Rapid Reaction: Rockies 8, Dodgers 7

DENVER -- Before his start, Dan Haren said trying to follow the strong performances of Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw would be a tough task for anyone on any staff.

And he proved as much on Saturday.

The previously ice-cold Colorado Rockies smashed the ball all over Coors Field against Haren, and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ ensuing rally came up just short in an 8-7 defeat.

In what appeared to be the Dodgers’ best chance to overcome a big deficit and take the lead, Juan Uribe grounded into a double play, and A.J. Ellis struck out to limit the Dodgers’ damage in the seventh inning.

How it happened: The Dodgers’ offense and Rockies’ relief pitchers were on the same page when it came to dissolving Colorado’s 8-2 lead. The Dodgers came up with four hits, and the Rockies surrendered four free passes and two passed balls before an out was recorded in the top of the seventh inning. Clint Robinson, Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig each drove in RBIs to cut the lead to 8-6 before Uribe’s bases-loaded double play put another run on the board to close the deficit to 8-7. Ellis, who led off the seventh with a ground-rule double, struck out swinging to end the inning five runs later.

Before that, Haren struggled with consistency, while Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa settled down to pitch six solid innings after giving up two runs in the first inning.

Hits: Ramirez looked fine after he was plunked on the left shoulder by Jair Jurrjens’ 89 mph fastball on Friday. Although it’s understandable to be worried about the health of Ramirez -- who was nearly put on the disabled list Thursday -- he looked healthy swinging the bat and running the bases on Saturday. He went 2-for-5 and drove in two runs in the loss.

Misses: Matt Kemp certainly didn’t help his pitcher’s cause with his bat or glove. He remained hitless in July (0-for-16) and went 0-for-4 Saturday. With two outs in the bottom of the third inning, he made a series of head-scratching defensive plays that helped the slumping Rockies grab three quick runs.

First, Kemp appeared to be in slow motion and couldn’t catch up to a blooper down the foul line hit by Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau, who turned the shallow shot into a double. Catcher Wilin Rosario followed with a line single that Kemp bobbled, thus allowing Morneau to score easily. Outfielder Drew Stubbs hit a two-run home run before Haren was finally able to get the last out of the inning.

Stat of the game: Haren’s ERA rose to 4.07 with the eight earned runs he gave up in 5 1/3 innings against the Rockies. Why is that important? Each pitcher on the team’s starting staff had a sub-4.00 ERA before Saturday.

Up next: The Dodgers will be with Josh Beckett (5-5, 2.37) against Yohan Flande (0-1, 6.10) in the series finale at 1:10 p.m. PT Sunday. They finish their six-game road trip with two games at the Detroit Tigers. After that, they’ll go home for a four-game series against the league’s worst offense, the San Diego Padres, before the All-Star break.