DENVER (AP) - So good of late against the Colorado Rockies, Clayton Kershaw hit a bump.
The 23-year-old lefty gave up two homers and the Los Angeles Dodgers were bottled up by Jhoulys Chacin in a 3-0 loss to the Rockies on Tuesday night.
``It was a frustrating night,' said Kershaw, who was 3-0 with a 2.10 ERA last season against Colorado. ``They put some good swings on it. I'm not going to discredit them. They hit some balls hard, they hit some balls far.'
The farthest were by Troy Tulowitzki and Chris Iannetta, who each homered. Jose Lopez also had a damaging two-out, RBI single after an intentional walk to Tulowitzki.
``If I did my job we'd still be playing right now, zero-zero,' Kershaw said. ``That's the kind of mentality that you need to have.'
Chacin (1-0) was sharp all night, going seven innings and giving up five hits in his season debut. The hard-throwing righty outdueled Kershaw (1-1), who lasted six innings and allowed three runs.
The homers were a rare occurrence for Kershaw, who allowed just 0.57 homers per nine innings last season, one of the lowest marks in the NL.
Burdened by the demands of signing a lucrative long-term deal over the winter, Tulowitzki was pressing a little bit, trying to pay back the team's faith in him. He was hitless in his first nine at_bats to begin the year.
But that dubious streak ended with a towering homer to center in the fourth.
Like that, a weight was lifted.
``It was only two games. A lot of people were panicking or something,' Tulowitzki said. ``I wasn't very happy myself. I always want to get hits. But at the same time, you look at it and it is two games.'
Chacin had his first appearance pushed back two days after a rainout Sunday and a scheduled off day Monday. He was antsy early, but settled into a groove. His fastball popping, he worked his way out of one jam after another.
The 23-year-old has typically fared well against the Dodgers in his young career, improving to 4-3 with a 2.40 ERA.
``I pitched how I was expecting to pitch,' Chacin nonchalantly said. ``I did what I was supposed to do - throw strikes and win the game.'
Kershaw was coming off a season opener in which he struck out nine in seven stellar innings against the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants.
So dominant was Kershaw that Rockies manager Jim Tracy said before the game he belonged on the short list of NL Cy Young candidates.
Kershaw wasn't nearly as sharp in the thin air at Coors Field, striking out eight before being pulled for a pinch hitter in the seventh.
``He's one of the best in the game. He's given us problems since I've been here,' Tulowitzki said of Kershaw. ``He has great stuff. I don't think you're ever onto him, but you can get some good swings off of him every once in a while. I think if you talked to him he'll say he missed a couple of spots.'
Third baseman Ty Wigginton saved a run in the fifth. With two outs and Carroll on third, Tony Gwynn Jr. hit a high chopper that Wigginton retreated on, snared, set and skipped across the diamond to Todd Helton, who dug it out just before Gwynn stepped on the bag.
It was that kind of game for the Dodgers.
``We had some chances tonight,' Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. ``That guy (Chacin) has given us trouble in the past. He's pitched well against us. He's got good stuff.'
NOTES: Mattingly said it's likely INF Casey Blake will be activated Wednesday. Blake went on the DL, retroactive to March 22, with a back injury. ... The Rockies may have to juggle their rotation later this week if the cracked cuticle on ace Ubaldo Jimenez's pitching hand doesn't heal soon. ... INF Ivan De Jesus was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque after the game. He is the son of former major league infielder Ivan De Jesus Sr., who played 15 years, including three for the Dodgers.
The Associated Press News Service
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