.21 is first.

“There’s something about this place that really doesn’t scare him at all,” Roberts said.

For four slow-paced innings, it appeared as though that number was going to drop. Maeda gave up one hit -- a triple to Tony Wolters in the third inning -- and issued two walks in the four innings. The fifth , however, began with trouble.

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Garrett Hampson and Wolters each delivered singles before Ian Desmond struck out to bring up Charlie Blackmon for the third time. And despite his strong outing, Maeda was pulled by Roberts rather than allow the left-handed-hitting Blackmon a third shot at the right-hander after 88 pitches. Maeda protested to no avail and exited after 4 ⅓ innings.

“I was ready to stay in, I was ready to fight through it,” Maeda said through an interpreter. “But I guess the manager had a different plan.”

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Before the game, Roberts said Julio Urias, the Dodgers’ left-handed long reliever, was ready to pitch three innings Sunday. But Roberts chose to insert Zac Rosscup, a left-hander the Dodgers designated for assignment in November before the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays designated him for assignment this season. The Dodgers signed him to a minor-league deal June 12 and called him up Friday, hoping he could get left-handed batters out. On Sunday, he didn’t.

Blackmon reached base on an RBI infield single and David Dahl lofted a fly ball that carried over the wall for a three-run home run to vault the Rockies (44-40) ahead 4-3. With that, Rosscup’s outing was over.

“A Coors home run,” Roberts called it.

Dylan Floro entered and allowed consecutive hits, but escaped via an inning-ending double play, keeping the Dodgers within striking distance to avoid their first three-game losing streak since mid-April. They traveled home with a 12-game lead in the National League West on a high note with six games remaining until All-Star break.

jorge.castillo@latimes.com

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Twitter: @jorgecastillo


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