Dodgers 6, Rockies 5: McKinstry leads rally against Rockies pen, Kenley shuts the door

Starting the season with a four-game set at Coors Field is just cruel, and while this one started out looking like a surprising pitchers’ duel, it got a bit wild late with nine runs scored in the back half of the game. Thankfully the Dodgers were the ones who prevailed in the end, taking it by a 6-5 score over the Rockies.

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Like Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler had some Spring Training worries. It wasn’t so much about the results, but the concern was his fastball velocity sat more 93-95 mph than his normal 96-98 mph, definitely counting as something to watch as the season got underway. While the fastball was not exactly in peak form tonight, he did tick up a couple for his season debut, sitting mainly 94-96 mph with typical riding life.

After giving up just a double in the first two frames, Buehler hung a deuces-wild curve to Raimel Tapia in the 3rd and Tapia didn’t miss to put the Rockies up 1-0. He found similar two-out trouble in the 4th, surrendering a single and then a Ryan McMahon double that doubled the lead to 2-0.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers had made outs in roughly half their plate appearances coming into the game, and they continued to put the pressure on in the 1st against Jon Gray behind a one-out Corey Seager single and a two-out Cody Bellinger walk, but Gray responded by retiring the next 11 batters in a row. The next chance for the Dodgers came in the 5th following one-out singles from Edwin Rios and Austin Barnes, and a successful sacrifice bunt from Buehler set the table, but that too led to nothing.

The 6th was unfortunate for Gray, as he allowed a double to Seager to start the inning and then exited with an apparent injury, being replaced by Yency Almonte.

Almonte got two quick outs and was on the verge of escape, but Max Muncy fisted a single off Brian Fuentes to cut the lead to 2-1.

Then AJ Pollock followed with a single and Almonte hit Rios with the first pitch to load the bases with two out in the 6th. Blake Snell‘s father, Barnes, then got a jam-shot single to fall in to drive in two and snatch a 3-2 lead.

Tyler Kinley took over for the Rockies in the 7th, and one pitch into the outing Gavin Lux requested the fountains go down as they were distracting him. Well, that proved to work as he immediately tripled down the line in right and then scored on Seager’s third hit of the night, a single to right to make it 4-2.

Following an error, the Dodgers had another chance to add but couldn’t put further runs on the board.

After Buehler gave up a second run in the 4th, he then rebounded by retiring seven in a row, exiting after six innings and 90 pitches. His final line: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 4 K.

Blake Treinen relieved him in the 7th, issuing a walk and then getting a perfect double-play ball, but a wide throw by Lux meant they couldn’t turn it, and Brian Fuentes immediately followed by parking one to right to tie the game at 4-4.

Mychal Givens was tasked with maintaining the tie in the 8th and got the first two batters on two fouls outs, but Zach McKinstry ruined his inning, smashing a ball to left that Tapia made an incredible effort to keep it in play but resulted in an inside-the-park homer nonetheless to make it 5-4.

After a Lux walk, stolen base, and an intentional walk to Seager, Chris Taylor doubled off the wall in left to double the lead to 6-4.

Victor Gonzalez entered the game for the second consecutive night, looking to play setup man in the 8th. After getting the first out, he then allowed back-to-back doubles to make it 6-5, then issued a walk to end his night.

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Dave Roberts turned to Kenley Jansen, who bailed Gonzalez out by getting a decently hit fly ball to left for an out and then pumped a 94 mph two-seamer for a strikeout.

The bats tried to get an insurance run against Daniel Bard, starting with a Muncy double, but aside from an Edwin Rios walk they weren’t able to provide further help.

Kenley continued on in the 9th, tasked with getting his longest outing since 2019 for a save, and he cruised through the first two batters but then issued a walk. Thankfully there wasn’t much to it, as he rebounded and got a routine fly to end it in the place that caused him so much hardship with his health throughout his career.

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Muncy must be confused as to why there’s plexiglass there, and I don’t blame him.

Lux and the bench have a new thing and I have no idea what that shit is.

C.J. Cron had an adventure.

Kershaw caught digging.

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The Dodgers improve to 2-1 on the season.

The finale of the four-game series will be tomorrow at 9:10 AM HST/12:10 PM PST/3:10 PM EST, with World Series hero Julio Urias facing off against one of the guys the Rockies traded Nolan Arenado for in Austin Gomber.

About Chad Moriyama

"A highly rational Internet troll." - Los Angeles Times