Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kershaw put a cold Rockies lineup on ice Saturday night and Colorado’s late-season slide continued in a 6-1 defeat at Coors Field.
Kershaw lasted seven innings with six strikeouts, stumping Nolan Arenado (0-3) and Charlie Blackmon (0-3), while the Rockies’ bullpen was unable to protect an otherwise solid start for Chi Chi Gonzalez.
The Rockies slipped to 22-29 on the season and have lost nine of their last 11 games. It will take an improbable winning streak over Colorado’s final nine games to even sniff playoff contention in a crowded wild-card race.
On Saturday night, leadoff man Raimel Tapia did his best to jumpstart Colorado’s slumbering offense after the Dodgers took an early 2-0 lead. Tapia roped a first-inning double and stole second base — his sixth on the year — and an Arenado groundout brought Tapia home to trail 2-1.
Gonzalez managed to rebound on Saturday from his worst, and most bizarre, start of the year for Colorado. His previous outing was a 1/3-inning debacle on Sept. 8 at the Padres with three walks, one strikeout, and a hit batsman before getting pulled from the game.
Gonzalez showcased newfound poise against the Dodgers. A first-inning triple from LA utilityman Chis Taylor scored two runs, but Gonzalez retired 10 of the next 12 Dodgers he faced. Taylor got the best of Gonzalez again in the fifth, with a solo homer to center, but the Rockies’ 28-year-old right-hander proved mostly effective on the mound.
The Rockies, trailing 3-1, turned to the bullpen with Tyler Kinley and Mychal Givens. Kinley kept LA off the scoreboard in the sixth. Givens imploded in the seventh.
His second pitch of the night was blasted by AJ Pollock for a home run to put the Dodgers up 4-1. A wild pitch scored LA’s Austin Barnes and a Givens throwing error on a pickoff attempt allowed Mookie Betts to sprint home from second. The Dodgers’ lead ballooned to 6-1.
Rockies’ reliever AJ Ramos, in his first MLB game since 2018 with the Mets, entered in the eighth kept LA off the scoreboard. Colorado’s Daniel Bard closed the game in the ninth.
The Rockies’ mathematical odds for reaching the postseason continue to shrink with each loss. They must go 8-1 over their final nine games to finish the year at .500 — the winning-percentage where the eighth and final NL playoff berth will likely land.
Colorado closes out its homestand against LA on Sunday — the Rockies’ final regular season home game of 2020 — before splitting eight road games between the Giants and Diamondbacks to close out the year.
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