The song remains the same for the Rockies.
In this case, it’s the Randy Newman ditty “I Love L.A.,” which blares out of the speakers at Dodger Stadium after every victory by the home team.
Friday night, the Rockies had to listen to the song for the 17th time in their last 18 trips to La La Land. This time it was especially excruciating because the Rockies lost 10-6 despite a strong start from Antonio Senzatela and an eighth-inning grand slam by Kevin Pillar that looked like it would be the game-winner.
But not against the Dodgers, who have now won 24 of 28 overall vs. the Rockies.
Colorado’s bullpen — which now owns a 6.99 ERA — blew leads twice and surrendered eight runs in just 2 2/3 innings. The definitive blow was AJ Pollock’s two-run homer off Carlos Estevez in the eighth. They were the first runs Estevez has given up on the road this season, but it opened the floodgates. Joc Pederson followed up with a solo homer off Estevez. Then Mookie Betts launched a two-run homer off Jeff Hoffman.
Explaining Estevez’s failure to shut the door in the eighth, manager Bud Black said: “His stuff was good, he had good velocity. He looked the same. They just squared up some balls out over the plate. I mean, simple as that.”
Pillar has been in a Rockies uniform for just three games but he’s already donned Superman’s cape twice. Too bad the Dodgers are kryptonite for the Rockies. Rookie outfielder Sam Hillard, who homered in the fifth to tie the game 2-2, called the game “an emotional roller coaster.”
“The (Dodgers) are a good team and they have proven that over the years,” Black said. “But we don’t scare off against them, I know that. But tonight, and this year, we haven’t made pitches and we haven’t gotten big hits. Although we got a big hit tonight, there’s no doubt about that.”
Pillar’s two-out grand slam put the Rockies in front, 6-5, and it looked like the L.A. hex was broken. On Wednesday, Pillar’s two-run triple in the seventh lifted the Rockies to a win over San Francisco.
Colorado’s initial bullpen meltdown came in the seventh when Will Smith ripped a two-run homer off new Rockies reliever Mychal Givens. Chris Taylor opened the inning with a single.
In came right-hander Tyler Kinley, who walked Gavin Lux and then uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Lux to take second. Lux advanced to third on Betts’ liner to left and then scored on Corey Seager’s sacrifice fly to center. The Dodgers had turned a 2-2 lead into a 5-2 lead.
The shame of Colorado’s latest loss was that Senzatela gave the Rockies what they needed: a stable start of 5 1/3 innings and a solid chance to win the game. He gave up two runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and no walks. He left with the game tied 2-2.
The last time Senzatela pitched in Los Angeles, the Dodgers bombed him with four home runs. He admitted that that game was on his mind, but his command was much sharper Friday night.
“What I did differently tonight was that I located my pitches and didn’t make mistakes,” said Senzatela, who’s 3-1 with a .333 ERA. “I tried to put the ball where I wanted and tried to make the hitters uncomfortable. And I did.”
Senzatela ran into some bad luck in the sixth when the speedy Betts led off with a single and scooted to second when Pillar mishandled the ball in center field for an error. Betts raced home on Seager’s bloop single to left.
L.A.’s other run off of Senzatela was Max Muncy’s first-inning homer to right on a 3-2 fastball.
Dodgers starter Dustin May matched Senzatela, pitching 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on three hits and striking out five. He made two mistakes and the Rockies hit them out of the park. Raimel Tapia led off the game with a homer to right-center and Hilliard launched his solo homer to right in the fifth.
May has not allowed more than two runs in a game this season, and in his Dodgers career, has not allowed more than three earned runs in his 12 starts.
Hilliard blasted May’s 3-2, 98 mph fastball to give Colorado a 2-1 lead. Hilliard has six homers this season and three of them have come at Dodger Stadium and two have come off of May.
Tapia, who’s found himself a comfortable home in the leadoff spot, hit May’s third pitch of the game into the seats. It was Tapia’s first home run of the season and he extended his hitting streak to seven games and has reached base in 17 consecutive games.