On the last night of summer at Coors Field, with a lively crowd split evenly between purple and blue, the Rockies went ahead by two runs over the NL West-contending Dodgers.
But Los Angeles emerged with a 5-4 victory in 10 innings.
Colorado was unable to produce clutch hits — 4-of-20 with runners in scoring position — while closer Jhoulys Chacin gave up L.A.’s game-winning run on an Albert Pujols RBI single. The Rockies (70-80) continue their final homestand Wednesday in their second matchup of a three-game series against the Dodgers.
Colorado’s bullpen combination of Robert Stephenson, Tyler Kinley and Carlos Estevez was spectacular Tuesday with no runs allowed on just one hit. The Rockies also had an opportunity to go ahead in the seventh and ninth with no outs and a runner on second. They never came through.
“I thought we pitched well and had some chances because of our pitching,” manager Bud Black said. “But we just couldn’t get the big knock as the game unfolded, especially late in the game.”
Pujols put the game away with an RBI infield single off Chacin that scored the Dodgers’ designated runner in the 10th.
The night began with a pitching duel. Starters Antonio Senzatela and Julio Urias combined to retire a stretch of 23 consecutive batters to keep the game scoreless through three innings.
Garrett Hampson broke through for Colorado in the fourth with a leadoff single. He came home when Charlie Blackmon smacked a two-out RBI double off the wall in right. C.J. Cron followed it up with his own RBI double to put the Rockies ahead 2-0.
“We’ve faced (the Dodgers) a bunch this year and we know what they’ve got,” Cron said. “I don’t know if you can even say: Get to the pen early. It doesn’t really do much when they have the caliber of arms they have down there. It was a tough game.”
Senzatela ran into trouble when he gave up two-out singles in the fifth to Gavin Lux and Luke Raley. A Urias RBI single brought L.A. to within one run. Then Mookie Betts reached base on an infield single that tied the game.
Ryan McMahon ripped a double to deep left to lead off the fifth. He advanced to third on a called balk on Urias. But Ryan Vilade grounded out, Senzatela struck out swinging and Hampson flied out to end the frame. It came back to bite Colorado the next inning when a Max Muncy RBI double put the Rockies into a one-run hole. Los Angeles bolstered its lead, 4-2, on a Will Smith sacrifice fly that scored Muncy.
Colorado fired back in the sixth with two-out RBI doubles from C.J. Cron and Elias Diaz to tie the game.
Senzatela ended his spectacular stretch of quality outings in seven consecutive starts dating back to Aug. 11. He finished the night with four earned runs on seven hits over six innings. He issued zero walks and three strikeouts.
“In the fifth inning I just started making mistakes,” Senzatela said. “They capitalized on that. I think I threw too many pitches in the middle.”
Lambert decision looming. Starting right-handed pitcher Peter Lambert is nearing his MLB return since enduring Tommy John Surgery before the 2020 season. Lambert threw a bullpen session Tuesday.
“I’m going to check with Peter and the pitching coaches to see how he did and how he feels tomorrow. The next step will be for him to throw a game probably later in the week. Either here with us or in Triple-A,” manager Bud Black said. “I want to see how he feels physically. I want to know his emotional state coming back from all these minor league rehab assignments and whether he’s ready to pitch in the big leagues.”
Joe unlikely to return. Injured first baseman Connor Joe (strained right hamstring) was hopeful to return by the end of this season. However, the Rockies are now less optimistic.
“Connor is doing just OK. It’s going to be really close here to the finish line whether he makes it (back this season) or not,” Black said. “I spoke with him today. We’re probably going to make that determination in a day or two to see where he is physically. But, quite honestly, it’s not looking too good for Connor.
“The hamstring is still sore and whether it makes sense to push it or not is the question. The answer is probably not.”
Dodgers RHP Walker Buehler (14-4, 2.39 ERA) at Rockies RHP German Marquez (12-10, 4.16)
6:40 p.m. Wednesday, Coors Field
Radio: 630 AM/94.1 FM
Marquez is set to make his 31st start of the season and his second against the Dodgers. The right-hander faced LA on Opening Day and allowed one run on six hits (with six walks) over four innings. Marquez has been phenomenal at Coors Field with an 8-2 record and a 3.16 ERA in 16 home starts. He did not factor into the Rockies’ 9-8 win last Friday at the Nationals. Marquez struggled, giving up six runs on eight hits with two walks over four innings. Meanwhile, Buehler is a legit NL Cy Young candidate with top-three marks in the league for win percentage (.778), ERA (2.39) and WHIP (0.96). But he’s also rebounding from a poor start. Buehler took a loss at the Reds on Friday with three earned runs on six hits over six innings.
Trending: Entering Tuesday night, the Rockies have produced a team ERA of 4.63 in games played at Coors Field. That currently ranks fifth-best in franchise history.
At issue: Colorado began its final homestand Tuesday night after a 7-2 road trip to the Phillies (3-1), Braves (2-0) and Nationals (2-1). It marked the team’s first winning road trip of the season.
Thursday: Dodgers RHP Max Scherzer (14-4, 2.08) at Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (6-8, 4.50), 1:10 p.m., ATTRM
Friday: Giants RHP Anthony DeSclafani (12-7, 3.23) at Rockies TBD, 6:10 p.m., ATTRM
Saturday: Giants RHP Dominic Leone (3-4, 1.72) at Rockies TBD 6:10 p.m., ATTRM