DENVER (AP) — Aaron Harang felt responsible for kicking off the Dodgers’ five-game skid. He was determined to end it.
He did, but not before facing several tense moments against one of baseball’s hottest team.
Harang pitched six strong innings, Bobby Abreu homered for the first time this year and the Los Angeles Dodgers ended a season-worst five-game skid with a 6-2 win over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday.
Andre Ethier and Elian Herrera had two hits and two RBIs each and James Loney also had two hits for the Dodgers.
The streak began with Harang taking the loss against Milwaukee on Monday, so he took it upon himself to reverse his team’s fortunes.
“I feel like I started the losing streak so I wanted to shut the door and finish it so we could start over fresh,” he said. “You want to come in and stop the bleeding.”
A day after the Rockies roughed up Los Angeles pitchers for 13 runs on 15 hits, Harang (4-3) held Colorado’s suddenly potent offense to one run on four hits and he worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth against the middle of Colorado’s lineup.
Leading 4-1, he gave up a single and two walks with hot-hitting Carlos Gonzalez coming to the plate. Harang bore down and got Gonzalez to foul out to third and Michael Cuddyer to ground out to second.
“Once I got past CarGo I could back down a little bit but I knew I had to be aggressive Cuddyer, too,” Harang said.
Harang’s work in the fifth gave the dugout a jolt of adrenaline.
“Innings here are just dangerous,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “It feels like they can take off. Aaron getting out of that with CarGo and Cuddyer was huge.”
Cuddyer and Wilin Rosario had RBI doubles and DJ LeMahieu had two hits for the Rockies, who had their five-game win streak snapped.
Colorado had 53 runs, 71 hits and 13 home runs during its winning streak but had only six hits Saturday. Gonzalez came into the game with six homers and a .577 average over his last six games and went 1 for 4. He slammed his bat after fouling out in the fifth.
“It was frustration for the moment,” Gonzalez said. “It was a pitch out of the strike zone. I should have taken that pitch and taken it to a different count. Just wait for my pitch to show up.”
Los Angeles came right back in the top of the sixth and tacked on two more runs on Abreu’s solo homer and Adam Kennedy’s RBI single to make it 6-1.
“You see how we responded the next inning, went out there and got a few runs,” Ethier said. “When (Harang) got in tough situations he pitched out of them and gave our offense a chance to go to work.”
The Dodgers took a 3-1 lead with two outs in the second on a two-run single by Herrera. The hit went through the legs of pitcher Juan Nicasio and sent him to the showers with a strained left knee.
Nicasio said he twisted his knee trying to avoid the ball, which he said hit him in the leg. Trainer Scott Gehret and manager Jim Tracy went to the mound and after a brief discussion Nicasio left the game in favor of Josh Roenicke.
“I tried to catch the ball and the ball hit me in my leg. He didn’t hit my knee,” he said. “There will be no MRI. I am going to be OK.”
Nicasio (2-3) has sustained far worse injuries on comebackers. He was hurt last Aug. 5 when a line drive by Washington’s Ian Desmond hit him in the head. He had surgery to have two pins inserted into his cracked C-1 vertebra and also had a small metal plate attached to the back of his neck.
This time Nicasio was able to walk off the field after allowing three runs, two earned, and four hits in 1 2-3 innings.
Los Angeles was able to build on its lead against Colorado’s bullpen. The Dodgers made it 4-1 when Ethier drew a bases-loaded walk in the fourth before adding two more in the sixth.
“We’ve been getting our hits (during the losing streak), we were just able to get some key hits to get some runs there,” Mattingly said.
LeMahieu led off the seventh with a single and scored on Rosario’s double to make it 6-2. Colorado had a chance for more but Gonzalez grounded sharply into a 3-6-3 double play to end the inning.
The Dodgers struck first when Tony Gwynn Jr., who reached on an error to lead off the game, scored on Ethier’s single to right.
Dexter Fowler tripled to start the bottom of the first and scored on Cuddyer’s two-out double off the center-field wall to tie it 1-all.
NOTES: The Rockies recalled LHP Rex Brothers from Triple-A and optioned RHP Carlos Torres. … Home plate umpire Chad Fairchild was shaken up when he was hit in the left arm by a foul ball by Gonzalez in the bottom of the first. He was tended to Gehret and had his left forearm wrapped after the inning ended. … Rockies 3B Jordan Pacheco was held out of the lineup with a sore left quadriceps muscle. … Dodgers OF Juan Rivera (strained left hamstring) will join the team when it travels to Philadelphia for a four-game series starting Monday.