DENVER – Carlos Gonzalez slammed his bat down in disgust after striking out to end the game, sending splinters flying in every direction.
A frustrating finish after a furious comeback.
The Rockies nearly rallied from a seven-run deficit before losing 7-6 to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night.
Colorado had the tying run on third with Gonzalez up, but the team’s hottest hitter hacked at three sliders from closer Javy Guerra – all out of the strike zone – to go down swinging.
“It’s hard to come back from seven runs,” Gonzalez said. “We’re always pushing and trying to make it happen. But it’s not going to happen every single night.”
On a night when starter Jhoulys Chacin (0-3) was hit hard, this game appeared to be over early. The Dodgers were up 7-0 after five innings, and starter Ted Lilly (3-0) was cruising along.
Then, Colorado stormed back. Gonzalez kicked off the comeback with a two-run homer off Lilly in the sixth.
Later, Chris Nelson added an RBI double, and pinch-hitter Tyler Colvin hit a two-run homer. Just like that, it was 7-5 heading into the eighth.
After Troy Tulowitzki led off that inning with a triple, Todd Helton sent a deep fly to left, which looked as though it had a chance to sneak out of the park, only to have Tony Gwynn Jr. haul it in at the warning track.
“I knew it wasn’t (out),” said Helton, whose sacrifice fly made it 7-6. “Bad swing. Nothing behind it.”
The Rockies had the potential tying run on second with one out in the ninth when Marco Scutaro sent a ball up the middle.
There it was – tie game. Or so Scutaro thought.
However, Mark Ellis was shaded up the middle and swooped over, throwing to first base to beat a sliding Scutaro.
“When I hit it up the middle, I thought it was going through,” Scutaro said. “For some reason, it stopped.”
Still, the Rockies had one last chance with Gonzalez at the plate, but he couldn’t come through.
In hindsight, Gonzalez wishes he would’ve been more selective at the plate and held back on chasing after those sliders. That way, Tulowitzki would have gotten an opportunity.
“He pitched around me and got me out,” Gonzalez said.
It was simply that kind of night.
Lilly held the Rockies in check most of the way, allowing just four hits and two runs in six efficient innings. His only mistake was hanging a pitch to Gonzalez, who crushed it into the right-field bleachers.
Other than that, the crafty lefty was on target all night as he threw an economical 79 pitches.
Chacin had an outing he would rather soon forget. He lasted just 4 2/3 innings, giving up 11 hits and seven runs.
“Hanging my pitches right in the middle. When you do that, they get too comfortable at home plate,” Chacin said.
His manager didn’t mince his words – or hide his irritation.
“I want to sleep on it, but I will tell you this: You can’t go out there and pitch like that,” Jim Tracy said. “I’m going to tell you that right now.
“You need a more competitive effort than that.”
Chacin had an awful first inning as he gave up four consecutive hits, including homers by Dee Gordon – the first of his major league career – and Andre Ethier. Chacin didn’t get his first out until his 20th pitch of the game, when James Loney popped out to first, drawing mock cheers from the crowd.
Not exactly the type of inning the Rockies were expecting from their ace in training. Tracy long has maintained that Chacin has the type of stuff to anchor a staff.
Lately, that hasn’t been the case.
He’s been prone to giving up home runs, allowing three more to the Dodgers to bring his staff-leading total to seven this season.
Chacin’s outing was so rocky that when Tracy came out to yank him in the fifth, the crowd cheered again.
The hard-throwing righty hasn’t won a game since Aug. 28.
“I’m going to keep working,” Chacin said. “I’m not going to give it up.”