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Rockies' struggles vs. Dodgers continue

Rockies' struggles vs. Dodgers continue

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DENVER -- The Rockies got a dose of their own defensive medicine against the Dodgers on Sunday at Coors Field.

Los Angeles, which beat Colorado, 4-3, to take the series rubber match, flashed some nifty glove-work against the Rockies, who have shown they know how to play the field themselves.

"We did nothing to lose the game and everything we could to win the game," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "To their credit, they made three fantastic defensive plays where we had runs if even only one of them doesn't get made."

The Dodgers' defense was not the culprit as the first two batters reached base and eventually came around to score for the Rockies in the first inning. Center fielder Carlos Gonzalez was hit by a pitch from Clayton Kershaw, and first baseman Jason Giambi walked.

The sequence led to the Rockies' 2-1 lead after Matt Kemp walked and scored for the Dodgers in the top of the first.

But with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth, Kemp got the Rockies with his glove in center field, making a dazzling diving catch on a line drive off the bat of catcher Chris Iannetta to end the inning.

"Center fielders on both sides are real good -- Kemp and Gonzalez," Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said. "In one series, I've never seen so many good plays from both guys."

The Dodgers tacked on a run in the third and broke the 2-2 tie with two more in the sixth. Casey Blake doubled and Xavier Paul singled to lead off the frame, and both scored to make it 4-2.

That was the end of Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin (3-3, 3.62), who struck out six in 5 1/3 innings.

"My command was good," Chacin said. "Sometimes, just with one guy or two guys, I lost the command and had to make an adjustment again."

The Rockies' bullpen held firm, but the Colorado offense could not break through.

In the seventh, Paul made a running catch in right field to rob Gonzalez of an extra-base hit.

Then, in the ninth, with the winning run at the plate, Dodgers second baseman Jamey Carroll made a diving stop in the hole for a forceout.

It was another big opportunity taken away from Gonzalez, who made a spectacular catch of his own in each of the last two games.

"If that gets through, it's 4-3 with runners at first and third and still one out and more than likely we get the opportunity of going all the way through Giambi," Tracy said.

Instead, another ground ball ended the game and the Dodgers left Denver with another series win against their National League West rivals.

The Rockies have not taken a series from the Dodgers since August 2008, are 2-4 against them this season and 6-18 against them dating back to last year.

Kershaw (5-3, 2.95) struck out six in the first two innings and finished with nine through five innings.

"This was a good series for us," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "We came out of Chicago winning one of three. This park, this club, they're playing well, and our bullpen essentially won two games. Even though we made errors, we played good defense when it counted."

The Rockies head to San Francisco for a three-game series starting on Monday, with the opener headlined by a duel between Ubaldo Jimenez and Tim Lincecum.

As for Los Angeles, Colorado will have to wait until Aug. 17 for the teams to meet again.

"It would have been nice to get this one and beat the Dodgers in a series, but, once again, we played them tough," Tulowitzki said. "It seems like they're always one up on us somehow. Hopefully we catch up and get to meet them again."

Joey Nowak is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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