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Colorado Rockies can't figure out Kenta Maeda, lose 4-1 to the Los Angeles Dodgers

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It turns out Kenta Maeda might be pretty good.

The Colorado Rockies never figured out Kenta Maeda.
The Colorado Rockies never figured out Kenta Maeda.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies never figured out Kenta Maeda, and the Los Angeles Dodgers' starter's lights out performance was more than enough to win a pitcher's duel on Saturday evening at Coors Field, with the home team going down 4-1. With the loss, the Rockies are now 9-8 on the young season.

The Dodgers put up three runs early against Colorado and starter Tyler Chatwood, scoring one in the top of the first inning on an RBI groundout from Adrian Gonzalez. In the second inning, A.J. Ellis hit a two-run homer off Chatwood to give the Dodgers a three-run lead.

While Chatwood calmed down and put up zeroes from there, high pitch counts and lots of base runner traffic forced the Rockies' starter out of the game early, exiting after just four innings of work. In those four frames, Chatwood allowed the three runs (all earned) on six hits and two walks, while striking out seven hitters, on 95 pitches (52 strikes).

Kenta Maeda kept the Rockies off balance all day, getting 16 outs before he allowed his first hit, on a single to DJ LeMahieu. The Rockies eventually loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth inning, by far their best chance to score early, but the club left the bases loaded and never got to Maeda. The Japanese pitcher worked into the seventh inning, allowing just three hits—all singles—and one walk while striking out eight hitters.

For the Rockies' bullpen, Christian Bergman worked two solid innings, allowing just one run, and Carlos Estevez made his big league debut, working a perfect inning and retiring Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, and Howie Kendrick in short order in the top of the seventh inning, and following it up with a scoreless eighth inning, too.

The Rockies got on board in the bottom of the seventh, courtesy of the same man who started the fire on Friday night. Brandon Barnes drove in Ben Paulsen on a double to left-center field off Dodgers reliever Joe Blanton. That made it a three-run game and brought up DJ LeMahieu with Barnes on second and two outs, but LeMahieu flew out to center field to end the threat, and the Dodgers retained a three-run lead after seven full innings.

A quiet eighth for the Rockies at the plate led to a date with Kenley Jansen down three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, and the Dodgers' closer made quick work of Ryan Raburn, Paulsen, and Tony Wolters. Entering the game, Jansen hadn't allowed a run to the Rockies since September 2, 2013, having converted 19 consecutive saves against them in the process; that streak continued to 20 on Saturday night.

The Rockies and Dodgers will meet again on Sunday afternoon, with Jordan Lyles heading to the hill for the Rockies at 2:05 pm MT against Alex Wood.