Trying to play spoiler, Dodgers come up short
Kuroda struggles early, late rallies never formulate vs. Rockies
LOS ANGELES -- A 7-5 loss to the Rockies on Friday night wasn't a Joe Torre induced hangover. It was the same Dodgers team Torre's steered all season.
"Where we are, we pretty much earned this," Torre said of the Dodgers' third consecutive loss, on the same day he announced he would not return to manage next season. "We haven't played well enough to warrant being in the race."
Or well enough to even play spoiler. The Dodgers again hit the opposing team's ace well, something they've done more often this season than their 72-76 record indicates. In fact, the four runs they scored off Ubaldo Jimenez, who notched his National League-best 19th win at Dodger Stadium, matched their scoring output from their previous two outings against Jimenez this season -- both Los Angeles victories.
But the Dodgers again didn't hit well enough with runners on (11 left on base), and again they couldn't find a truly big hit.
Complicating matters, as he has throughout a difficult second half, was Jonathan Broxton, who let up two runs on two hits and three walks in the seventh. The former closer got two outs before being pulled, after the Dodgers' deficit had grown from 5-4 to 7-4.
Broxton last pitched a week ago and had thrown a scoreless inning in each of his past two outings. His ERA has risen to a season-high 3.92, nearly two runs higher than his 1.93 mark on July 8.
Leaving the Dodger Stadium clubhouse, Broxton said only "No" when approached.
"He appears unsure of himself," Torre said. "He'll get through this and get back to being the dominant closer he was early in the year. It would be best if he turns it around before the season ends, but he'll have to do it more than once, and we're running out of games. This is something he has to fight through. It's a situation he has to earn his way back, for his own good. It'll happen. It's something to learn from."
The Dodgers were behind the eight-ball from the first inning, when Troy Tulowitzki's two-out, two-run homer off Hiroki Kuroda put the Rockies ahead. The runs were unearned because of a Rafael Furcal error on the first play of the game.
Tulowitzki was coming off a two-homer day in Wednesday's game, and he's gone deep 12 times in his past 14 games.
"It was just a high fastball," said catcher A.J. Ellis. "That's where he does his damage. We knew going in he's a high-ball hitter."
Ellis, who had three hits off Jimenez, tied the game in the second on a single up the middle that scored Matt Kemp from third. Kemp's triple plated the Dodgers' first run.
Kuroda, who went six innings and allowed five runs (three earned) on seven hits, was touched up in only one other inning, but it was a trying sequence. The Rockies had five hits in the fourth -- all singles, and four of them in succession -- and went up, 5-2.
"He just had that four- or five-batter stretch where they were able to square some balls up, and that cost us," Ellis said. "Other than that, he had all his pitches working."
The Dodgers chipped away, helped by Andre Ethier's career-high-matching four walks. Jimenez let up a run in each of the fourth and fifth innings, bringing the L.A. deficit to one, and he was pulled after 6 1/3 innings.
"He's one of the best around, anywhere," Torre said. "I was really proud of the way we kept coming back. We let opportunities get away. They got to five runs, but we couldn't keep them at that."
After Broxton gave the Rockies some padding, the Dodgers had two late rallies -- the first came with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh, the second with two on and two out in the ninth against closer Huston Street.
Casey Blake had a two-out RBI single in the ninth after striking out with the bags full in the seventh, bringing up Kemp. Kemp, who was 2-for-5 and had a strong start to the night, struck out to end the game.
"You know you're not going to come through in every situation," Blake said. "That's why it's so frustrating."
Evan Drellich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.