Rockies rally for rare victory over Dodgers, 5-2

The SoCal cousins came through big time for the Rockies Saturday night at Dodger Stadium, and an enormous smile and a fist pump accentuated their rare 5-2 win over Los Angeles.

Orange County native Nolan Arenado punched a go-ahead single to right field off Blake Treinen in the ninth inning to produce the go-ahead run. Arenado, mired in a terrible slump with runners in scoring position — a .167 average vs. his career average of .325 — let loose with an ear-to-ear grin. Arenado’s clutch hit was set up by back-to-back singles by Raimel Tapia and Trevor Story.

Next, younger first cousin Josh Fuentes drove a pinch-hit, two-run double down the right-field line off of left-hander Alex Wood to give Colorado its three-run cushion. Fuentes started celebrating as he ran toward first.

Fuentes was clearly happy for Arenado and said that his cousin’s big hit could release some pressure.

“One-hundred percent,” Fuentes said. “I don’t want to say that we depend on Nolan, but we all know that Nolan is our guy. He’s going to be our guy through thick and thin, so that was awesome to see him come through for us right there. That’s what he does, and that’s why they pay him the big bucks. He’s just clutch and I think he’s starting to feel the pressure start to lift a little bit.”

Colorado had lost five consecutive games to the Dodgers, all on the road, since their last win on Sept. 21, 2019. The Dodgers entered the game having won 19 of their last 22 games and having defeated Colorado in 24 of the last 28 games in L.A.

“It was a huge win,” Arenado said. “I mean, we haven’t won here, and yesterday was such a tough game. So to see us come back from yesterday and get a win is huge.”

Added manager Bud Black: “There’s a lot of things that have gone wrong over the last
couple years here, but the fight in the guys has never stopped. So to get a win and execute
some at-bats and make some pitches (is) obviously a great feeling for us.

“We’ve played these guys tough over the years and we’ve lost some really heartbreaking games that could have gone either way. Hopefully, the tide is turning for us.”

An epic bullpen meltdown resulted in Friday night’s 10-6 loss to the Dodgers, but closer Daniel Bard took care of business Saturday, shutting down the Dodgers in the ninth for his fifth save in five opportunities.

Starter German Marquez, who rediscovered command of his fastball, set the stage for Colorado’s victory. His moment of truth arrived in the seventh with the game tied 2-2.

After giving up a two-out double to Austin Barnes, Marquez was set to face all-star Mookie Betts, who was 2-for-2 with a walk. Manager Bud Black came to the mound to have a chat with Marquez, but left him in the game, giving Marquez an encouraging smack on the rump. Marquez responded by getting Betts to fly out to right.

“My first thought was, ‘You’re gonna take me out,’ ” Marquez said. “So I said, ‘Hey give me one more.”

Black said he went to the mound, not to take Marquez out, but to map out a strategy about getting out Betts.

“I like how German was throwing the ball,” Black said. “His stuff was fine. And I know German, and when he’s tested he can execute pitches. So we formulated a game plan against Betts and German executed two fastballs that resulted in the short flyball to right field.”

Marquez entered the night in a funk, having lost a career-high four consecutive decisions over five starts, going 0-4 with a 6.83 ERA since his last win on Aug. 4 vs. San Francisco. But the right-hander responded with the kind of outing Colorado needed.

He allowed two runs over seven innings, giving up five hits, striking out five and walking three. One glittering defensive play rescued him in the fourth. Right fielder Sam Hilliard robbed Cody Bellinger with a leaping catch at the right-field wall.

Marquez blanked L.A. for four innings but ran into self-induced trouble in the fifth. He opened the inning by walking Gavin Lux, who entered the game with a .150 average. Marquez got the next two outs before Betts drove in Lux with a single, and then Betts raced from first to home when Marquez hung a 1-0 slider to Corey Seager, who ripped it to center for a double.

Charlie Blackmon, who’s beginning to heat up again, powered the Rockies to a 2-0 lead. He led off with the second with a double and raced home when Kevin Pillar flew out to right fielder Mookie Betts, who fumbled the ball as he transferred it from his glove to his hand.

Blackmon ripped a line-drive, solo homer to right off starter Tony Gonsolin in the fourth for his fifth home run of the season.

The Rockies, a game under .500 at 19-20, have just 21 games left. Despite their recent struggles, Blackmon believes the Rockies are a quality team.

“We have all the pieces,” he said. “Lots of teams have the pieces. But when guys get consistent and guys play well, and certain areas of the Rockies’ game starts to come on consistently, we’re going to be tough to beat.”