DENVER — The Dodgers received more bad news Friday about ace Kevin Brown, who returned to the disabled list for the sixth time in the last three seasons.
What followed only worsened their mood, as an umpire's questionable call contributed to a 7-6 loss to the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.
A crowd of 34,150 cheered as home-plate umpire Alfonso Marquez called ball four on a one-out, full-count pitch from setup man Paul Quantrill to Colorado pinch-hitter Greg Norton in the eighth inning, forcing in Todd Helton with the go-ahead run.
The Dodgers believed Quantrill had struck out Norton earlier in the count on a 1-and-2 pitch, but Marquez viewed things differently, enabling the Rockies to take a one-run lead.
"That's a very difficult way to lose a game," said Manager Jim Tracy, whose team dropped to 2-3 on a three-city, seven-game trip. "Norton was struck out. After looking at the [TV] replay, no doubt in my mind he was struck out.
"And with a guy with the kind of control that Paul Quantrill has, you're splitting hairs on the corner there. He made a fabulous two-strike pitch. It was strike three."
Recently promoted Colorado closer Justin Speier retired the Dodgers in order in the ninth for his fourth save in five chances. That completed another frustrating night for the Dodgers, who put Brown on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to July 4) because of a lower abdomen strain.
Wilson Alvarez will remain in the rotation and start Sunday against the Rockies in the Dodgers' final game before the All-Star break. Brown, who has decided not to attend the All-Star game, can come off the disabled list next Friday, but the Dodgers are uncertain about his status.
The right-hander underwent another MRI exam, and team medical personnel said they did not have the results late Friday. The Dodgers recalled right-hander Alfredo Gonzalez from double-A Jacksonville to take Brown's spot on the 25-man roster, and he was available against the Rockies.
The Dodgers (48-43) wasted another great night on offense for them, getting 13 hits and rallying from a 5-1 deficit but stranding 10 runners. Leadoff batter Cesar Izturis had three hits and two runs, and Adrian Beltre contributed three hits, including two doubles, and two RBIs.
However, the Dodgers scored only one run in the sixth -- that coming on a wild pitch -- despite loading the bases with one out and Shawn Green and Paul Lo Duca coming to the plate.
And it's not as if the Rockies (49-46) weren't helpful. They committed three errors -- including two by two-time Gold Glove first baseman Helton on one play in the seventh -- that contributed to four unearned runs. Helton also hit his 18th and 19th home runs against Dodger starter Hideo Nomo.
Paul Shuey (3-2) took the loss after Nomo (six innings, six earned runs) failed to pitch at least seven innings for only the third time in 20 starts. Brian Fuentes (2-0) pitched a scoreless inning for a victory the Dodgers grumbled about.
"The two-strike pitch, that's the one I wanted," Quantrill said. "I thought it was the same pitch as I got called [for a strike] on the first one. Close pitch, didn't get it."
With Shuey pitching, Helton walked to start the eighth and Preston Wilson singled to left. Left-hander Tom Martin got Larry Walker on a grounder for the first out, advancing the runners to second and third. Jay Payton, who had a three-run double in the first, was walked intentionally to load the bases, and Norton hit for Charles Johnson.
Quantrill quickly worked an 0-and-2 count on Norton, and then things turned for the Dodgers when Marquez called his fourth pitch a ball.
"Bottom line is, I need to make Norton put the ball in play, so it's my bad," Quantrill said. "I didn't get my job done, which is I can't give him the base that cost us the game.
"I wanted that pitch and I expected to get that pitch, but I can't control that. Once I get past that point, I simply have to make him put it in play. You don't get all the calls you want."