LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Colorado Rockies are so down in the dumps these days, they can't even muster up enough resistance to play the spoiler role in the final days of the worst season in the franchise's 20-year history.
Manager Jim Tracy, using a patchwork lineup on Saturday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers because of injuries to Todd Helton, Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, Jason Giambi, Dexter Fowler, Michael Cuddyer, Tyler Colvin and Eric Young Jr., had little to choose from on the bench to pinch-hit for starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood in the fifth inning with runners at the corners, two out and the Rockies trailing by two runs.
So Chatwood batted for himself and grounded into a fielder's choice before Josh Outman replaced him on the mound in the bottom half. Chatwood allowed two runs and five hits over four innings in a 3-0 loss, as the Dodgers got two home runs from Matt Kemp and six gritty innings from Joe Blanton to climb within two games of St. Louis for the second NL wild card spot.
``That's where we're at right now,' Rockies first baseman Jordan Pacheco said. ``We're not really in a position to do anything, so we're not going to hurt anybody anymore. It stinks when you're in that position with a chance to do something, and we haven't had many situations like that - especially in this series. So all you can do is roll with the punches.'
The beleaguered Rockies were down for the count long ago. Saturday's defeat was their 96th, breaking the franchise record set in their inaugural 1993 season and equaled in 2005. They have to win one of their final four games to avoid joining the Houston Astros in the 100-loss club, with the Chicago Cubs one loss away from 100 as well.
``We did all that we could do tonight, and we did it pretty well. But we weren't able to push a run across,' Tracy said. ``You cannot fault the effort of Tyler Chatwood - actually our entire group. Their big man hit a couple of solo homers. They scored three. We didn't get any.'
The Rockies, who lost the series opener 8-0, are averaging 2.3 runs in their eight games at Dodger Stadium this season - compared to 7.1 runs in the nine meetings between the teams at Coors Field.
``Kershaw got us yesterday and Blanton did tonight,' Pacheco said. ``A.J. (Ellis) did a great job back there calling pitches for Blanton and he just executed. He was throwing his cutter, curve ball, changeup and fastball for strikes.'
Chatwood (5-6) threw 74 pitches over four innings, allowing two runs and five hits. The 22-year-old right-hander, who began his big league career down the freeway with the Angels last season, was 4-5 with a 4.88 ERA in his 12 starts with the Rockies this season, including an 8-4 home win over the Dodgers on Aug. 28.
Kemp led off the fourth with a drive into the left field pavilion that traveled an estimated 461 feet. Hanley Ramirez singled one out later, stole second and scored on a two-out single by Ellis - the catcher's fifth consecutive game with at least one RBI after going 15 games and 44 at_bats without one.
``I feel like I threw the ball really well tonight,' Chatwood said. ``Just that one bad pitch to Kemp got me.'
Kemp added his 22nd homer in the eighth, an opposite-field drive to right against Josh Roenicke. It was his fifth career multihomer game and second this season, the other coming on April 14 against San Diego at Dodger Stadium.
Kemp is batting .229 with five homers and 13 RBIs in 23 games since hurting his left shoulder crashing into the center field fence at Coors Field in consecutive games last month while trying to catch triples by Josh Rutledge and Colvin.
``I feel like any other player would feel in the month of September,' Kemp said. ``Everybody's banged up at this time of the year, so you can't make excuses.
``I'm just seeing the ball and hitting the ball, putting some good wood on mistake pitches and driving the ball. That's what I'm used to doing and what I'm capable of doing,' he added. ``As long as I can get strikes to hit, I can be a pretty good hitter. It felt good to hit balls that hard. Hopefully I can do it the next four days.'
Blanton (10-13) scattered seven hits over six-plus innings, walked none and struck out six - including Wilin Rosario all three times the right-hander faced the NL's leading rookie in homers (27) and RBIs (70).
Ronald Belisario and Kenley Jansen each pitched a perfect inning and Brandon League did likewise in the ninth for his 15th save in 21 chances with the Dodgers and Seattle Mariners. He has converted all six opportunities with Los Angeles.
NOTES: Colorado has lost eight straight on the road and 13 of their last 14 away from Coors Field. ... Colorado and Milwaukee are the only teams that haven't gotten a complete game from their pitching staff this season. The Rockies - who have never gone an entire season without one - haven't had a complete-game victory since June 1, 2011, when Ubaldo Jimenez beat the Dodgers 3-0 with a four-hitter at Los Angeles. ... Rosario has committed 20 passed balls, and Colorado's pitchers have a 5.06 ERA when he's behind the plate. ... The Rockies are 30 games out of first place. The only time they finished a season 30 or more games off the pace in the franchise's 20-year history was their inaugural 1993 season, when they were 37 out under manager Don Baylor.
The Associated Press News Service
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