video thumbnail

LAD@COL: Oeltjen nails first career inside-the-parker

DENVER -- If you learn about players whether they win or lose, at least after Saturday the Dodgers will get to see how Javy Guerra bounces back from a blown save.

In one of their wildest losses of the year, the Dodgers let three leads get away before Dexter Fowler singled inside third base off Blake Hawksworth to score Mark Ellis with two out in the bottom of the 13th inning for a 7-6 Rockies walk-off win in a game that saw the Dodgers lose starter Ted Lilly to a stiff neck while the team dropped into fourth place in the National League West.

"Coors Field games are never over," said former Rockies player Aaron Miles, as unlikely a choice to be the Dodgers' three-hole hitter as he was to slug a 12th-inning home run that seemed to put his club in position to win, followed two batters later by the first inside-the-park homer of Trent Oeltjen's life.

"A bit of a heartbreaker to lose, especially a long game after scoring two runs," said Oeltjen, the Australian native.

With a two-run lead to protect -- along with his perfect 10-for-10 mark as Jonathan Broxton's replacement at closer -- Guerra let it get away.

"The guys battled back, and I let things get out of hand," said Guerra. "You understand the mistakes and try to learn from them. We deserved to win this game."

The rally off Guerra was highlighted by a remarkable 15-pitch at-bat that Todd Helton concluded with an RBI double that put the tying run on third.

"His best against mine," said Guerra. "Today was his day, and he got me."

One batter later, on a grounder that was fielded by third baseman Miles, who said he was tempted to throw home but didn't, the game was tied.

"[That was] vintage Helton," said Miles, his former teammate. "He's on everything just enough. He puts the ball in play, or [he] walks. He's the guy you want up in situations like that. A great effort by him. And Javy did a great job, too."

"I can't sit here and say I've seen a better at-bat than I saw with Todd Helton," said his manager, Jim Tracy, who managed the Dodgers in 2004 when Alex Cora capped a 17-pitch at-bat with a home run off Matt Clement. "That's the only other one that would even come close to that at-bat right there."

Earlier in the game, Helton slugged his 14th home run to celebrate turning 38, the fifth time he's homered on his birthday.

The Dodgers let leads of 2-0, 4-3 and 6-4 vanish, and if that isn't bad enough, they are beaten up physically right now, which a five-hour, seven-minute game only makes worse.

Manager Don Mattingly went through his entire bullpen, with Lilly leaving early and the game going late. But as he noted, there isn't much help to be expected from the Minor Leagues. Andre Ethier was pressed into outfield service, even though he's still limping from an infected right big toe that had a nail removed on Friday. Dioner Navarro had to catch all 13 innings, with Rod Barajas nursing a sore groin muscle. Navarro even remained in the game after fouling a pitch off his right foot.

And there's no rest for the weary with a day game awaiting on Sunday.

With a short-handed roster, Mattingly had to send Eugenio Velez to bat with the potential go-ahead run on second base and one out in the 13th inning, but he grounded out and is now 0-for-22.

Meanwhile, Lilly said he doesn't know if he'll be able to make his next start on Friday night because of the stiff neck, which has bothered him for several days.

The game had some redeeming aspects for the Dodgers, particularly from a group of non-roster players that didn't figure to make the club out of Spring Training, let alone be playing key roles in August. Miles has become an everyday player, with injuries to Juan Uribe and Casey Blake. Oeltjen got a start in right field for Ethier, with Mattingly saying before the game it was a "hunch" call to start him. Justin Sellers, filling in for shortstop Dee Gordon, had two hits and scored twice. Mike MacDougal, performing a high-wire act in the 11th, was in position for his first win of the season until the Rockies rallied against Guerra.

There also was the reappearance of Hong-Chih Kuo. In a flashback to 2010, he struck out all three batters he faced.

In another flashback, wasn't that Eric Young terrorizing the Dodgers? No, it was Eric Young Jr., who had a triple, an RBI single, two walks, three stolen bases and two highlight-film catches, one to rob the Dodgers of a run.

The Dodgers totaled 17 hits, with Matt Kemp accounting for three. Comments