Kemp, Gonzalez homer in Dodgers’ win over Rockies
LOS ANGELES (AP) Don Mattingly had enough confidence to keep Chris Withrow on the mound with one out in the eighth inning after he walked the bases loaded. It paid off against two of the toughest outs in the majors.
Withrow struck out Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki to escape the jam and help preserve a 6-3 victory for Paul Maholm and the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night.
”Obviously, you don’t like to see the bases loaded with those guys coming up,” Maholm said. ”But you’ve got confidence in Chris because with the stuff he has, he can strike out anybody and get out of anything he gets himself into.”
Withrow, a first-round draft pick by the Dodgers in 2007, relieved Maholm with a 5-2 lead and walked the bases loaded. But Gonzalez, who has hit 15 homers against the Dodgers since the start of the 2010 season, fanned on a 1-2 pitch and Tulowitzki whiffed on a 2-2 delivery.
”That’s a perfect situation for me and Tulo to change the game, but it didn’t happen tonight,” Gonzalez said.
Adrian Gonzalez homered for the third straight game and Matt Kemp also went deep in support of Maholm (1-2). The left-hander threw 84 pitches over seven innings, allowing two runs and six hits in his fourth start with the defending NL West champions.
”Everything was working,” Maholm said. ”I was able to throw breaking balls for strikes. I fell behind some guys, but I was confident enough in my sinker to throw it behind in the count and get some groundballs. I felt way more in rhythm today than I have in any other outing.”
Maholm, a veteran left-hander who signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract as a free agent in February, had lost his previous seven decisions against the Rockies and was 1-8 with a 6.63 ERA in 10 career starts against them.
”I can’t tell you I was the most confident person going to the mound, knowing my history against them,” Maholm said. ”But I haven’t faced them in a few years, and I think I’ve changed as a pitcher since then. Besides, I wasn’t pitching in Colorado, so you just go out there, try to get ahead and get groundballs.”
Yasiel Puig added an insurance run in the ninth with a ground-rule double, and Kenley Jansen got three outs for his ninth save after Brian Wilson walked the first two batters in the ninth – one of whom scored on a bases-loaded groundout by Charlie Culberson.
Juan Nicasio (2-1) gave up five runs and eight hits in 4 1-3 innings for Colorado.
The Dodgers grabbed a 3-1 lead with three runs in the third, capped by Kemp’s towering drive to right field that barely cleared Brandon Barnes’ outstretched glove as he made a leaping try. Kemp initially thought he was robbed of a homer – as did the crowd of 45,241 – until Barnes opened his empty glove. A relieved Kemp then continued his jog around the bases with a huge grin after his second homer in 52 at-bats since the pair he hit against San Francisco’s Matt Cain on April 6 at Dodger Stadium.
”I thought he caught the ball. Then I saw him slam his glove on the ground and that showed me that he didn’t, so I was happy about that,” Kemp said.
Puig added a two-out RBI single in the fourth – the first time this season that he’s driven in runs in back-to-back games after his home run and RBI single Friday night. Gonzalez led off the fifth with his 1,500th career hit, an opposite-field homer to left that gave the Dodgers a 5-2 lead.
The Rockies opened the scoring in the third on Barnes’ two-out RBI single.
Colorado got another run in the fifth on Justin Morneau’s RBI single, following a double to center by Wilin Rosario that Kemp lost in the twilight. But second baseman Gordon kept the damage to a minimum when he robbed DJ LeMahieu of a single up the middle with a diving play and started an inning-ending double play with a backhanded flip to shortstop Justin Turner.
NOTES: Ramirez left the game because of a bruised right thumb. X-rays were negative. … Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will throw another bullpen session Monday, following the 56-pitch minor league rehab start he had on Friday night with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga. Mattingly would prefer one more rehab start for the two-time Cy Young Award winner, who hasn’t pitched since the season opener on March 22 in Australia because of a muscle strain in his upper back. ”I know our medical staff does. I’m not sure if Kersh buys into that,” Mattingly said. ”There’s been a small debate going on, but I don’t want to be a part of the debate. We’ll just see how his `pen goes, and go from there. He felt good today. He said he felt like he didn’t even pitch.” … Colorado RHP Chris Martin made his big league debut with a scoreless seventh inning, a day after the team purchased his contract from Triple-A Colorado Springs. … Rockies 3B Nolan Arenado extended his career-best hitting streak to 16 games with a sixth-inning single.