Tulowitzki Benched, Rockies Lose

Tulowitzki was benched on Wednesday.

In this edition of Rockies Inside Pitch, the Rockies get another good effort from rookie right-hander Jason Hirsh, but the bats go silent against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Jamey Carrol makes his first start at shortstop for the Rockies, replacing the slumping Troy Tulowitzki. In other news, Rodrigo Lopez has been solid, and much more:

The Rockies got a not-so-subtle reminder from the Dodgers the past two nights of what they still need to accomplish to become a serious factor in the NL West.

Colorado ruined Los Angeles' home opener on Monday, but the Dodgers bounced back, and their 3-0 victory against the Rockies on Wednesday night gave the Rockies back-to-back lessons in the art of winning games that contenders win.

"I'm not going to make more out of it than it is, but this is the next step for us," manager Clint Hurdle said. "It is right there in front of us. It is a challenge we are looking to handle."

The Dodgers cashed in on the Rockies' missteps.

Rookie right-hander Jason Hirsh was the victim Wednesday, getting rattled by an aggressive baserunning stunt that the Dodgers turned into a two-out, three-run rally in the third.

"This isn't unfamiliar territory for us," Hurdle said. "We have to find a way to break through. They got a break and came through. We were not able to do that."

Hirsh started the third inning in style. He got Wilson Betemit to bounce back to the mound, and he struck out Brad Penny looking. Then came the struggle.

With an 0-2 count, Juan Pierre flipped a single to left, and Russell Martin followed with a single to right, moving Pierre to second. Then, with Hirsh standing on the mound in the stretch, looking in for a sign, Pierre and Martin pulled off a double steal, leaving Hirsh shocked.

"I wouldn't say I was rattled, but I was definitely surprised," Hirsh said. "Chris (Iannetta, the catcher) called for me to step off. I thought maybe it was a beach ball on the field because we've had a few of those. Hats off to them for being heads up. ... What it came down to was me not bearing down and making the pitch I need to make, especially with two out."

Nomar Garciaparra then singled to left, driving in two runs. Hirsh was called for a balk before throwing a pitch to Jeff Kent, advancing Garciaparra to second. Kent then lashed a single to left, scoring Garciaparra.

Last Game:DODGERS 3, ROCKIES 0: The Colorado bats went silent against Brad Penny and two Los Angeles relievers in a shutout defeat Wednesday. The Rockies mustered just two hits -- singles by Garrett Atkins and Chris Iannetta -- giving them a total of one run and six hits in the past two games.

NOTES, QUOTES:

  • LHP Tom Martin will join Class AAA Colorado Springs this week to begin a rehab assignment. He will pitch an inning Friday and Sunday. Martin has recovered from a right groin strain and used his time working out the last two weeks to regain his former high three-quarter arm slot, which he said has helped his command and movement.

  • SS Troy Tulowitzki, who has two hits in 15 at-bats on the road trip, was replaced by a pinch hitter for the first time Tuesday night, and he wasn't in the starting lineup for the first time this season on Wednesday. INF Jamey Carroll, who had started twice at second base in the first eight games, got the call at shortstop. Tulowitzki hit .200 in the first eight games of the season.

  • RHP Rodrigo Lopez has thrown 144 pitches in 13 innings of two starts, an average 2.94 pitches for each of the 49 batters he faced. That's the fewest pitchers per batter in the majors. RHP Roy Oswalt of Houston is second at 3.15, followed by RHP Jeff Suppan of Milwaukee at 3.21.

  • INF Jamey Carroll made his first start at shortstop Wednesday. He made only six start and 10 total appearances at shortstop last year. He was the Rockies primary second baseman in 2006, starting 102 games at that position.

  • OF John Mabry is the only position player who hasn't started a game for the Rockies. He is 0-for-4 as a pinch hitter.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 0 -- Extra-base hits for the Rockies at San Diego on Saturday and Sunday. They went without an extra-base hit in only seven games last season.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "What you don't want to do with a young player is let him get buried early. I learned that and learned that well from Don Baylor." -- Rockies manager Clint Hurdle on trying to protect rookie SS Troy Tulowitzki and C Chris Iannetta early in the season.

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