DENVER (AP) — On an afternoon Cody Bellinger had a homer negated due to a baserunning mistake, the Colorado Rockies played plenty of small ball to beat the defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers 8-5 Thursday in their season opener.
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Mookie Betts #50 of the Los Angeles Dodgers slides in to score on a single off the bat of Max Muncy during the sixth inning against the Colorado Rockies on Opening Day at Coors Field on April 1, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
The Rockies scored runs courtesy of a squeeze play, two wild pitches, a groundout, an error and three RBI singles.
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Colorado started off on the right foot against Clayton Kershaw and the perennial NL West-champion Dodgers, who owned a 22-7 record over the Rockies the last two seasons.
Reliever Chi Chi Gonzalez picked up the win in allowing three runs over two innings. Daniel Bard pitched a shaky ninth but got Mookie Betts to line out with the bases loaded to pick up the save as 20,570 fans were allowed into Coors Field.
This marked the first time Colorado opened in Denver since 2011.
It was a tough day for the Dodgers on the base paths.
Bellinger hit a homer — and was called out before he could finish his trot.
Bellinger lined what appeared to be a two-run homer to left-center in the third inning. The ball hit off the glove of outfielder Raimel Tapia and bounded over the fence. Justin Turner was on first base at the time and believing the ball was caught, retreated back to the bag. Bellinger passed Turner in the confusion and the umpires ruled Bellinger out.
Officially, Bellinger was credited with a single and an RBI, but no home run. Rockies second baseman Chris Owings picked up the putout on the crazy play for being the closest fielder.
This was a rare rocky season opener for Kershaw (0-1), who allowed 10 hits and six runs, five earned, over 5 2/3 shaky innings. In his previous eight opening day starts, Kershaw’s 1.05 ERA was the lowest of any pitcher (minimum 40 innings) since 1913, eclipsing the marks of Bob Feller (1.21) and Jim Palmer (1.40). Kershaw’s ninth opening day start sent his ERA to 1.73.
Dodgers reliever Jimmy Nelson allowed two runs in the seventh courtesy of wild pitches to make it 8-4.
Rockies starter Germán Márquez gave up six hits, walked six and allowed one run over four innings.
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Dodgers: C Austin Barnes left in the seventh inning after appearing to hurt his hand on a close play at the plate following a wild pitch.
Rockies: LHP Kyle Freeland (strained left shoulder) and INF Brendan Rodgers (strained right hamstring) were placed on the 10-day injured list.
NEW SEASON, SAME GOAL
Entering the season as the defending champions doesn’t feel any different to Turner.
“It’s the same excitement, the same buzz, the same opportunity in front of us,” he said.
ALL IN THE FAMILY
Sometimes, shortstop Trevor Story will glance over at third base and swear Nolan Arenado is still around. Josh Fuentes has a resemblance to Arenado — and happens to be Arenado’s cousin.
Fuentes stepped in at third for Arenado, who was an eight-time Gold Glove winner for the Rockies before being dealt to St. Louis in the offseason.
“I always tell him I have to take a double-take to decipher him and Nolan sometimes,” Story said.
Reigning NL Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer makes his Dodgers debut against Colorado on Friday. Bauer was 5-4 with a 1.73 ERA last season for Cincinnati. Rockies righty Antonio Senzatela was 5-3 with 3.44 ERA in 2020.
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