DENVER — If the sale of the Dodgers closes Tuesday morning as expected, the team will have sent departing owner Frank McCourt out a loser.
With Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Juan Rivera recording consecutive outs in the seventh inning with the bases loaded of what was a three-run game, the Dodgers ended what was otherwise a spectacular April with a whimpering 6-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on Monday night.
The Dodgers finished the first month of the season with a National League-best record of 16-7, falling only one victory short of their franchise record for April wins set in 1974, 1977 and 1984.
The month was as productive for Kemp individually as it was for the Dodgers collectively.
Kemp hit his 12th home run in the first inning, a solo shot to the opposite field that hit the top of the 14-foot right-field wall.
Kemp enters May as Major League Baseball’s sole leader in batting average (.417) and home runs (12). He is tied with Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers for the most runs batted in (25).
Kemp became only the fourth player in major league history to finish April with a batting average of higher than .400, more than 10 home runs and more than 20 RBIs.
The others: Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants (2004), Larry Walker of the Colorado Rockies (1997) and Tony Perez of the Cincinnati Reds (1970).
Bonds and Walker won the National League’s most valuable player award in the years they did it. Perez is in the Hall of Fame.
“That’s pretty good company right there,” Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said.
Kemp said he was unaware of the history he was making.
“I’m just aware that we lost the game,” Kemp said. “I’m not worried about historical, statistical, any of that .”
The Dodgers had a chance to win it. Down 5-2 in the top of the seventh inning, they loaded the bases with no outs on a walk by Mark Ellis.
Kemp was struck out by Rockies reliever Esmil Rogers.
Rockies Manager Jim Tracy brought in left-hander Rex Brothers to face the left-handed-hitting Ethier, who has only one less RBI than Kemp. Ethier struck out.
Rather than have left-handed-hitting James Loney face Brothers, Mattingly sent in Juan Rivera to pinch hit. Tracy countered with a double-switch that put right-hander Edgmer Escalona on the mound.
Rivera, who has been held out of the lineup for the last five games because of a strained hamstring, popped up to shortstop Troy Tulowitzki in shallow left field.
“We didn’t get the job done,” Kemp said. “That’s it, man. They got us out.”
In the bottom half of the seventh inning, Mike MacDougal gave up a run on a single by Carlos Gonzalez that increased the deficit to 6-2.
The defeat didn’t temper Kemp’s enthusiasm about his team.
“We had a really good month,” Kemp said. “You can’t really ask for much better. We’ve been in almost every single game. Now, we have to turn the page and get ready for this next month.”
While pleasantly surprised by his team’s record, Mattingly said he expected the Dodgers to play as well as they have.
“I expected us to play like this,” he said. “I expected us to play close games. I felt like we were going to have good pitching that would keep us in the games. I felt like our bullpen would do a good job for us at the end of games. I thought we’d be a pretty good defensive club. I really kind of felt this is the kind of baseball we would be playing.”