It was a Colorado avalanche that buried the Rockies.
The Dodgers sent 11 batters to the plate and scored six times in the seventh inning (their season-high for any inning) to break open a tie game and give the Dodgers a 9-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on Thursday night.
Los Angeles Dodgers’ Mookie Betts gestures to the dugout after his RBI single off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Carlos Estevez during the seventh inning of a baseball game Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Julio Urias works against the Colorado Rockies during the third inning of a baseball game Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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Los Angeles Dodgers’ Will Smith follows through on a two-run double off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Carlos Estevez during the seventh inning of a baseball game Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Corey Seager #5 of the Los Angeles Dodgers completes the first half of a failed double play against Raimel Tapia #15 of the Colorado Rockies on a Charlie Blackmon single in the fifth inning at Coors Field on September 17, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Colorado Rockies’ Raimel Tapia, left, scores on a sacrifice bly by Charlie Blackmon as Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Will Smith fields the throw during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Los Angeles Dodgers third base coach Dino Ebel, left, congratulates Corey Seager as he circles the bases after hitting a solo home run off Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Kyle Freeland in the fourth inning of a baseball game Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Dylan Floro works against the Colorado Rockies during the sixth inning of a baseball game Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Jake McGee warms up for the team’s baseball game against the Colorado Rockies on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
The win dropped the Dodgers’ magic number to clinch another NL West Division title to five. The second-place San Diego Padres were idle Thursday.
The Dodgers have now outscored their opponents 99-59 in the seventh inning or later this season.
“Just got some pitches to hit and put some good swings on them,” said Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager who had three hits in the win. “That’s all you’re trying to do. We did it a lot tonight, up and down the lineup. Hitting is contagious and when it happens like that you just want to keep it going.”
Showing up late has worked for the Dodgers’ offense. Maybe Julio Urias should try it.
In a recurring issue, Urias struggled through a ragged first inning, allowing two runs on three hits including a double by Trevor Story. In his 10 starts this season, Urias has allowed 10 runs in the first innings with opposing batters hitting .341 (15 for 44) with three home runs.
It took him 26 pitches to get through that first inning Thursday. His next 27 retired the next nine Rockies in order. Urias retired 13 in a row before Raimel Tapia reached base on an error to start the sixth inning.
After his first innings, Urias has allowed just nine runs in 39 innings, holding opposing batters to a .199 average (28 for 141).
“It was just a bad first inning with a lot of bad pitches,” Urias said through an interpreter.
“I continue working on that. I’m working with Mark (Prior, Dodgers pitching coach) and the rest of the coaches. They’ve really helped. I’ve just tried to make the adjustment for the first inning. Some times it’s just the circumstances of the game. But you can’t let that beat you. You have to understand that inning has passed and keep working and hopefully you work into the sixth or seventh inning. That’s the mentality, but I’ll keep working. It happened again today. But I’m going to continue to try and tackle that.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the coaching staff has talked to Urias about making “adjustments” that might smooth the transition into the game.
“Talking to him on the bench afterwards, it’s more of getting that mindset like it’s the fifth or the sixth inning in the first inning,” Roberts said. “He started off slow, couldn’t get the ball out front, couldn’t spin the breaking ball, it was casting. Once he got loose and got that adrenaline or whatever you call it, it was a lot more crisp.”
The idea of having someone open for Urias, allowing him to enter the game in the second or third inning, didn’t seem to appeal to Roberts.
“It’s certainly a thought,” he said. “But it’s still the warm-up, the ramp up, whatever that is — if you’re still getting the same stuff in the third inning, it’s still the first time he’s out there on the mound. The key is when he gets out there on the mound he’s gotta be ready to rip it.”
That first inning put the Dodgers in the chase position and they caught the Rockies with two runs in the fourth inning against left-hander Kyle Freeland including a solo home run by Seager.
It stayed tied 2-2 until the seventh inning when the Dodgers broke the Rockies.
The Dodgers sent 11 batters to the plate against Freeland and relievers Carlos Estevez and Jairo Diaz. Seager, Will Smith and Kiké Hernandez had doubles. Mookie Betts broke the tie with an RBI single. The Rockies pitchers only made things worse with four walks and a run-scoring wild pitch. Catcher Tony Wolters was guilty of two passed balls.
“I think we had six, seven walks tonight,” Roberts said. “Our guys didn’t allow a walk. So some miscues they made, giving us extra outs — that’s good to see us capitalize. That’s how you have to play especially here.”
Seager finished the game a triple shy of the cycle, breaking out of a 2-for-16 stretch with the three-hit game. Smith continues on his tear. In 16 games since returning from a neck injury in late August, Smith is 21 for 57 (.368) with seven doubles, four home runs, 12 RBI and 12 runs scored.
Edwin Rios added a 427-foot solo home run in the eighth inning off Wade Davis, the 20th home run the Dodgers have hit off Rockies pitching in seven games this season.
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