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Tony Gonsolin delivers quality start, but bullpen falters as Dodgers fall to Rockies

Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin pitches during the first inning against Colorado on Sept. 5, 2020.
Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin gave up two runs, one earned, in six innings and got a no-decision. The Dodgers’ 5-2 loss ended their six-game winning streak.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

Last week, with the end of the regular season suddenly a month away, the Dodgers made an obvious but difficult decision with winning the World Series in mind. Tony Gonsolin deserved a spot in their starting rotation and they gave him one. But a logjam made it more complicated than that.

To create room, they traded Ross Stripling to the Toronto Blue Jays and informed Alex Wood he would return from the injured list as a reliever.

The Dodgers, all but guaranteed a playoff berth for the eighth straight year, have the luxury to treat the final stretch as preparation. They opted to move two established veterans to give Gonsolin a shot.

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On Saturday, in his first start since he was named to the rotation, Gonsolin delivered another quality performance. But the Dodgers bullpen stumbled again and the offense couldn’t muster another late-inning comeback in a 5-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies.

The defeat snapped the Dodgers’ 11-game home winning streak, six-game winning streak overall, and dropped their league-best record to 30-11. It was Rockies’ second win in their last 19 games in Los Angeles.

The thermometer read 101 degrees when Gonsolin threw the game’s first pitch. It was a 95-mph fastball for a ball to Raimel Tapia. He was stingy with his next 74 pitches until he was removed after six innings.

Key plays from the Dodgers’ 5-2 loss to the Rockies on Saturday night.

The right-hander allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits across six innings. He tied a career high with eight strikeouts and didn’t issue a walk. Four of his strikeouts came on the slider, his third-best pitch.

Eight of the 14 sliders he threw generated a swing-and-miss. He tried to persuade manager Dave Roberts to let him stay in the game, but failed.

“I started feeling good at the end,” Gonsolin said. “I wanted to keep on going so was hoping he was going to let me roll out there.”

Victor Gonzalez relieved Gonsolin. The left-hander logged 1 2/3 scoreless innings before Blake Treinen was summoned with two outs in the eighth inning.

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Treinen secured the third out but couldn’t get another one when he took the mound in the ninth. The Rockies recorded three straight opposite-field hits against Treinen, capped by Nolan Arenado’s RBI single, to take the lead and end Treinen’s night.

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Colorado broke the game open later in the inning on Josh Fuentes’ pinch-hit, two-run double off Wood, who made his second relief appearance. The runs were charged to Treinen. He entered the night having allowed two earned runs in 17-1/3 innings this season. He gave up three in one-third of an inning Saturday.

“We’ve won a lot but losing, that sucks, and I hate being a reason for it,” Treinen said. “I’m just going to take tonight and process it and see what I have to learn from it.”

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Joe Kelly facing test

Joe Kelly is scheduled to throw again Monday after throwing off a mound Friday. Roberts said Kelly emerged from Friday’s session healthy, but his command “wasn’t where it needs to be.” The manager called Monday “a big test” for Kelly, who has been on the injured list with shoulder inflammation since Aug. 10.

“I expect the command to be more tightened up and the intensity to be ramped up,” Roberts said.

Kelly still must serve a five-game suspension when he comes off the injured list. The ban, which was reduced from eight games, was levied after Kelly threw a pitch behind Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman’s head in late July.

Short hops

Roberts said Friday “was a pretty good day” for Justin Turner. The third baseman, on the injured list with a hamstring strain, participated in baseball activities, but hasn’t run since suffering his injury Aug. 28. Roberts said Turner took groundballs on his knees, threw from about 120 feet, and took swings in the batting cage Friday. … The Dodgers added outfielder Jake Vogel, their third-round pick in June’s draft, to their player pool. Vogel signed for $1.6 million. … Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler has a minor ownership stake in Authentic, winner of the Kentucky Derby, the horse’s trainer Bob Baffert told reporters after the race. Buehler is a native of Lexington, Ky.

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Three takeaways on the Dodgers

1. The Dodgers need to win in Sunday’s series finale to avoid losing their first series of the season. Los Angeles is 11-0-3 in series this season.

2. Gavin Lux went one for three with a double, a walk, a strikeout and a run scored Saturday. The double was the rookie second baseman’s second extra-base hit in 26 plate appearances this season.

3. Joc Pederson went 0 for 4 with a strikeout, dropping his batting average to .184. The outfielder is one for 20 with one walk and five strikeouts over his last seven games.


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