- Associated Press - Sunday, May 17, 2015

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Strikeouts have become a growing concern for the Colorado Rockies’ offense, and the Los Angeles Dodgers didn’t make things any easier for them.

The Rockies struck out 54 times in their four-game series against a pitching staff that has fanned 343 batters this season, second most in the majors behind Cleveland’s 345. Eleven of those Ks came in Sunday’s 1-0 loss.

“That’s too many strikeouts. We’ve got to get better with two strikes,” manager Walt Weiss said. “I know the Dodgers strike out hitters. That’s a big part of what they do on the mound. But, still, we’ve got to compete better and save more at-bats than we have recently.”

Leadoff hitter Charlie Blackmon, who struck out nine times in the series, was ejected by umpire Marty Foster in the third inning after a swinging strikeout that stranded runners at the corners. Blackmon was fuming about a called strike earlier in the at-bat.

“We had some questions on some calls,” Weiss said. “It happens from time to time, but the one with Charlie happened in a key spot in the game. I mean, it’s part of the game, and you have to deal with it - but there were some tough calls in some tough spots.”

Blackmon has no RBIs in 36 at-bats since his solo homer against Craig Kimbrel on May 3 at San Diego, which no doubt compounded his frustration.

“I’m not blaming anything on anybody. I got frustrated and I overreacted,” Blackmon said after his first ejection in 338 big league games. “When something like that happens, you collect your composure and continue to compete - and I failed to do that right there.

Third baseman Nolan Arenado was more diplomatic about Foster’s strike zone than Blackmon and Weiss.

“I don’t think we can blame it on that. We had pitches to hit,” Arenado said. “We’re trying to take advantage of guys before we get to two strikes. Speaking for myself, I didn’t take advantage of anything today.”

The timing of the Rockies’ fifth straight double-digit strikeout game - including 14 against the Angels on Wednesday - coincidentally came on a day when their starting pitcher’s initials were K.K.

Kyle Kendrick (1-5) was the hard-luck loser, limiting the NL West leaders to a run and three hits over seven innings with five walks and one strikeout. The right-hander came in with a 9.27 ERA and 10 home runs allowed in six starts since his 10-0 win at Milwaukee on opening day.

“I didn’t get the W, so it’s not as satisfying as it could be,” Kendrick said. “I was getting ahead in the count today most of the time and gave the team a chance to win.”

The Dodgers got their run in the fourth on Yasmani Grandal’s hit toward the hole past shortstop Daniel Descalso, after Adrian Gonzalez singled with two outs and Justin Turner walked. They threatened for more in the sixth, but Andre Ethier lined out to center field after Kendrick walked the bases full.

“I could have gone with a matchup there, but I felt like Kyle was really battling. He deserved it, and he came through by getting Ethier out,” Weiss said.

The Rockies ended up with a split, after snapping their 11-game streak Thursday night with a series-opening 5-4 win on Carlos Gonzalez’s three-run homer with two out in the ninth inning.

“Coming in here and splitting with these guys is not the worst thing,” said Weiss, who missed the first two games after undergoing an emergency appendectomy. “I know it’s a bottom-line business, and this would have been a nice one to win and get on the plane.”

Mike Bolsinger (2-0) pitched three-hit ball through six innings, struck out six and allowed only one runner past first base.

Kenley Jansen, who returned from the disabled list Friday after left foot surgery in February and had four strikeouts in the eighth inning of the Dodgers’ 6-4 victory, was back in his customary closer’s role and pitched a perfect ninth for the save.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rockies: LF Corey Dickerson, who left Saturday night’s game for a pinch hitter in the sixth inning after aggravating the Plantar Fasciitis in his left foot, batted for Kendrick in the seventh and fouled out. … SS Troy Tulowitzki missed his third straight game because of stiffness in his left quadriceps.

Dodgers: LF Carl Crawford (right oblique strain) nor RF Yasiel Puig (left hamstring strain) have been sidelined for at least three weeks each, and both are eligible to come off the DL list. But neither is close to a minor league rehab assignment.

UP NEXT

Rockies: RHP Jordan Lyles (2-3) squares off against Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels in the opener of a three-game series at Coors Field. In his previous start last Wednesday, Lyles was knocked out of the game after he was struck on his pitching hand by a line drive off the bat of the Angels’ Albert Pujols in the first inning.

Dodgers: RHP Carlos Frias (3-0) opposes Tim Hudson on Tuesday night when the Dodgers open a three-game set at San Francisco before returning home to play the Padres.


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