Maeda allows 2 hits in 6 2/3 innings, Dodgers beat Rox 3-0

Los Angeles Dodgers' Austin Barnes, right, scores past Colorado Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta on a sacrifice fly by Matt Kemp during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

LOS ANGELES (AP) Kenta Maeda dominated Colorado’s hitters, retiring 10 of his final 14 batters on strikeouts.

The Japanese right-hander is coming up big at a time when the Los Angeles Dodgers are down three starters: ace Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill and Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Maeda tossed two-hit ball into the seventh inning and struck out a season-high 12 to help the Dodgers beat the NL West-leading Rockies 3-0 on Wednesday night and win consecutive series for just the second time this season.

Maeda has struck out 20 and allowed no runs in his last two starts, both victories.

”Being able to put away guys quickly, like on three pitches, has been key to racking up strikeouts,” he said through a translator.

Maeda didn’t give up a hit until the fifth inning, when Ian Desmond singled to right with one out. Maeda (4-3) walked a career-high-tying four over 6 2/3 innings in earning just his second win since April 18.

”He was in control,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. ”He’s attacking and he’s more efficient, allowing for him to go deeper. Even in the seventh, there were some 92s (mph) in there.”

The Dodgers took two of three from the Rockies, outscoring them 9-5 to improve to 10-14 at home. Los Angeles has won six of seven, including a three-game sweep at Washington last weekend.

Maeda struck out the side in the fourth and struck out four in a row over the sixth and seventh innings.

”He’s doing a really good job of getting ahead of hitters,” catcher Austin Barnes said. ”His last two starts he’s executed really well.”

Maeda was on his way to an immaculate inning in the seventh, having struck out Trevor Story and Ian Desmond on six pitches. But he was removed after giving up a two-out walk to Chris Iannetta and throwing a season-high 111 pitches.

”I thought of that,” Maeda said of possibly throwing nine pitches in the inning. ”I was a little greedy so maybe that’s why I couldn’t get there. I really wanted to be able to finish that last hitter.”

Kenley Jansen struck out three and allowed a single to Story in the ninth for his 10th save.

Reliever Scott Alexander gave up the only other hit by the Rockies on a single to Charlie Blackmon in the eighth.

The Dodgers took a 2-0 lead in the fourth. Logan Forsythe had a ground-rule RBI double to left field and Yasiel Puig added an RBI when he grounded into a fielder’s choice to shortstop.

Matt Kemp added a sacrifice fly in the fifth.

Trailing 3-0, the Rockies had runners on first and third in the sixth. Charlie Blackmon walked before David Dahl lined a single to right with one out. Maeda got Nolan Arenado and Gerardo Parra on back-to-back swinging strikes to end the threat.

”It looked like he was painting the corners with all of his pitches,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. ”We were trying to put the ball in play but it just didn’t happen. His last start was outstanding. He followed it up with another good one.”

Rockies starter Kyle Freeland (4-5) gave up three runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings while having his three-game winning streak snapped. The left-hander struck out three and walked three.

The heart of Colorado’s order failed to generate much offense. Dahl went 1 for 4 with two strikeouts, Arenado had three strikeouts and a walk, and Parra was 1 for 4 with three strikeouts.

”He beat us pretty good,” Arenado said of Maeda.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) threw a bullpen session that manager Dave Roberts said went well.

TURNER TURNS IT UP

Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner improved his average to .303 in nine games since coming off the disabled list after missing the start of the season. He went 2 for 4 with a run scored.

UP NEXT

Rockies: They return home to open a three-game series Friday against Cincinnati. RHP Jon Gray (4-6, 5.34 ERA) starts. He’s coming off a season-low 3 2/3 innings while giving up five runs and nine hits in his last start on May 19 at San Francisco.

Dodgers: After an off-day, RHP Ross Stripling (1-1, 2.08) takes the mound Friday in the series opener against the Padres. He is 1-3 with a 4.05 ERA in eight career games against San Diego.

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