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Seventh-inning rally saves Dodgers

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DENVER (AP)

Juan Pierre has stepped to the fore as the Los Angeles Dodgers' offensive catalyst since becoming a fixture in the lineup in place of suspended outfielder Manny Ramirez. He was at it again Wednesday, joining Mark Loretta to hit successive RBI singles with two outs during a seventh-inning rally, and the Dodgers then held off the Colorado Rockies 8-6 for a three-game sweep. "J.P. had that base hit off the second baseman's glove, and we were off to the races after that," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "He had some injuries last year and lost his starting job. A lot of stuff went on for this kid that he handled and it's certainly paying dividends for us now." Losing pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez acknowledged what other pitchers facing Pierre have already discovered — he's one tough out. "He was battling out there," Jimenez said. "I was throwing inside, away. The last pitch was a good pitch, but it was high." In the 19 games Pierre has started in left field since Ramirez's suspension, he has batted .421 (35 for 83). He went 3 for 5 with two RBI for a second straight game and hit .500 in the series against the Rockies (8 for 16) with a pair of triples, a double and seven RBI. Pierre did not comment following the game but one of his teammates had plenty to say. "J.P. has been on fire ever since he's been starting," winning pitcher Clayton Kershaw said. "But everybody is stepping up. I can't say enough about this team. I give all the credit to them. They bailed me out today." The Dodgers trailed 3-2 before scoring five times in the seventh, capped by James Loney's three-run double. Colorado scored three runs in the ninth and had the bases loaded with two outs, but Jonathan Broxton retired pinch-hitter Brad Hawpe on a grounder to end it. The Dodgers beat the Rockies for the eighth time in nine games and swept them for the second time this season. Colorado lost its fifth in a row at home and dropped a season-low 10 games below .500 overall. "They've beat us, beat us up the whole year," Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said. "It's frustrating especially when they're in the same division as us and they're in first, we're in last. They keep gaining ground. It's definitely frustrating." Los Angeles hit into three double plays in the first six innings. Matt Kemp drew a one-out walk in the seventh from Ubaldo Jimenez and Juan Castro singled. Pierre, who had three hits and drove in two runs, hit a tying single that chased Jimenez (3-6). Loretta singled off Manny Corpas for a 4-3 lead. After Orlando Hudson walked, Loney greeted Randy Flores with his big double. Kershaw (3-3) allowed three runs on four hits in six innings. Broxton was one of three Dodgers relievers in the ninth. Pinch-hitter Seth Smith's RBI triple keyed the Rockies' comeback in the ninth. Todd Helton drew a bases-loaded walk before Hawpe batted for Murton and grounded out to short. Colorado pulled to 2-1 on a third-inning balk by Kershaw that scored Clint Barmes. The Rockies went ahead 3-2 an inning later when Matt Murton doubled and Ryan Spilborghs homered. The Dodgers got an RBI single from Loney in the first and went up 2-0 in the second when Jimenez dropped a throw while covering first for an error, allowing Andre Ethier to come home.

Notes

The Rockies have an off day Thursday, ending a stretch of 16 consecutive games. ... Hudson's broken-bat, infield single in the sixth extended his hitting streak to a career-high 17 games. ... Colorado allowed a bases-loaded extra-base hit in each of its last three losses to the Dodgers. ... The Dodgers are the only team to have swept Colorado this season. Their previous sweep of the Rockies was April 17-19 in Los Angeles. ... The Dodgers have outscored the Rockies 74-43 in nine games between the NL West rivals. ... Kershaw has had a balk in consecutive starts.
Tagged: Dodgers, Rockies

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