That hurts: Dodgers let four-run lead get away in 9-7 loss to Rockies
The Dodgers seem to be collecting these things, the painful, haunting type of losses that can tear a team up. The devastating kind that can cripple a season.
They added one more Thursday night, a loss that seemed almost inexplicable considering how the game had been going -- Clayton Kershaw dealing, Matt Kemp absolutely crushing.
The Dodgers twice staked Kershaw to a four-run lead, but the Rockies used a five-run seventh to escape with an 9-7 victory that must have mystified Rockies Manager Jim Tracy as much as Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly.
Kemp was almost personally destroying the Rockies. He homered, tripled and doubled to drive in three, leaving him a single from hitting for the cycle. He struck out in his two other at-bats, including as the potential tying run in the ninth inning.
Meanwhile, Kershaw had shut the Rockies out through five innings. By then, Kemp had hit a solo home run in the fourth, and Andre Ethier had singled in another and Kemp tripled home two more in the fifth.
A 4-0 lead with Kershaw in control? As close to a lock as the Dodgers could hope. Practically a dream scenario.
But be careful what you wish for. The Rockies scored three times in the sixth, two coming off a Troy Tulowitzki double.
The Dodgers, however, came right back with three more in the seventh. Kershaw started the rally with his second single of the night, which in retrospect, might have been part of his eventual problem.
A Dee Gordon bunt single was thrown away for an error by catcher Jose Morales, allowing Kershaw to score. Also perhaps, seriously wind himself.
A Casey Blake double scored Gordon, an Ethier sacrifice fly scored one more, and the Dodgers were back up 7-4. All seemed in control.
Mattingly elected to let Kershaw start the bottom of the seventh, a decision he might like to have back. Kershaw loaded the bases without getting an out.
Then the bullpen imploded. Scott Elbert gave up a run-scoring single to Carlos Gonzales and walked Todd Helton to force in a second run. Mike MacDougal took over and fared no better. He gave up a two-run single to Tulowitzki, hit Ty Wigginton with a pitch to reload the bases and then walked pinch-hitter Jason Giambi to force in the go-head run.
The Dodgers were left 29-35, but knowing some losses stung more than others.
-- Steve Dilbeck