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Weary Dodgers shut out by Rockies’ Chad Kuhl

DENVER — The appeal of a Dodgers-Braves matchup featuring Freddie Freeman’s return to Atlanta was too much for ESPN to pass up for Sunday Night Baseball. Add in extra innings, a 4½-hour game played with playoff intensity and the Dodgers didn’t arrive at their Denver hotel until after 3 a.m. local time Monday (5 a.m. body-clock time).

They forgot to set a wake-up call.

Looking every bit the weary travelers they were, the Dodgers went down passively against right-hander Chad Kuhl, who held them to three hits in a 4-0 shutout victory for the Colorado Rockies on Monday night.

The Rockies – last in the NL West – have beaten the Dodgers in three of their four meetings this season, all at Coors Field.

Kuhl is the first pitcher to throw a complete-game shutout against the Dodgers since Steven Wright did it for the Boston Red Sox on August 5, 2016. Through May 24 of this year, the Dodgers hadn’t been shut out in 73 consecutive games. Since then, they have been shut out four times in 30 games.

Kuhl did it with such efficiency – 102 pitches and a 2-hour, 19-minute game – that the clubhouse attendants didn’t have the post-game spread ready for the Dodgers when they came in from the field.

“I think you could probably kind of see everybody was dragging a little bit,” said Gavin Lux, who had two of the Dodgers’ three hits. “But at the end of the day, we’ve got to find a way to compete a little better probably. It’s baseball. Chalk it up to that, move on to tomorrow and hopefully we get some better results.”

A nondescript right-hander with a career losing record (thanks to spending five seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates), Kuhl got his first major-league win against the Dodgers in 2016 and missed all of 2019 following – of course – Tommy John surgery. But he was smart enough Monday to let the Dodgers get themselves out. Kuhl’s pitch mix induced just seven swings and misses the entire game.

“It’s not ideal,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said when asked about the effects of the late night in Atlanta and early-morning arrival in Denver. “Obviously we tried to eliminate batting practice and let guys sleep in. But you could see a little bit, guys were dragging. But you still gotta go out there and play.”

The Dodgers … er, Kuhl needed 11 pitches or fewer to retire the side in five of the first six innings and he faced the minimum 18 batters, throwing just 61 pitches through six innings.

Only one reached base – Lux singled with one out in the third inning. Trayce Thompson followed with a deep fly ball to center field. Lux tried to tag up and advance to second base but was thrown out by Rockies center fielder Yonathan Daza for an inning-ending double play.

“Probably some of it,” Trea Turner said of the Dodgers’ weariness. “But … we just weren’t very good. We didn’t really deserve offensively to win that game. Our pitchers did a pretty good job of giving us a chance late. But offensively we were pretty bad. It happens.”

Freeman finally got the Dodgers’ second hit of the game when he singled with one out in the seventh inning. By then, the Rockies had all of their runs.

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