Rockies taken down a peg in LA
B. Kim pitches well, but bats held silent after first inning
LOS ANGELES -- Before the dream matchup for Korean baseball fans came a nightmare for Rockies right-handed pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim.
Dodgers right-hander Jae Seo would get the best of Kim in the first matchup of Korean starters in Major League history -- they happen to have been high school teammates -- as the Dodgers won, 6-1, at Dodger Stadium in front of 35,652.
The loss in the opener of the Rockies' nine-game National League West road swing dropped Colorado behind new leader Arizona and into a second-place tie with the Dodgers.
But it didn't turn out as bad as the vision in Kim's mind while sleeping the night before the game. Close, but not as bad.
"I had a dream last night that a knife came at my neck," Kim said. "I told 'Sunny' [fellow pitcher Sun-Woo Kim] and he said, 'Be careful.'"
Seo (2-2) emerged with bragging rights even though Kim (2-2) virtually matched him. Seo went seven innings, giving up six hits and one unearned run; Kim went six, gave up six hits and three runs -- only one earned, as Todd Helton's third-inning throwing error led to the Dodgers' first two runs.
At least Kim escaped without any shots to his Adam's apple or higher, although a line drive from J.D. Drew nearly was a bad dream come true. Kim flipped up his glove in time to block the ball, achieving self-preservation -- if not an out.
"After that hit, inside I'm laughing," said Kim, who noted that even in the dream, he never bled.
Jeff Kent would follow with a double for a 3-1 Dodgers lead, but by then, Colorado was well on its way to its third loss in four games against Los Angeles this season. Missed scoring opportunities and Helton's key error had already set the loss into motion.
In the first three innings, the Rockies reached on an error, had five hits -- including two doubles -- and walked once, and Seo hit a batter. Yet they managed just one run -- when Jamey Carroll led off the game by reaching on Dodgers third baseman Willy Aybar's fielding error and eventually scored on Matt Holliday's sacrifice fly -- and had two runs erased at the plate.
|I thought [Byung-Hyung Kim] pitched a pretty good ballgame, kept us in it. He kept the damage to a minimum when we made the [third-inning] error, then to hold them to one run in the sixth inning when as many balls were hit hard as they were, he did a fine job."|
|-- Rockies manager Clint Hurdle|
"We didn't play well enough to win tonight. They're playing well, and we're going to have to play well to beat them."
Colorado's Cory Sullivan, who batted seventh after hitting in the top spot all season, attempted to score from first on Danny Ardoin's second-inning double to left field. Originally, third-base coach Mike Gallego waved Sullivan home, but Sullivan was bearing down for the plate when Gallego attempted to stop him. Sullivan slid into the legs of catcher Russell Martin, who caught shortstop Rafael Furcal's relay throw.
One of the multiple TV replays suggested Sullivan touched the plate before the tag, but the plate umpire called him out in real time.
The Rockies' Luis Gonzalez, who took over at second base because Carroll left after a sprained right ankle, doubled to left to open the third. But Drew fielded a Garrett Atkins single to right field and threw out Gonzalez at the plate. Seo walked Helton and hit Holliday to load the bases, but he forced Brad Hawpe into a threat-ending double play.
In the bottom of the inning, Helton fielded a Furcal grounder with one out but flipped the ball behind Kim, who was covering first base. Jose Cruz Jr. doubled, and the runs scored on an Olmedo Saenz RBI single and an RBI fielder's choice by Drew.
Kent's double, after Kim survived the scare, made it 3-1.
"I thought 'B.K.' pitched a pretty good ballgame, kept us in it," Hurdle said. "He kept the damage to a minimum when we made the error, then to hold them to one run in the sixth inning when as many balls were hit hard as they were, he did a fine job."
Seo graduated Kwang-ju First High School a year ahead of Kim. Seo noted that the two talk about three times a week, although Kim said all they said on Monday was, "Good luck."
Rockies reliever Scott Dohmann walked the bases loaded to open the seventh, and Tom Martin, who reduced the damage with a home-to-first double play, walked in a run. David Cortes gave up two runs on three hits in the eighth.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.