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Dodgers vs. Colorado Rockies: Takeaways from first series of the 2021 season

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Dodgers starter Julio Urías delivers a pitch during a 4-2 win over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

Julio Urías pitches seven dominant innings and Corey Knebel gets the save in a 4-2 win over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday. Here’s a recap of the four-game series.

The Dodgers, predicted by most experts to win the World Series, begin the defense of their title with a season-opening series against the Colorado Rockies.

Takeaways from the Dodgers’ season-opening series against Rockies

Dodgers starter Julio Urias delivers to Colorado's Elias Diaz during the seventh inning on Sunday.
(Justin Edmonds / Getty Images)

DENVER — The Dodgers stumbled on opening day but recovered to beat the Rockies the next three days to begin the season 3-1. So they head to Oakland on a three-game winning streak with Dustin May on tap to make his season debut Monday.

Here are a few takeaways from the four-game set at Coors Field…

Jansen looked dominant

Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen delivers against the Colorado Rockies on Saturday.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

The Dodgers’ bullpen was depleted enough Saturday, in their third game of the season, that manager Dave Roberts used Kenley Jansen for a five-out save to close out the team’s 6-5 win. After the game, Roberts said that wasn’t the plan for Jansen’s season debut. It was out of necessity.

Jansen responded with perhaps his best performance in recent memory. The closer touched 94 mph, but, most importantly, his command was precise and his cutter was moving.

“I think in spring we saw good things at times but just to see the 92s, [93]s, and [94]s, get the ball at the top of the zone, I thought was really good,” Roberts said. “I think in spring we saw good things at times but just to see the 92s, [93]s, and [94]s, get the ball at the top of the zone, I thought was really good.”

Bullpen questions otherwise

The Dodgers’ bullpen took a hit Sunday when Tony Gonsolin was placed on the 10-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation. Additionally, David Price, Jimmy Nelson, Victor González, and Blake Treinen all gave up runs. On the plus side, Corey Knebel was sharp in a clean ninth inning Sunday for his first save as a Dodger on Sunday.

Expect to see more McKinstry

Zach McKinstry’s inside-the-park home run for the Dodgers against the Colorado Rockies on Saturday.

Zach McKinstry followed his inside-the-park home run Saturday with a double in his first at-bat Sunday. The 25-year-old rookie utilityman drew rave reviews from teammates during spring training — AJ Pollock emphasized that McKinstry can “rake” — and will see playing time around the diamond.

Roberts said McKinstry, a 33rd-round pick in 2016, profiles as a left-handed-hitting Chris Taylor. He envisions McKinstry playing four positions — both corner outfield spots and both middle infield spots. He’s expected to start at second base Monday.

“He’s one of my favorites,” Roberts said. “So, I think that from the moment I met Zach and watched him work and play and conversations and dealings with coaches and teammates, it’s been fantastic. He’s a ballplayer. He’s smart, he’s talented. He’s very good on the team. And so, yeah, with what he’s done, the success that he’s had early, certainly excited for him and, yeah, he’s in there today, he’ll be in there tomorrow playing second base.”

Seager, Urías pick up where they left off

Corey Seager — our Dylan Hernández’s pick to win NL MVP — mashed Rockies pitching for the first three games before taking Sunday off. The shortstop is eight for 12 (.667) with four walks and two doubles.

Not a bad start for the impending free agent on the heels of the New York Mets signing Francisco Lindor to a 10-year, $341-million contract extension. A payday awaits for the reigning NLCS and World Series MVP.

On the mound, Julio Urías was dominant Sunday, pitching into the eighth inning for the first time in his career. Urías would be the No. 1 or No. 2 starter in most starting rotations. He’s the Dodgers’ No. 4 — for now.

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Dodgers defeat Rockies, 4-2, for a three-game winning streak

Julio Urías was about to pitch deeper into a major league game than ever before, in a ballpark that had given him nightmares in the past, and he couldn’t have looked more comfortable Sunday.

He whispered to himself. He coolly stretched. He dropped his arm slot. He was toying with the Colorado Rockies, exuding a quiet confidence, and they didn’t have an answer.

Fueled by a dynamite changeup, Urías picked up where he left off from his dominant postseason and held the Rockies scoreless over a career-high seven innings as the Dodgers beat the Rockies, 4-2, to take three of four games at Coors Field.

All my pitches were working well,” Urías said. “And it being in Colorado, I’m even happier, knowing how difficult pitching here is.”

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It’s 4-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth

Daza moves to center. Tapia to left. Mychal Givens now pitching for the Rockies. Edwin Rios, hitting for Nelson, struck out swinging. Betts popped to second. Pollock popped to first. Dodgers 4, Rockies 2.

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Rockies close gap to 4-2 after eight

Urias is still on the mound. McMahon singled to off of McKinstry’s glove. That’s it for Urias, as Jimmy Nelson will replace him. Great game for Urias. Daza struck out swinging. Raimel Tapia, batting for the pitcher, struck out looking. Owings walked. Hampson doubled to left-center, scoring both runners. There is activity in the Dodger bullpen. Story struck out swinging. Who will pitch the ninth for L.A.? Dodgers 4, Rockies 2.

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Dodgers take 4-0 lead on Will Smith’s homer

Robert Stephenson now pitching for the Rockies. Smith homered to left. He’s hitting .571. Muncy struck out swinging. Taylor grounded to third. Lux singled to center. McKinstry flied to left. The Dodgers have “three” homers in this series. One went over the fence, but was ruled a single after a baserunning gaffe. One went over the fence and was pulled back in for an inside-the-park homer. And finally we have a traditional homer. Dodgers 4, Rockies 0.

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Julio Urias is dominant through seven

Blackmon fouled to third. Cron grounded to short. Diaz flied to center. An outstanding outing for Urias so far. Two hits, one walk, six strikeouts on only 77 pitches through seven. Dodgers 3, Rockies 0.

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It remains 3-0 Dodgers after top of seventh

Carlos Estevez now pitching for the Rockies. Betts singled to short. Story’s throw skipped past first and Betts was thrown out trying to advance to second. Pollock struck out swinging. Turner struck out swinging. Dodgers 3, Rockies 0

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Dodgers 3, Rockies 0 after six innings

Daza flied to right. Betts had trouble seeing it in the bright sun. Sam Hilliard, batting for the pitcher, grounded to third. Owings doubled to right. Hampson walked. Story flied to right. Dodgers 3, Rockies 0.

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It’s 3-0 Dodgers after top of the sixth

Taylor walked. Lux forced Taylor. McKinstry grounded to second, Lux to second. Urias grounded to first. Dodgers 3, Rockies 0.

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Your first Dodger memory: Meeting Wes Parker

In our Dodgers Dugout newsletter, we ask readers to send in their very first memory of the Dodgers. If you haven’t already, I’d love for you to send me your first Dodgers memory, and it might run in an upcoming Dodgers Dugout and here on the blog. Include your name and where you live. And don’t send only a sentence. Tell why that memory sticks out in your mind. You can email me your memory at houston.mitchell@latimes.com. Thanks.

Mary Alice McLoughlin: My first real memory is being 8 years old: It’s 1967, I’m a die-hard bleed blue Dodger fan at a time when little girls weren’t supposed to be interested in baseball, and my big brother leads me down to the field level with my program and a pen clutched in my hand, and Wes Parker ambles over to give me an autograph. I was stunned into silence, and he was so nice, and so friendly, and I have been a fan of his ever since (if he’d played one more season he’d be in the Hall. Best fielding first baseman you ever saw).

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Julio Urias has given up one hit through five innings

Cron struck out swinging. Diaz struck out swinging. McMahon lined to short. Dodgers 3, Rockies 0.

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Dodgers don’t score in top of fifth

Chi Chi Gonzalez now pitching for the Rockies. Pollock struck out looking. Turner struck out swinging. Smith walked. Muncy grounded into the shift. Dodgers 3, Rockies 0.

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Your first Dodger memory: All-Star batting practice

In our Dodgers Dugout newsletter, we ask readers to send in their very first memory of the Dodgers. If you haven’t already, I’d love for you to send me your first Dodgers memory, and it might run in an upcoming Dodgers Dugout and here on the blog. Include your name and where you live. And don’t send only a sentence. Tell why that memory sticks out in your mind. You can email me your memory at houston.mitchell@latimes.com. Thanks.

Manuel Hernandez Jr. of Lakewood: My first Dodger memory is more related to visiting for the very first time Dodger Stadium back in July of 1980. I had just turned 6 and I’m not sure how but my dad got tickets to go see the All-Star batting practice the day before the All-Star game. I remember how the stadium looked huge. All the amazing mix of colors from the seats in combination with that sweet light blue that decorated the inside part of the stadium. The smell of grass and hot dogs, pretty much felt like a picnic for me. We were seated on the third-base side like 10 rows away from the dugout. The player I remember seeing was the blond headed Buddy Bell who at the time I believe played third base with the Texas Rangers. I remember there was a line drive way over his head that he threw his glove at it and it almost fell inside the web. It was just an unforgettable experience for me.

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Julio Urias is sailing along

Hampson grounded to third. Story lined to center. Blackmon popped to second. Urias is cruising. Dodgers 3, Rockies 0.

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Dodgers 3, Rockies 0 after top of fourth

McKinstry flied to left. Urias tried to bunt for a hit, but hit it just bit too hard and third baseman McMahon threw him out by a step. Betts flied to center. It would have been nice to see Betts take a couple of pitches to give Urias a longer rest there. This game is blazing along. Dodgers 3, Rockies 0.

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Dodgers home opener against Nationals still in play

DENVER — Friday should be a festive day at Dodger Stadium. The team is scheduled to raise their championship banner and receive their World Series rings before taking on the Washington Nationals in their home opener. Around 11,000 fans will be in attendance. It’s a day 32 years in the making.

After a COVID-19 outbreak within the Nationals’ organization forced Major League Baseball to postpone the team’s season-opening, three-game series against the New York Mets in Washington, there was concern over whether the Dodgers-Nationals series was in jeopardy.

The Nationals, however, will be allowed to play a shortened two-game series against the Atlanta Braves starting Tuesday after a recent round of testing found no new positives within the team, MLB announced Sunday night.

Four players tested positive as of Sunday. Seven other players and two staff members were in quarantine after being designated as close contacts. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told reporters a “majority” of the players would’ve been on the team’s 26-man opening day roster.

The Nationals and Braves will play two games at Nationals Park through Wednesday before the Nationals travel to Los Angeles to begin the three-game series at Dodger Stadium. The game the Nationals and Braves were originally scheduled to play on Monday will be made up at a later date.

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3-0 Dodgers after three

Ryan McMahon struck out swinging. Yonathan Daza stuck out swinging. Gomber singled. There goes the no-hitter. Owings grounded to short. Dodgers 3, Rockies 0.

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Dodgers don’t score in top of third

Turner walked. Smith flied to left. Muncy flied to left. Taylor walked. Gomber has walked seven so far in 2 2/3 innings. Lux grounded to second. Gomber has thrown 72 pitches in three innings.

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Greatest moments in Dodger history, No. 20: Winning the 1959 World Series

Readers of our Dodgers Dugout newsletter were asked a couple of months ago to vote for the 10 greatest moments in Dodger history.

We received 7,237 ballots. The way it works: You listed your moments in order, and I assigned points, with first place getting 12 points, second place nine, third place eight, all the way down to one point for 10th. Add up the points and we get a top 25. In addition to it already running in the newsletter, we will repeat the countdown over the next few days here on the live blog.

No. 20: Dodgers win the 1959 World Series (4,594 points)

Oct. 8, 1959: Larry Sherry, the Dodger’s winning relief pitcher, is surrounded by teammates, upper right.
Larry Sherry, the winning pitcher, is surrounded by teammates after the World Series victory.
(Associated Press)

The 1959 World Series matched the Dodgers, in just their second year in Los Angeles, against the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox routed the Dodgers, 11-0, in Game 1 and were leading, 2-1, with two out in the seventh inning of Game 2 when a little-known Dodger named Chuck Essegian, who had just 46 at-bats with the team, turned the Series around.

Walter Alston sent Essegian to the plate to bat for starting pitcher Johnny Podres. White Sox starter Bob Shaw ran the count to 3-and-1 when Essegian launched a curve ball halfway up the left-center stands at Comiskey Park, giving the Dodgers a 4-2 lead in a game they won, 4-3, to even the series.

Essegian hit another pinch-hit homer later in the series, but it wasn’t quite as dramatic. The Dodgers were leading, 8-3, in the ninth inning of Game 6 when Essegian, batting for Duke Snider, homered to left against Ray Moore.

Games 3, 4 and 5 were the first World Series games played on the West Coast and the games averaged more than 90,000 fans at the Coliseum. Game 5’s attendance of 92,706 is still a World Series record.

The Dodgers won the Series, 4-2, winning the title in only their second season in L.A. This was the opening of Times reporter Frank Finch‘s story on Oct. 8, 1959:

“Boyish-looking Larry Sherry, who began his baseball career as a second baseman for good ol’ Fairfax High, today earned a place in the front row of the majestic parade of pitching giants who hurled their way into World Series immortality.

“In his fourth appearance of the 56th series, the 24-year-old native Angeleno pitched 5 2/3 innings of shutout ball as the Dodgers crushed the Chicago White Sox, 9-3, to capture their second world championship.

“With homers by Duke Snider, Wally Moon and Chuck Essegian more than compensating for mighty Ted Kluszewski’s third round-tripper of the set, the Dodgers took the series, four games to two.

“A six-run spree in the fourth inning clinched the Dodgers’ most rewarding victory of all time.”

“You know, you kind of get labeled as a certain kind of player,” Essegian said not long after his career ended in 1963. “If you have success as a pinch-hitter, then you’re looked at as a pinch-hitter because you’re not good enough to play every day. It’s a hard tag to live down.”

In 404 major league games, Essegian batted .255 with 47 home runs and 150 runs batted in. His best season was with Cleveland in 1962, when he had 21 homers and 50 RBIs.

“For one reason or another, I just never played much in baseball,” Essegian said. “It just didn’t work out the way I’d hoped it would.”

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It’s still 3-0 Dodgers after two

Charlie Blackmon grounded to first. C.J. Cron struck out swinging. Elias Diaz flied to center. Dodgers 3, Rockies 0.

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Dodgers don’t score in top of second

McKinstry doubled off the wall in center. Urias sacrificed him to third. Betts walked. Betts was caught stealing. Pollock struck out. Dodgers helped Gomber out there. Dodgers 3, Rockies 0.

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This day in Dodger history: Dave Roberts’ first win

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It’s 3-0 Dodgers after one inning

Julio Urias pitching for the Dodgers. Chris Owings grounded to third. Garrett Hampson struck out swinging. Trevor Story grounded to short. Easy inning for Urias. Dodgers 3, Rockies 0.

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A michelada-spiced sausage and grasshopper ice cream. Here are the best new ballpark foods

The Michelada Sausage will make its debut at Dodger Stadium this 2021 season.
(Levy)

The 2021 MLB season officially came into full swing Thursday with a welcoming sight that was absent last season: fans. Although ballparks across the country are limiting the number of fans permitted due to state and county guidelines, it is a better sight to see actual people than cutouts with piped-in noise.

As fans are welcomed back, so are the innovative, creative and filling edibles that will surely make foodies want to come out to the ballpark or just stare in awe.

From Dodger Stadium to Marlins Park in Miami, ballparks are again introducing unique foods found only at their venues.

Here are some items that will make their rookie debut at ballparks this season:

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Dodgers score three runs in top of the first without getting a hit

Austin Gomber pitcher for the Rockies. Mookie Betts walked. AJ Pollock grounded to the pitcher, but Gomber threw the ball into centerfield for an error. Betts to third, Pollock on first. Turner walked, loading the bases. This is not how Gomber wanted to impress his new team. Betts scored on a wild pitch, the other runners also moving up a base. Will Smith struck out swinging. Max Muncy walked, loading the bases. Chris Taylor walked, Pollock scoring. There’s is activity in the Colorado bullpen. Gavin Lux flied to right. Muncy was thrown out trying to advance to third, but Turner scored before Muncy was tagged out. Muncy looked thoroughly befuddled on the play. Dodgers 3, Rockies 0.

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Zach McKinstry and Duke Snider have something in common

Zach McKinstry’s inside-the-park home run for the Dodgers against the Colorado Rockies on Saturday.

Zach McKinstry’s inside-the-park home run last night was his first homer in the majors. The last Dodger to have his first home run be an inside-the-park one was Hall of Famer Duke Snider, who did it on May 2, 1948.

Duke Snider
Duke Snider
(AP)

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Tony Gonsolin placed on 10-day IL, Dennis Santana recalled

Tony Gonsolin
(Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)

DENVER – The Dodgers’ bullpen was depleted enough Saturday, in their third game of the season, that manager Dave Roberts used Kenley Jansen for a five-out save to close out the team’s 6-5 win over the Rockies. After the game, Roberts said that wasn’t the plan for Jansen’s season debut. It was out of necessity.

One reason for the shorthanded bullpen surfaced Sunday morning when the club placed Tony Gonsolin on the 10-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation. Roberts said the right-hander’s discomfort was “lingering for the last few days.” His IL stint was backdated to Thursday. The earliest he can return is for Friday’s home opener against the Washington Nationals.

Dennis Santana was recalled to take Gonsolin’s spot on the roster. Santana was already with the team as part of their five-man taxi squad.

“He went out there and played catch today,” Roberts said before Sunday’s game. “Didn’t feel great. So, I think it’s just more of really being cautious with Tony, obviously being such a big part of our club.”

Roberts said Santana will pitch two or three innings out of the bullpen. Gonsolin was supposed to have a similar role after losing out on the fifth rotation spot to Dustin May.

David Price and Jimmy Nelson are also starters-turned-relievers tasked to log multiple innings every outing. Nelson made his Dodgers debut Thursday. Price made his season debut Friday. Both could be available Sunday. Roberts said he’ll only stay away from Jansen and Victor González, who appeared in the last two games.

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Walker Buehler talks about his first start of the season

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Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger sitting out today’s series finale

DENVER — The Dodgers will look to win their season-opening four-game series against the Rockies on Sunday without Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger in the starting lineup.

Both players were given the day off. The Dodgers beat the Rockies 6-5 Saturday without Mookie Betts and Justin Turner. Both players are back in the lineup Sunday against Rockies left-hander Austin Gomber, one of the players Colorado acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals in the trade for Nolan Arenado.

Julio Urías will make his season debut on the mound for Los Angeles. Urías will bat ninth, per usual, before the Dodgers head to Oakland to play three games with a designated hitter against the Athletics.

Manager Dave Roberts said Max Muncy will be the designated hitter Monday and Turner will DH Tuesday. Roberts said Wednesday’s DH is TBD.

DODGERS (2-1)

Mookie Betts RF
AJ Pollock LF
Justin Turner 3B
Will Smith C
Max Muncy 1B
Chris Taylor CF
Gavin Lux SS
Zach McKinstry 2B
Julio Urías P

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Greatest moments in Dodger history, No. 21: Sandy Amorós’ catch in 1955 World Series

Readers of our Dodgers Dugout newsletter were asked a couple of months ago to vote for the 10 greatest moments in Dodger history.

We received 7,237 ballots. The way it works: You listed your moments in order, and I assigned points, with first place getting 12 points, second place nine, third place eight, all the way down to one point for 10th. Add up the points and we get a top 25. In addition to it already running in the newsletter, we will repeat the countdown over the next few days here on the live blog.

No. 21: Sandy Amorós’ catch in Game 7 of the 1955 World Series (3,902 points)

The Dodgers’ franchise began in 1884 and, until 1955, had never won a World Series. It looked like 1955 was the year, as the Dodgers were leading Game 7 against the New York Yankees, 2-0. With that narrow lead, manager Walter Alston sent in Sandy Amorós to play left field in the bottom of the sixth because of his superior defense, sending Jim Gilliam from left to second base, with Don Zimmer leaving the game. That move saved the Dodgers’ title.

Billy Martin led off the inning with a walk, and Gil McDougald reached on a bunt single, putting runners on first and second with none out and Yogi Berra coming to the plate. The Dodger outfield shifted to the right (Berra was a left-handed hitter). Berra didn’t do what he was supposed to though, and launched a shot toward the left-field corner. Amorós ran what seemed like half a mile and extended his glove at the last moment, making a miraculous catch. He skidded to a halt and threw to the relay man, Pee Wee Reese, who threw to first, doubling off McDougald.

If Amorós doesn’t make the catch, both runners score and it’s a tie. Instead, there were two out with a man on second. Hank Bauer grounded to short to end the inning.

Pitcher Johnny Podres escaped trouble the next two innings, and retired the Yankees in order in the seventh for a shutout and the first World Series title in Dodger history.

Amorós played for the Dodgers until he was traded to Detroit on May 7, 1960 for Gail Harris, who never played for the team.

Amorós returned to Cuba after the 1960 season. He returned to the U.S. virtually broke, but the Dodgers quietly put him on their roster for the few days he needed to qualify for his pension. He died of pneumonia in 1992 at the age of 62.

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A closer look at today’s starting pitchers

Julio Urías, who got the World Series clinching save last season, takes on Austin Gomber of the Rockies.

A closer look at the two. First pitch is set for 12:10 p.m. PT.

Julio Urías
Julio Urías
(Norm Hall / Getty Images)

Julio Urías
Last season: 3-0, 3.27 ERA, 55 IP, 45 hits, 18 walks, 45 strikeouts.
Career: 12-7, 3.20 ERA, 1.251 WHIP
Career vs. Colorado: 0-1, 5.77 ERA in seven starts
Career in Coors Field: 0-1, 6.55 ERA in four starts

doesn’t want to face
Ryan McMahon, .500 (2 for 4)
Charlie Blackmon, .333 (4 for 12)

won’t mind facing
Garrett Hampson, .200 (2 for 10)
Trevor Story, .200 (2 for 10)

Austin Gomber
Last season (with St. Louis): 1-1, 1.86 ERA, 29 IP, 19 hits, 15 walks, 27 strikeouts.
Career: 7-3, 3.72 ERA, 1.413 WHIP
Career vs. Dodgers: 0-1, 10.13 ERA in two starts
Career in Coors Field: 1-0, 1.50 ERA in one start

doesn’t want to face
Justin Turner, .750 (3 for 4)

won’t mind facing
Cody Bellinger, .000 (0 for 2)

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Zach McKinstry’s inside-the-park home run helps Dodgers beat Rockies

Kenley Jansen got a five-out save.
(ASSOCIATED PRESS)

DENVER — The oddities were subdued at Coors Field for seven innings in the Dodgers’ 6-5 win Saturday night. A slab of plexiglass prevented first baseman Max Muncy from making a catch in foul territory in the sixth inning and a fountain delay slowed the game in the seventh, but there weren’t any confusing home-runs-turned-singles or appearances by large cats.

Then Zach McKinstry lifted a fly ball to left field in the eighth inning.

The ball was destined to land over the wall for the Dodgers’ first home run of the season — 26 innings into this series played a mile high — until Raimel Tapia jumped at the wall and pulled the ball back. It was a highlight play, the kind that should have saved the Rockies a run late in a tie game.

But Tapia didn’t realize he kept the ball in the ballpark. The Rockies left fielder was on the ground, writhing in pain, as the ball squirted away and McKinstry raced around the bases. Tapia realized his mistake too late, and McKinstry didn’t stop running until he crossed home plate for an inside-the-park home run.

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Kenley Jansen saves Dodgers’ 6-5 win over Rockies

Fuentes flied to center. Nunez fouled to first. Elias Diaz, batting for the pitcher, walked. Yonathan Daza ran for Diaz. Owings flied to center. Dodgers 6, Rockies 5.

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Dodgers head into bottom of ninth with 6-5 lead

Josh Bard pitching for Colorado. Muncy doubled. Beaty struck out swinging. Rios walked. Barnes struck out looking. McKinstry grounded to second. Dodgers 6, Rockies 5. Jansen will pitch the ninth.

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Kenley Jansen snuffs out Rockies’ rally in bottom of eighth

Victor Gonzalez now pitching for the Dodgers. Owings grounded to short. Hampson doubled to left. Story doubled to center, Hampson scored. Blackmon walked. And here comes Kenley Jansen, with Matt Beaty going to right field. Cron flied to left, McMahon struck out swinging. Dodgers 6, Rockies 5.

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Watch Zach McKinstry get a weird inside-the-park homer to give Dodgers lead

Mychal Givens pitching for the Rockies. Rios fouled to third. Barnes fouled to first. In another bizarre play, McKinstry hit a deep fly to left, Tapia leaped up, got his glove on the ball and pulled it back into the field of play. But he couldn’t hold onto it and it bounced away from him. Meanwhile, he fell and banged his head against the fence. McKinstry raced around the bases for an inside-the-park homer. So, the Dodgers hit one over the fence and don’t get a homer in the first game, then do it again, see it come back into the field, and get an inside-the-park homer. What a weird series. Tapia had to come out and is replaced by Chris Owings. Amazing effort by Tapia, who almost made a sensational play. Lux walked. With Seager batting, Lux stole second. The Rockies called for a pitchout but still couldn’t throw him out. Seager was walked intentionally. Taylor doubled to left, scoring Lux, Seager to third. Bellinger struck out swinging. Dodgers 6, Rockies 4.

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Rockies tie it up, 4-4

Blake Treinen now pitching. Zach McKinstry in left field, replacing Pollock. Buehler went six innings, gave up two runs and four hits while striking out four. Cron walked. McMahon grounded to second. Lux forced Cron at second, but made a high throw, slowing the transition to first, allowing McMahon to barely beat the throw. Which became important when Fuentes homered to right to tie the score. Nunez grounded to second. Sam Hilliard, batting for the pitcher, struck out swinging. Dodgers 4, Rockies 4.

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Greatest moments in Dodger history, No. 22: Cody Bellinger’s catch in 2020 NLDS

Readers of our Dodgers Dugout newsletter were asked a couple of months ago to vote for the 10 greatest moments in Dodger history.

We received 7,237 ballots. The way it works: You listed your moments in order, and I assigned points, with first place getting 12 points, second place nine, third place eight, all the way down to one point for 10th. Add up the points and we get a top 25. In addition to it already running in the newsletter, we will repeat the countdown over the next few days here on the live blog.

No. 22: Cody Bellinger’s catch in Game 2 of the 2020 NLDS (21 first-place votes, 3,447 points)

I’m going to let Dylan Hernández, and the words he used in the column written after the game, take this one:

The moment Cody Bellinger reached over the center-field wall at Globe Life Park on Wednesday night will be played over and over for generations. The image of reliever Brusdar Graterol throwing his glove in celebration will become part of Dodgers folklore.

That was the kind of play that saves a game. That was the kind of play that wins championships.

“It’s going to take a while to wind down from that one,” Bellinger said. “That’s postseason baseball right there.”

Game 2 of this National League Division Series was recorded as a 6-5 victory for the Dodgers to extend their lead in the best-of-five series to two games to none.

What the box score won’t show is how close the Dodgers were to disaster.

Literally, inches.

The Dodgers were holding on to a 4-3 lead when Graterol replaced Blake Treinen with two outs in the seventh inning.

Standing on first base was Trent Grisham, who was plunked by Treinen. Stepping into the batter’s box was Fernando Tatis Jr.

Graterol was promptly called for a balk that advanced the runner to second base.

His first pitch was his signature sinker, one traveling at 99 mph to the outer half of the plate. Tatis connected.

The baseball soared into the Texas night.

Bellinger retreated quickly to the warning track in center field and leaped. With the left side of his torso brushing up against the wall, Bellinger raised his right arm.

Instead of clearing the padded divider, the baseball dropped into Bellinger’s opened glove.

“In my head, I was like, ‘All right, that’s gone off the black screen or I’m going to get to the wall and maybe have a chance to catch it,’ and I just kind of turned it around as fast as I could,” Bellinger said. “I got to the fence and saw that it was robbable, so I just tried to time up the jump.

“It was weird, but I knew I caught it.”

Turns out he caught the 22nd greatest moment in Dodger history.

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Dodgers extend lead to 4-2

There was a delay while the fountains in center were mysteriously turned on. Probably that darn cat. Lux tripled to deep right. I don’t remember Lux being this fast. Tyler Kinley now pitching for Colorado. Seager singled, scoring Lux. The MVP chants are already beginning, and this is in Coors Field. Taylor struck out swinging. Bellinger struck out swinging. Muncy grounded sharply to first. Cron couldn’t come up with it for an error. First and second, two out. Pollock grounded to third. Dodgers 4, Rockies 2.

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Watch Austin Barnes’ single give the Dodgers a lead

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Jon Gray had “full-body cramping.” Ouch.

Jon Gray left the game because of “full-body cramping”, which doesn’t sound pleasant at all. Hampson flied to center. Story flied to center. Blackmon grounded to first. Dodgers 3, Rockies 2.

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Greatest moments in Dodger history, No. 23: Justin Turner’s walkoff homer in 2017 NLCS

Readers of our Dodgers Dugout newsletter were asked a couple of months ago to vote for the 10 greatest moments in Dodger history.

We received 7,237 ballots. The way it works: You listed your moments in order, and I assigned points, with first place getting 12 points, second place nine, third place eight, all the way down to one point for 10th. Add up the points and we get a top 25. In addition to it already running in the newsletter, we will repeat the countdown over the next few days here on the live blog.

No. 23: Justin Turner’s walkoff homer in 2017 NLCS Game 2 (25 first-place votes, 3,083 points)

Way back in 2017, it seemed as if the Dodgers were destined to win the World Series. They won 104 games during the regular season, several of them stirring comeback victories, and swept Arizona. Next up, the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs, who had defeated the Dodgers in the 2016 NLCS.

Dodger fans couldn’t quite relax, even after winning Game 1, because the Cubs were a good team. But Game 2 changed that, allowing everyone to take a deep breath and realize the Dodgers were destined to win the World Series (little did we know).

Game 2 took place on Oct. 15, the 29th anniversary of Kirk Gibson‘s walkoff homer in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.

The score was tied, 1-1, going into the bottom of the ninth. Reliever Brian Duensing was on the mound for the Cubs and walked Yasiel Puig on four pitches. Charlie Culberson bunted him to second and Cubs manager Joe Maddon brought John Lackey into the game. He walked Chris Taylor, then fell behind Turner, 1-0. The next pitch was a fastball. Turner unloaded and hit the ball to deep center. A fan caught it. Game over.

“I can’t even put it into words right now,” Turner said after the game. “It’s incredible. I was floating.”

“That’s the guy we want up there,” catcher Austin Barnes said.

“He’s probably the most clutch player I’ve ever played with,” Taylor said.

“J.T.,” Dave Roberts said, “is that guy for us.”

Turns out the Dodgers weren’t destined to win the World Series, because a team decided to cheat. But that doesn’t ruin this moment, the 23rd greatest moment in Dodger history.

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Dodgers score three in sixth to take 3-2 lead

Yency Almonte now pitching. Nice game for Jon Gray, who apparently tweaked something in his right leg in the previous inning. Seager doubled to deep right. Taylor struck out swinging. Bellinger grounded to first, Seager to third. Muncy singled off Fuentes’ glove, scoring Seager. Pollock singled to left, first and second with two gone. Rios was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Barnes singled to left-center, scoring Seager and Muncy. Buehler struck out looking. Dodgers 3, Rockies 2.

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A closer-to-normal road trip

DENVER — The Dodgers are on the road for seven games in seven days to open the season, beginning at Coors Field before flying to Oakland on Sunday night.

On the field, it’s a challenge playing at high altitude for four games before facing a playoff contender without a breather. Off the field, they’re drifting towards normalcy.

Almost everything was different about the 2020 Major League Baseball season. That included road trips.

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted the league to implement rigorous restrictions on traveling parties. Flights were spaced out without flight attendants. Players and staffers were confined to their hotel rooms. Interactions were limited.

The goal, obviously, was to avoid outbreaks. There were bumps along — and the end of — the road, but MLB completed the season.

MLB loosened the protocols this year. Players and staffers are allowed to dine outside. They can leave the hotel for a coffee or for a simple walk on nice days like a sunny Saturday in Denver.

“Denver’s a nice city,” Dodgers catcher Will Smith said. “It’s always nice to get out and walk around here. Just to get out of your room, get a little sunshine in, I think that’ll help a lot this year.”

MLB recently announced that rules can relax for clubs two weeks after 85% of their Tier 1 people — players and staffers in direct contact with players — are fully vaccinated. The Dodgers haven’t reached that threshold yet.

“It’s not total lockdown,” third baseman Justin Turner said before the Dodgers’ opening day game. “We are allowed to step out of our rooms as long as we’re wearing masks.”

The extra freedom is welcomed, but news of four Washington Nationals players testing positive for COVID-19 this week, forcing the postponement of their season-opening series against the New York Mets, served as a reminder that they aren’t yet in the clear.

“There is a little bit more laxness with the vaccines, and catching people off-guard,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Thursday. “But [director of player health] Ron [Porterfield] does a great job with us, our players, [to make sure] we’re 100% supportive of the protocols, and doing what we can to win the battle off the field to ultimately win the battle on the field. We’re doing it, but those are certainly reminders to stay on-guard.”

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It’s 2-0 Rockies after five innings

Nunez struck out swinging. Gray struck out swinging. Tapia grounded to first. Rockies 2, Dodgers 0.

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Still 2-0 Rockies after top of the fifth

Pollock struck out swinging. Rios singled to right-center. Barnes singled to left. Buehler sacrificed the runners over. Lux struck out swinging. I understand giving Mookie Betts a day off, but it would have been nice to have him up there. Rockies 2, Dodgers 0.

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Rockies take 2-0 lead

Story flied to deep center. Blackmon grounded to first. Cron singled to right. McMahon doubled to left, Cron scoring. Fuentes grounded to short. Rockies 2, Dodgers 0

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Still 1-0 Rockies after top of fourth

Taylor struck out swinging. Bellinger grounded to third. Muncy grounded to second. Gray has retired 10 straight. Rockies 1, Dodgers 0.

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Rockies take 1-0 lead on Raimel Tapia’s home run

Dom Nunez struck out swinging. Gray grounded to second. Tapia homered to right. By the way, the Dodgers have no home runs so far this season. Hampson grounded to second. Rockies 1, Dodgers 0.

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Dodgers don’t score in top of third, still 0-0

Buehler struck out swinging. Lux lined to short. Seager grounded to first. Time to bench him. Dodgers 0, Rockies 0.

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No score after two innings

Charlie Blackmon doubled to deep right. There goes the no-hitter. C.J. Cron grounded to second, Blackmon to third. Ryan McMahon popped to short. Josh Fuentes struck out swinging as Buehler does a nice job escaping a man-on-third, one-out jam. Dodgers 0, Rockies 0.

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Still scoreless after top of second

AJ Pollock struck out swinging. Edwin Rios flied to center. Austin Barnes struck out swinging. Dodgers 0, Rockies 0.

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You can follow our UCLA live blog too

Wondering how UCLA is faring against Gonzaga while following along on this Dodgers blog? Well, you can open a new tab and follow our UCLA live blog, going on now. Just click here.

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Easy first inning for Walker Buehler

Raimel Tapia grounded to third. Garrett Hampson flied to center. Trevor Story flied to center. Dodgers 0, Rockies 0.

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Dodgers don’t score in top of first

Gavin Lux struck out swinging. Corey Seager singled. Seager is six for nine with three walks this season. Chris Taylor fouled to second. Cody Bellinger walked. Max Muncy grounded to first. Dodgers 0, Rockies 0.

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Dave Roberts has a (slightly biased) prediction

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Gavin Lux impressing early

DENVER — Of all the plays Gavin Lux made Friday night, the one that stood out most to Dave Roberts wasn’t his defensive gem in the first inning or his triple in the fifth.

It was his infield single in the fourth inning.

Lux legged out the hit on a groundball to first baseman C.J. Cron. His sprint speed reached 30 feet per second, which is considered elite. It’s another tool in a skill set that rocketed Lux to the top of prospect rankings in recent years.

“It just adds that dynamic element and he’s got the foot speed,” Roberts said before Saturday’s game. “He’s shown the ability to get on base and his entire life he’s hit at the top of the order, somewhere at the top.

“So just the ability to leg out a single, turn a single into a double, steal a base potentially, all that stuff just adds to that dynamic, which we’ve known, Gavin has that skill set. It just makes us a better offense.”

The 23-year-old Lux batted seventh and eighth in the Dodgers’ first two games. He’s batting leadoff Saturday as the Dodgers give Mookie Betts a breather.

Lux enjoyed a productive spring at the plate after spending most of the offseason in Los Angeles working with the Dodgers’ hitting coaches to simplify his setup and swing.

“I wanted to be more repeatable and I think they agreed with that as well,” Lux said before the Dodgers’ win Friday. “So it was kind of everybody was on the same page with that. So that made it easier as well to kind of make that adjustment.”

Just as importantly, he appeared comfortable at second base. His success convinced the Dodgers to give him a “runway” as their primary second baseman.

“I think any time you get results, it’s always a nice confidence booster,” Lux said. “But...I don’t base how I feel on results. It’s more literally how my mechanics feel, how my swing feels, how I’m handling the at-bats. So really, for me, that’s where I’m putting my focus towards and that’s really it.

His emergence will allow them to move Chris Taylor around the diamond. Taylor started in left field Thursday and is starting in right field Saturday. He’s expected to also play second base, shortstop, third base, and center field this season.

“It’s great. I think it’s individually great for Gavin to have another good start,” Roberts said. “He’s playing great defense, taking good at-bats -- versus left, versus right -- and this is a guy that hangs in there against left, can hit the ball to all fields, which lends itself to being able to play every day.

“So, yeah, we’re going to give him some days off here and there. But certainly to allow for C.T. to move around the diamond, which he’s comfortable doing, makes us a better ball club.”

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Dave Roberts gives some pre-game thoughts

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Cat lover Tony Gonsolin talks about last night’s cat sighting

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There’s a big fan of the Dodgers greatest moments list (#humblebrag)

On our Dodgers Dugout newsletter, we are counting down the 25 greatest moments in Dodger history. The most recent one, which finished No. 9 in voting, featured Vin Scully and his final game at Dodger Stadium. Vin himself noticed:

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Wally Moon would have been 91 today

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Former Dodger Tim Crews would have been 60 today

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Today’s Orel Hershiser snack is.....

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Today’s starting lineup for the Colorado Rockies

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Just an off day for Betts and Turner

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Dodgers are supporting UCLA’s men’s basketball team

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A closer look at Saturday’s starting pitchers

Walker Buehler, who some consider the ace of the Dodger pitching staff, starts today against Jon Gray of the Rockies.

A closer look at the two. First pitch is set for 5:10 p.m. PT.

Walker Buehler
(ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Walker Buehler
Last season: 1-0, 3.44 ERA, 36.2 IP, 26 hits, 11 walks, 42 strikeouts.
Career: 24-9, 3.15 ERA, 1.028 WHIP
Career vs. Colorado: 5-2, 4.07 ERA in 12 starts
Career in Coors Field: 1-1, 5.12 ERA in five starts

doesn’t want to face
Raimel Tapia, .556 (5 for 9, 1 double)
Charlie Blackmon, .389 (14 for 36, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 2 homers)
Garrett Hampson, .375 (3 for 8, 1 triple)

won’t mind facing
Sam Hilliard, .000 (0 for 7, 4 strikeouts)
Ryan McMahon, .100 (2 for 20, 1 homer, 10 strikeouts)

Jon Gray
(Hayne Palmour IV/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Jon Gray
Last season: 2-4, 6.69 ERA, 39 IP, 45 hits, 11 walks, 22 strikeouts.
Career: 45-37, 4.59 ERA, 1.341 WHIP
Career vs. Dodgers: 5-6, 4.62 ERA in 15 starts
Career in Coors Field: 26-13, 4.66 ERA in 60 starts

doesn’t want to face
Cody Bellinger, .647 (11 for 17, 5 doubles, 1 triple)
Chris Taylor, .429 (3 for 7)
AJ Pollock, .353 (6 for 17, 4 doubles)

won’t mind facing
Austin Barnes, .200 (1 for 5)
Note: Current Dodgers are hitting .354 against Gray.

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An important update on the Coors Field cat (it escaped!)

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Mookie Betts, Justin Turner not in Dodgers’ lineup Saturday

DENVER — After fielding similar lineups with just a few tweaks for the season’s first two games, the Dodgers’ lineup Saturday against Rockies right-hander Jon Gray is quite different.

Mookie Betts and Justin Turner are both not in the starting nine. Instead, Chris Taylor will play right field and Edwin Ríos will start at third base.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts previously said he planned on giving some regulars a day off this weekend. He’s scheduled to speak to the media shortly so we’ll have that answer in a bit.

Gavin Lux will lead off in place of Betts. The 23-year-old second baseman batted towards the bottom of the lineup and went 4 for 9 with a triple in the first two games.

“Honestly, I don’t think I ever really hit too far in the bottom of the order so it’s a first,” Lux said before Friday’s game. “But look at who’s ahead of me. There’s a lot of really, really, really good players and really good hitters. So if I can be a pest at the bottom, that’s what I’m going to do.”

The Dodgers hope he can pest the Rockies at the top Saturday in support of Walker Buehler in the right-hander’s season debut.

DODGERS (1-1)

Gavin Lux 2B
Corey Seager SS
Chris Taylor
Cody Bellinger CF
Max Muncy 1B
AJ Pollock LF
Edwin Ríos 3B
Austin Barnes C
Walker Buehler P

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On this day in Dodger history

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Tony Gonsolin thinks Friday’s game was the cat’s meow

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Trevor Bauer flirts with no-hitter, gets plenty of support to win his Dodgers debut

Highlights from the Dodgers’ 11-6 win over the Colorado Rockies on Friday.

DENVER — One didn’t need a view of home plate at Coors Field to know that Trevor Bauer was dominating the Colorado Rockies for the first six innings of the Dodgers’ 11-6 win Friday night. His body language told the story

He stared down Raimel Tapia after striking him out to end the third inning. He released a roar and a muted Conor McGregor strut when Dom Nuñez whiffed on a curveball to conclude the fifth. The strut became more pronounced by the end of the sixth, after getting Josh Fuentes to flail at a slider for his eighth strikeout.

At that point, six innings into his Dodgers debut, the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner was crafting the second no-hitter in Coors Field history, a mile-high hitter’s haven opened in 1995. He was feeling himself. The Dodgers were enjoying a 10-run lead. Then a Coors Field Special erupted.

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Trevor Bauer shares an impressive feat with Hideo Nomo (no, not a no-hitter)

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Dodgers won’t go 0-162, defeat Rockies 11-6

Victor Gonzalez now pitching for the Dodgers. Nunez grounded to first. Hilliard struck out swinging. Tapia grounded to first. Dodgers 11, Rockies 6.

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Dodgers lead 11-6 heading into bottom of the ninth

Jordan Sheffield now pitching for the Rockies. Sheffield was originally drafted by the Dodgers, and the Rockies chose him in the Rule V draft in December. Matt Beaty, batting for Price, grounded to the pitcher. Betts popped to second. Seager, who is only five for seven this season, grounded to third. Time to bench him. Dodgers 11, Rockies 6.

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In the bottom of the eighth: No runs, one hit, one cat

Cron grounded to the pitcher. A cat ran onto the field. Jim Kaat? No. Catfish Hunter? No. An actual cat. McMahon singled to center. Hampson lined to short, Seager doubles McMahon off first. Inning over. Dodgers 11, Rockies 6.

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Dodgers take 11-6 lead after top of eighth

Carlos Estevez now pitching for the Rockies. Bellinger tripled to right. I didn’t realize Blackmon had such a weak arm. Muncy walked. Smith flied to center, scoring Bellinger. Pollock struck out swinging. Lux flied to center. Dodgers 11, Rockies 6.

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Rockies storm back in seventh to narrow Dodger lead to 10-6

Story singled to left, ending the no-hitter. Blackmon launched a homer to right. Cron walked. McMahon homered to right. You have to wonder if that time on the basepaths tired Bauer. I can’t believe they are leaving Bauer in the game. Garrett Hampson, batting for the pitcher, struck out swinging. David Price comes into the game, making his first career Dodger appearance in his second season with the team. And Nunez homers, making Price’s Dodger ERA infinity at the moment. Hilliard homered to right. Price’s ERA remains infinity. Tapia singled to center. Fuentes struck out swinging. Story singled off of Turner’s glove. First and second, two out. Blackmon struck out swinging and the inning is mercifully over. Dodgers 10, Rockies 6.

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Dodgers take 10-0 lead

Get this inning over so we can get back to the no-hitter! Smith doubled. Pollock singled to center, Smith to third. Lux struck out swinging. Bauer sacrificed, Smith scoring on the pitcher’s throwing error home, runners on first and second, one out. Robert Stephenson now pitching. Betts singled to center, loading the bases. Seager grounded to the pitcher, who threw the ball away for another error, Pollock scoring. Turner struck out looking. Dodgers 10, Rockies 0.

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The only no-hitter in Coors Field history was pitched by Hideo Nomo