Fogg's quality start goes for naught
Colorado lineup limited to five hits, three runs
DENVER -- All the Rockies wanted on Monday night was a little bit of wiggle room. Starting pitcher Josh Fogg did his part, wiggling out of jams and holding the Dodgers to two runs over six innings, but the Rockies offense couldn't make space on the scoreboard, scratching out just six hits. The Dodgers rallied against the Rockies relievers to take the opener, 5-4, and end Colorado's three-game home winning streak.
The Rockies took advantage of an opportunity in the first inning when Luis Gonzalez got to second base on a two-base throwing error from third baseman Olmedo Saenz. Gonzalez scored on a single from Garrett Atkins.
Brad Hawpe kept the momentum alive with a leadoff single in the second inning, scoring when Clint Barmes followed him with a double to center. Barmes got caught in a rundown between second and third after trying to stretch the hit into a triple.
"I think he was anticipating a throw home and maybe backdooring a play -- an extra base at third if you get there right away," manager Clint Hurdle said. "It was an aggressive play, it just didn't work out."
It was the kind of aggressive play that can spark a team whose offense is in a lull. Danny Ardoin kept the fuse lit, following Barmes' hit with a single, giving him a five-game hitting streak in which he's swinging at a .412 (7-for-17) pace. But the rally was cut short after Fogg's sacrifice bunt and a flyout from Cory Sullivan, part of an 0-for-12 evening from the Rockies top three hitters in the lineup.
Dodgers starter Brett Tomko retired 15 batters in succession after Ardoin's hit, stifling the Rockies until Hawpe sent a changeup 404 feet into the left-field stands for his ninth homer of the season.
"I got a first-pitch fastball, fouled it back and he'd been following up fastball with changeup," Hawpe explained. "I got a changeup over the plate a little down, but I was able to stay through it and hit a home run."
Tomko effectively located his changeup, mixed in his slider and a lively fastball in the low 90s that kept the rest of the Rockies off-kilter, as the team average over the last seven games fell to .211 (49-for-232).
"Tomko's got the ability to get outs," Hurdle said. "He made pitches when he had to. We weren't able to barrel up many balls. We're not swinging the bats the way we're capable of and that makes things a little more difficult. It always makes everything more magnified. Any mistake you make. We made a baserunning mistake in a one-run ball game, and who knows how that plays out?"
Fogg gave up only three hits in the first five innings, and a second-inning solo shot into center from Jose Cruz Jr. was the only damage the Dodgers could do against him until the sixth inning. Fogg walked two batters on nine pitches with one out in the sixth, setting up an RBI double from Jeff Kent.
"I made a mistake on a 3-2 count to Cruz [with a changeup]," Fogg said. "Good hitters hit mistakes, and he did a good job of hitting that one. I wasn't really upset about that one. The sixth inning was more what I was a little more focused on, not going up there and throwing strikes and getting my team off the field. I was a little disappointed I wasn't able to keep that 2-1 lead at that point."
Fogg pitched through traffic in three of his six innings, combining five walks with four hits to yield two runs, but with runners in scoring position with no outs in the first and one out in the fourth, he was able to escape unscathed.
"I was able to make pitches when I got in jams today and was able to get out of some innings, but five walks for a guy like me is not going to cut it," Fogg said. "I'm not going to be able to go out there and succeed doing that on a consistent basis.
"Throwing strikes is something I've done my whole career, and I don't plan on having many more five-walk games in my career. But you got to take the results as they come, and I was able to wiggle out of some jams today."
With the game tied 2-2, Hurdle turned to his bullpen in the seventh, but rookie Ramon Ramirez snapped a career-long 15 1/3 inning scoreless streak, walking Tomko to lead off the inning and yielding the first three runs of his career and earning his first loss.
"He's got two walks in 15 innings, he's got 20 strikeouts, and he walks the pitcher," Hurdle observed of Ramirez. "He was going to give up some runs in the big leagues sooner or later. Tonight just happened to be the night."
Ramirez was the last reliever in the Majors with a minimum of 12 innings pitched to allow a run this season.
The bullpen has been a source of strength for the Rockies this season, and four relievers followed Ramirez with 2 2/3 scoreless innings.
Of greater concern is the offense that has gone missing. Matt Holliday hit a solo shot in the ninth to bring the Rox within one, but the four runs scored matched the team's high mark over the last six games.
"We're going to get some big hits, and we're going to have some tough stretches," Hawpe assured. "We've been competing well. They've been close games, we've been battling hard, throwing the ball well. I think we can swing the bat better than we have. I think all of us can contribute a little bit more at the plate. But it's a tough stretch, and we ran into some pretty good pitching."
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.