Dodgers continue to stumble, falling, 5-4, to Rockies in 11 innings

That seemed inevitable, the way the Dodgers have been going of late, the way their offense has underperformed and their bullpen struggled in the late innings.

The Dodgers wasted a terrific start by Josh Beckett and fell out of first place on a wet Friday night when they fell, 5-4, to the Rockies in 11 innings at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers have now lost four of their last five games and have fallen half a game behind the Giants in the National League West, tied with the Rockies for second.

Their offense managed eight hits all night, and after Beckett went eight strong innings and Chris Perez pitched a scoreless ninth, it proved costly when the Rockies scored three times in the 11th off the Dodgers’ bullpen.

All the runs proved necessary when Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the 11th.

Jamey Wright, starting his second inning, gave up a one-out double to Brandon Barnes in the 11th. J.P. Howell did not make his 31st birthday a happy one, taking over for Wright and giving up a run-scoring single to Charlie Blackmon. He stole second and went to third on a Nolan Arenado hit.

Carlos Gonzalez bounced out to first, scoring Blackmon and ending Howell’s night. Brandon League came on, but walked Troy Tulowitzki and gave up what proved a decisive run-scoring single to Justin Morneau.

The Dodgers had jumped out to a quick lead when Yasiel Puig belted a one-out solo home run off Colorado’s Jordan Lyles in the first inning.

The Rockies, though, know a little something about the home run themselves. They lead all of Major League Baseball in homers and showed why in the second inning when Tulowitzki and Corey Dickerson hit solo homers off Beckett.  That left the Rockies with 31 homers in 24 games.

After the Dickerson homer, Beckett took control. He retired 17 of the next 18 Rockies, giving up only one hit to Morneau in the fourth inning.

The Dodgers tied the score, 2-2, for Beckett in the third inning after Dee Gordon doubled to second base. That is not some blogger typo. Gordon hit a grounder to the left of Colorado second baseman D.J. LeMahieu, who saw the ball flick off his glove and roll behind him to the edge of the dirt.

Gordon never hesitated, sprinting around first base and steaming into second well ahead of LaMahieu’s throw for an infield double. Puig followed with a single to score Gordon with the tying run.

Beckett held Colorado’s top offense in check the rest of his night. He retired 11 consecutive Rockies until LeMahieu singled with one out in the eighth, but Beckett did not surrender another run.

He is the unlikely first Dodger to pitch eight innings this season. He allowed the two runs on four hits without allowing a walk. He struck out two.

Beckett’s season got off to a belated start after off-season surgery to removed a rib and then having a clubhouse door slammed on his pitching thumb in the spring. Yet in his last three starts, he has pitched 18 innings and given up two runs on seven hits and seven walks, while striking out 17.

But he left Friday’s game again without a decision because the Dodgers’ offense could do nothing else with the 23-year-old Lyles.

Lyles, who came to the Rockies in the off-season in a trade for outfielder Dexter Fowler, went seven innings, surrendering two runs on six hits and a walk. He struck out four.

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