Matt Kamlet, CBSLA.com
DENVER (CBSLA.com) — As the Dodgers took the field in Denver for the final time of the 2013 season, there was no clue what to expect from the Dodger debut of Edinson Volquez.
For those who support the Dodgers, they would sooner have not found out.
Volquez gave up four runs through four innings as the Dodgers’ eighth inning rally fell short on Tuesday night 7-5.
Volquez started off rough, giving up a stand-up triple to Josh Rutledge in the first inning, followed immediately by a double off the wall by Troy Tulowitzki. The subsequent at-bat by Michael Cuddyer resulted in a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly to give the Rockies a 2-1 lead.
Things didn’t improve much in the second inning when Volquez left a pitch hanging over the plate for Todd Helton, who connected and smacked a solo home run to right.
Another inning resulted in another run, after a single up the middle from Cuddyer scored Rutledge from second, extending the Rockies lead 4-1.
The Dodgers began to claw back in the middle innings, loading the bases with no outs in the sixth before Scott Van Slyke grounded into a double play, bringing in a single run to cut the deficit to two.
Another opportunity presented itself in the seventh, after Juan Uribe lined a single to right and Schumaker walked to put the potential tying run aboard — again with no outs.
Instead of a double play, Gonzalez struck out, Hairston grounded into a fielder’s choice, and Nick Punto grounded to third.
The ball game was busted wide open in the bottom of the seventh, when Carlos Marmol took over on the mound.
Marmol gave up three consecutive singles before Skip Schumaker made a spectacular diving catch in shallow center field on a ball hit by Tulowitzki. The play was followed by a throw that was not cut off, proceeding rather to bounce off the back of the pitcher’s mound and over the head of A.J. Ellis, allowing a runner to advance.
To keep the ball rolling, Marmol balked on the mound with the corners occupied to score another run, giving the Rockies a comfortable 7-2 lead.
The Dodgers, however, rallied once more.
After Ramirez led off the eighth with a single of reliever Matt Belisle and took second on a wild pitch, Young collected his third hit of the night in the form of an RBI single. A.J. Ellis then reached on an error by Rutledge, and Uribe doubled home Young, bringing the Dodgers back to life and within three runs. Schumaker then followed with a single to center, putting the go-ahead run at the plate.
The rally concluded when Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig both struck out swinging as pinch hitters.
No one can argue that Don Mattingly initially put the top lineup on the field on Wednesday. With an outfield consisting of Hairston, Schumaker, and Van Slyke, it is plausible Mattingly is looking to keep his stars as healthy as possible as the Dodgers inch closer to a an all-likely playoff berth.
On a positive note, Michael Young went 3-for-5 from the plate and earned his first, and second, RBIs as a Dodger in the first inning, knocking in Jerry Hairston Jr. home in the second and bringing Ramirez home in the eighth.
The Dodgers head to Cincinnatti for a three game series with the Reds. A Dodger win will clinch just their 4th winning record on the road in 10 years.