Rockies split first doubleheader of season thanks to Dodgers grand slam
AP Sports Writer
DENVER — Alex Guerrero hit it about as well as he could. Charlie Blackmon tracked it and timed his leap at the wall just right.
For a brief second, Guerrero thought maybe the Colorado Rockies center fielder robbed him of a home run and stole his moment. The entire stadium went quiet as Blackmon fell to the warning track, waiting to see if he produced the ball from his glove. Blackmon couldn’t.
Guerrero’s grand slam off reliever Rafael Betancourt with two outs in the top of the ninth lifted the Los Angeles Dodgers rally to a 9-8 win over the Rockies on Tuesday night and salvaged a doubleheader split.
Now that it’s over, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly can take a deep breath.
“I thought he had it,” Mattingly admitted. “I was just numb at that point.”
Guerrero, who entered the game as part of a defensive switch in the eighth, sent a 1-2 fastball from Betancourt (2-2) to the deepest part of Coors Field, just barely eluding the glove of Blackmon.
“From the dugout, looked like he caught the ball,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “Tough loss. No doubt about it. Their guy got a big hit. That’s what it came down to.”
The Rockies beat the Dodgers 6-3 in the opener behind the pitching of Jorge De La Rosa. The game was a makeup of a rainout on May 9.
It was Guerrero’s first career big league grand slam and fourth homer of the night for the Dodgers.
Joc Pederson homered in both games, and Kike Hernandez and Adrian Gonzalez also went deep in Game 2.
Josh Ravin (1-0) had his contract selected from Triple-A Oklahoma before the game and earned the win in his major league debut by getting one out in the eighth. The team dumped cold water on him to celebrate.
“I’m going to sleep with the ball,” Ravin said. “This is a pretty cool feeling.”
The Rockies rallied from an early four-run deficit. Troy Tulowitzki gave the Rockies a 7-5 lead with a two-run homer in the seventh. But the bullpen couldn’t hold it, even after Brandon Barnes added an RBI single in the eighth for another insurance run.
Weiss went with Betancourt in the ninth over regular closer John Axford, who earned a save in the afternoon game. Betancourt gave up three straight singles, before striking out Justin Turner and getting Pederson to fly out to left.
That set the stage for Guerrero who was simply “looking for solid contact,” he explained.
The ninth was far from smooth for Kenley Jansen, who gave up a one-out double to Carlos Gonzalez. He struck out Ben Paulsen to end the game with Gonzalez standing on third.
Zack Greinke entered the game tied for the best ERA in baseball, but gave up a season-high five runs in six innings to watch it go from 1.48 to 1.97. He also allowed a season-most 10 hits.
David Hale gave up three early homers, before settling into a rhythm and lasting six innings. He was added as a 26th player before the game.
The righty is auditioning for a permanent spot in the rotation now that Jordan Lyles is sidelined by a left big toe injury.
In the opener, De La Rosa (2-2) allowed three runs and struck out six for his 71st win with the Rockies, one shy of matching Aaron Cook’s team record. The lefty had his start pushed back twice because of a cut he got from the seams on a baseball.
Ian Thomas (0-1) allowed four runs in three innings after taking over for Juan Nicasio, who made a spot start against his former team. Thomas was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City to be the 26th man for the doubleheader.
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