DENVER (AP) — The Rockies had their best hitter at the plate and the go-ahead run 90 feet away.
Troy Tulowitzki couldn’t cash in and Colorado’s downward spiral continued in a 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday night.
Zack Greinke pitched eight solid innings, Juan Uribe hit the go-ahead single in the ninth inning and the Dodgers sent Colorado to its 15th loss in 17 games.
“We had a couple opportunities,” Colorado manager Walt Weiss said.
Justin Morneau and DJ LeMahieu had two hits apiece for the Rockies, who have lost four straight to fall within a half-game of last place in the NL West.
Not even the return of third baseman Nolan Arenado could snap the Rockies’ losing streak. Arenado played for the first time since fracturing his left middle finger in Atlanta on May 23 and went hitless in four at-bats.
“To be back out here is refreshing,” he said.
It looked like the Rockies were going to make it a happy return when they rallied off Greinke (11-4) in the eighth inning.
Charlie Blackmon led off with a single and one out later Morneau tripled to right-center to tie the game 2-2. Greinke got Troy Tulowitzki, who entered Thursday hitting a major league best .351, to fly out to short left.
After an intentional walk to Corey Dickerson he struck out Arenado with a high fastball.
“It was a total ball. I got a little overly anxious,” Arenado said. “I knew he was coming around middle-in and I just over swung a little bit. Bad pitch to swing at.”
Greinke (11-4) got the win when the Dodgers rallied in the ninth. Matt Kemp worked a leadoff walk off LaTroy Hawkins (2-2), went to second on Scott Van Slyke’s groundout and scored when Uribe singled under the glove of second baseman DJ LeMahieu.
“I didn’t see it off the bat too well. By the time I saw it, I felt it was kind of by me,” LeMahieu said. “It’s a play I feel like I still (should) make.”
Kenley Jansen worked the bottom of the inning to get his NL best 26th save in 29 chances.
Uribe finished with three of the Dodgers’ six hits.
Colorado lefty Franklin Morales was making his first start since allowing six runs in 5 1-3 innings at Cleveland on May 31. He made eight relief appearances in June, going 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in 14 innings. He was pressed into his 12th start after right-hander Jhoulys Chacin went on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.
Morales worked five innings, allowing an RBI single to Adrian Gonzalez in the third and a sacrifice fly to A.J. Ellis in the fourth to make it 2-0.
“Frankie did his part. He gave us exactly what we needed,” Weiss said. “We were hoping he would give us five, have us in position to win. That’s exactly what he did.”
Morales surrendered two runs – one earned – on four hits and struck out four.
The Rockies got one back in the fifth when LeMahieu reached second when Yasiel Puig misplayed his two-out single. LeMahieu scored on Josh Rutledge’s pinch-hit double.
NOTES: Before the game the Rockies activated Arenado from the 15-day DL and optioned LHP Christian Friedrich to Triple-A Colorado Springs. … Weiss said LHP Boone Logan could be activated from the 15-day DL “in a day or two.” … The Dodgers will send LHP Clayton Kershaw (9-2, 2.04) against Colorado RHP Jair Jurrjens, whom the Rockies acquired Wednesday from Cincinnati.