Dodgers suffer first extra-inning loss of the season, 7-6
Say what you will about the Dodgers this season, but they had been a monster in extra innings. They sneered at teams in extra frames. They were suddenly, inexplicably, baseball's best.
They seemed to be at it again Saturday in Denver, when in the 12th inning they got an unlikely home run from little Aaron Miles and an even more unlikely inside-the-park homer from Trent Oeltjen to take a 6-4 lead.
But rookie closer Javy Guerra blew the first save of his career in the bottom of the 12th, and then the Rockies won it in the 13th when Mark Ellis doubled with two out against Blake Hawksworth -- the Dodgers' eighth pitcher -- and Dexter Fowler followed with a game-winning single.
The 7-6 Colorado victory was the Dodgers' first loss in seven extra-inning games this season.
And for a moment, victory seemed so close.
That put the Dodgers up, 6-4, but Guerra blew his first save in 11 attempts. He walked Fowler and, one out later, Fowler went to third on a single by Troy Tulowitzki.
Todd Helton, celebrating his 38th birthday, capped a 15-pitch at-bat with a double thay drove in Fowler and sent Tulowitzki to third. Miles made a diving stop of Eliezer Alfonzo's grounder, but Tulowitzki was able to come home with the tying run.
Hawksworth (3-3) retired the first two batters in the 13th but was unable to close the inning.
It made for a painful loss. It was the Dodgers' longest game of the season, taking 5 hours 7 minutes.
Back when they were still young, Ted Lilly started for the Dodgers and pitched very well, save for those usual Lilly foibles -- the solo home run and stolen base.
The Dodgers had jumped to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first against Esmil Rogers, who is sort of used to struggling early. He started the day with a 19.29 earned-run average in the first inning this season.
A single by Tony Gwynn Jr., Justin Sellers' ground-rule double and a one-out intentional walk to Matt Kemp preceded a two-run single by Juan Rivera.
But Lilly gave one back in the bottom half after walking Eric Young Jr. And then Young proceeded to do what runners frequently to against Lilly -- steal him blind. Young stole second and third, then scored on Carlos Gonzalez's single.
After Helton hit a solo home run to tie it, 2-2, in the second, the Rockies returned to their original scoring scheme in the third.
Young walked, stole second, went to third when Fowler flied out and scored on Gonzalez's single to put the Rockies up, 3-2.
Even though Lilly is a left-hander, runners continue to steal off him as though he is walking downtown with wads of Benjamin Franklins sticking out of his back pocket. He has given up 29 stolen bases this season, the second-highest amount in baseball.
Of course, he also has given up 29 home runs, which is tied for the second-highest total in baseball.
Still, the Dodgers gave Lilly the lead back in the fourth after Gwynn scored from first on a single by Sellers. After Miles got a hit, Kemp singled in Sellers to put the Dodgers up, 4-3.
Lilly left the game in the fifth because of a stiff neck, after givning up a two-out triple to Young and walking Fowler. Lilly told the Dodgers he woke up a few days ago with a stiff neck in Milwaukee and that the conditioned worsened as the game progressed.
The Dodgers then called on struggling Hong-Chih Kuo, who struck out Gonzalez to end the inning. Kuo left the game after striking out Tulowitzki and Helton to open the sixth. It was his first three-strikeout outing of the season.
The Rockies, however, tied the score in the seventh after Chris Iannetta led off with a double against reliever Josh Lindblom. Young then continued his big day, with his single scoring Iannetta.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Colorado Rockies' Dexter Fowler, right, is hugged by Troy Tulowitzki, left, after the Rockies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 7-6, in 13 innings. Credit: Barry Gutierrez / Associated Press