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Dodgers flop in clutch, lose 3-1 to Rockies

Associated Press Published: August 8, 2012

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Dodgers' inconsistent offense is starting to show holes again, and the Colorado Rockies' struggling pitching staff has found them — particularly with runners in scoring position.

Los Angeles is 0 for 13 with runners in scoring position over the last two games against a staff that entered this series with a major league-worst 5.51 ERA — in addition to allowing the most runs, hits and homers in the majors. The only run for the Dodgers in Tuesday night's 3-1 loss came on a double by James Loney that scored Hanley Ramirez from first base.

"We did have some opportunities and actually hit some balls on the nose, but we didn't get it done as far as getting the big hit," manager Don Mattingly said. "I had a sense that the guys were trying too hard for me tonight, trying to force it and make things happen. We just want them to make sure they're relaxed and keep it simple."

Aaron Harang (7-7) was charged with three runs and six hits in six-plus innings. The right-hander escaped bases-loaded jams in the first and fifth — the latter on an inning-ending double play by rookie Jordan Pacheco. But that came three batters after rookie Josh Rutledge doubled home the first run of the game.

"They're playing well and they're battling us," Harang said. "I've been on teams like that where you have nothing to lose, so they've been coming out hard. They're scraping runs together and their pitching's been holding us down."

Josh Roenicke (4-0) pitched three innings of scoreless, one-hit relief for the victory. The right-hander took over for Alex White, who threw 80 pitches in four innings and allowed one hit and five walks before he was lifted for a pinch-hitter.

"He continues to have a terrific season for us," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said about Roenicke. "I think what's noteworthy is that he's done a much better job of pounding the strike zone. His stock just keeps improving."

It was the fifth straight game in which a Rockies starter didn't reach the fifth. In the series opener Monday night, Drew Pomeranz threw 84 pitches over four innings and was lifted with a two-run lead before Adam Ottavino and the bullpen closed out a 2-0 victory. Tracy has been using a four-man rotation, so every starter is restricted to about 75 pitches.

"It's a little different, that's for sure," Mattingly said. "It's a little bit more like a spring training game, because you're not getting the same type of look from the second guy that you got from the starter. But we've seen this White a couple of times, we've seen Roenicke, we've seen Pomeranz and (Ottavino). So you can prepare. There's plenty of video and preparation to be able to know what a guy's throwing."

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