Valaika Homers Twice; Keeps Rockies In First

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Pat Valaika hit two two-run home runs and Nolan Arenado hit a two-run shot as the Rockies out-slugged the Dodgers 9-6. Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMeahieu combined to go 6-7 with three runs scored on Sunday afternoon. The win allowed the Rockies to split the series and kept them 1.5 games ahead of the Dodgers for first place.

 
 Dodgers 12 
 Rockies 13 

Rockies’ starter Antonio Senzatela got off to a rough start, giving up a two-run home run to Corey Seager before recording an out. He then got into a jam with runners on first and third with one out and Chris Taylor at the plate. Taylor attempted what looked like a squeeze bunt. He bunted it far too close to the mound and Senzatela flipped it with his glove back home. They got Justin Turner caught in a rundown and were able to record the out quickly. Then Arenado, who tagged Turner to end the rundown, threw to third in time to get Yasmani Grandal, who was attempting to sneak his way into third.

Senzatela went on to pitch another four innings for a total of 5 innings with four earned runs allowed on seven hits. The Dodgers wasted way too many opportunities against Senzatela, who was in and out of jams constantly.

“Today was one of those days where we had a lot of opportunities and didn’t capitalize,” Dave Roberts said. “Against a good club like that, you keep them in the ballgame and they’re going to crawl back. We had opportunities to put them away early. We created traffic and baserunners and we were having good at-bats. But they made pitches when they needed to.”

If Senzatela’s start seemed bad, Julio Urías‘s was even worse. He allowed six earned runs on seven hits over four innings plus one batter. He only walked one batter, which is an improvement, but he had only one strikeout which meant that he was not fooling batters.

Pat Valaika was the hero for Rockies fans and the thorn in the side of the Dodgers. He went 4-4 with two home runs, both of them two-run shots, and four RBIs. Valaika’s first home run came in the fourth inning when Urías threw him a first-pitch curveball. The ball cleared the center field wall and hit a tree in the forest. Valaika’s second home run came in the eighth inning off Chris Hatcher. Hatcher threw a slider down and in and Valaika got his bat on this one as well. It went over the wall in left, giving the Rockies a 9-6 lead.

Nolan Arenado snapped the Dodger Bullpen’s scoreless streak at 28 innings with a two-run home run in the fifth off of Sergio Romo. Romo threw a slider that stayed inside to Arenado, who got the barrel on the ball and hit it over the wall in left-center field. The ball left the bat at 104.2 mph with a launch angle of 31 degrees. It traveled a projected 456 feet according to Statcast.

Keys To The Game:

A Terrible Play:

In the first inning, the Dodgers had Antonio Senzatela in a jam with one out. Justin Turner was on third and Yasmani Grandal was on first with Chris Taylor at the plate. Taylor attempted a squeeze bunt, but he hit it too close to the pitcher’s mound. Senzatela picked it up and threw it home, putting Turner in a rundown. During the rundown, Grandal was attempting to go first to third. After Nolan Arenado tagged Turner, it was an easy throw for him to get Grandal. I think that Taylor’s bunt should have been down the third base line with Turner running and Grandal should have stuck at second base.

They’re Human:

The Dodgers’ bullpen looked great during the 28 innings prior to Nolan Arenado’s at bat, but that changed with one swing. When Sergio Romo threw a slider that didn’t tail away from Arenado, everybody in the stadium knew that it was gone. Arenado’s 456 foot home run gave the Rockies some insurance runs, which ended up as the runs that won it for Colorado.

Up Next:

The Dodgers will travel to San Francisco for a three-game series against the Giants at AT&T Park. Brandon McCarthy will take the mound for the Dodgers and Matt Cain will start for the Giants. McCarthy will make his return from the disabled list after he suffered a dislocated left (non-pitching) shoulder in a weight room incident. The game will start at 7:15 pm PT and be televised on SportsNet LA and MLB Network.

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