Hoping to come together in time for a big finish to the season, the revamped Los Angeles Dodgers relied on holdovers and newcomers alike to get back on a winning track.
Joe Blanton pitched effectively into the eighth inning for his first win with Los Angeles and A.J. Ellis hit his first career grand slam in a 10-8 win over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday.
Hanley Ramirez, another mid-season acquisition by the Dodgers, also homered in his second straight game to help the Dodgers overcome the absence of slugging center fielder Matt Kemp and withstand a late rally that saw Colorado score seven runs in the eighth inning. Kemp, whose status was characterized as day to day, sat out with a bone bruise on his left knee and sore jaw suffered in a collision with the center field wall the night before while trying to chase down a fly ball.
”That’s kind of our team now, but we’re just getting to know each other,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. ”It’s definitely a different feel. Hopefully, we can put this thing together quick and get that rhythm that we need to play. But really, it comes down to a matter of getting the pitching and scoring runs.”
The Dodgers did both in snapping a three-game losing streak that came on the heels of last week’s blockbuster deal with Boston in which they added such headliners as pitcher Josh Beckett and Adrian Gonzalez, who had two hits, including a two-run single.
Blanton (9-12), who was 0-3 with a 7.71 ERA in four previous starts since joining the Dodgers in an Aug. 3 trade with Philadelphia, struck out five and walked one in 7 1/3 innings. It was his first win since July 16 when he beat the Dodgers in one of his last starts for the Phillies.
”As a starter, sometimes it’s not necessary to get the win, just making sure the team gets the win, but that hadn’t happened either way in my last couple of starts,” Blanton said. ”I think the most important thing right now are the team wins, not the individual wins.
”And I think the good thing is that everybody that has come over and everybody that was here before, we have a common goal: We want to win and I think any time you have that, hopefully good things are going to happen, because everybody is thinking the right things out there.”
Drew Pomeranz (1-8) lost his fifth consecutive decision since his lone win of the season July 6 against Washington. He allowed six runs on six hits, walked none and struck out four.
Pomeranz retired the first six batters he faced before running into trouble in the third, when the Dodgers sent nine batters to the plate and scored six runs.
Juan Rivera and Ellis began the Dodgers’ big inning with successive singles and advanced on Blanton’s sacrifice. After Mark Ellis reached on first baseman Jordan Pacheco’s fielding error that also allowed Rivera to score, Shane Victorino followed with an RBI single and Adrian Gonzalez, part of the latest wave of newcomers included in the Dodgers’ blockbuster trade last week with the Boston Red Sox, chipped in with a two-run single.
Ramirez capped the burst with his 22nd homer of the season and eighth homer in 32 games with the Dodgers since coming to Los Angeles from Miami.
After Colorado got an RBI single from Tyler Colvin in the seventh for its first run, the Dodgers stretched their lead to 10-1, loading the bases against reliever Will Harris before A.J. Ellis connected for his 11th home run of the season.
”At the time, you’re just glad to be adding on runs and giving yourself more of a cushion and hopefully rest some of the key guys in our bullpen,” A. J. Ellis said. ”Unfortunately, we needed those runs and I was just glad I could support and help out. It’s a big win for us because it gets those good feelings back. We need to win as many as we can.”
The Rockies sent 11 batters to the plate in their half of the eighth.
”We know we can score runs, we find a way to put runs on the board,” said the Rockies Carlos Gonzalez. ”Just one bad inning with the grand slam. That was a great run, a great effort for the guys. We still got the series, so that’s a good thing.”
Blanton retired the first batter he faced and gave up successive singles to Pacheco and Ramon Hernandez before being relieved by Shawn Tolleson, who gave up three run-scoring singles and a walk before being lifted for Randy Choate.
Choate hit Tyler Colvin with a pitch, forcing in another run and bringing on reliever Ronald Belisario. The Rockies added three more runs in the inning on Josh Rutledge’s fielder’s choice, Carlos Gonzalez’s RBI single and an error by center fielder Victorino.
Belisario got the final five outs for his first save since Sept. 29, 2010, which also was against Colorado.
”It’s not exactly the way, when you’re up to 10-1, that you want to win that game, but at the end of the day you walk out of here with a `W,’ and you don’t care how you got it,” Mattingly said.
NOTES: The Dodgers return to LA to open a homestand Thursday against the Diamondbacks, with LHP Clayton Kershaw (12-7) going against Arizona’s Ian Kennedy (11-11). … The Rockies are off Thursday before hosting the San Diego Padres in a three-game set over the weekend. … The Dodgers placed LHP Scott Elbert on the 15-day disabled list with left elbow inflammation and recalled RHP Shawn Tolleson Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. … Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki (groin) and 1B Jason Giambi (viral illness) were scheduled to play Wednesday night for Triple-A Colorado Springs as part of their rehab assignments. … All 15 hits for the Rockies were singles.