Dodgers 8, Rockies 2
Another solid pitching performance and a rare burst of run support from the Los Angeles Dodgers was enough to end Hiroki Kuroda's lengthy drought against the Colorado Rockies.
Kuroda pitched six strong innings for his first career win against the Rockies, Rod Barajas and Tony Gwynn each hit home runs and the Dodgers beat Colorado 8-2 on Friday night.
''He's pitched really well all year long for us and tonight we were able to get him some runs,'' Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. ''He kept aggressive in the strike zone and basically made them put it in play and we got key outs.''
The last three innings of the game were played in a light rain and included the ejection of the Dodgers' Matt Kemp in the ninth by first base umpire Ted Barrett. The umpire ruled Kemp had gone around for a third strike rather than checked his swing, and Kemp stood at the plate in a show of disbelief before slowly walking back toward the dugout.
Barajas hit a three-run homer and drove in four runs. He left after the sixth with a mild right groin strain.
Mattingly said Barajas would be re-evaluated on Saturday and the Dodgers remained hopeful that he could serve as a backup if needed in Game 2 of the series, though that remained to be seen.
It was the first time Kuroda (9-14) had won a game in which he had allowed one or two runs since April 24.
''I'm glad you didn't tell me that before the game,'' Kuroda quipped through an interpreter. ''It's a little bit different (pitching with a lead) but having said that, this is Coors Field and they have a really great lineup, so no way could I relax on the mound.''
After a second consecutive win - Kuroda pitched seven scoreless innings in beating Houston the last time out - his ERA stands at 2.88, belying a record that includes a double-digit loss total.
Kuroda had entered 0-5 with a 5.81 ERA in nine previous starts against the Rockies, one of two National League teams he had not beaten during his four-year major league career. He finally broke into the win column by checking the Rockies on four hits and two runs with five strikeouts and three walks.
That left the St. Louis Cardinals as the only NL team Kuroda has yet to beat. He'll get a chance to change that, too, when he makes his next start in St. Louis on Wednesday.
''We'd only been scoring one, two runs for him for a long stretch and he was getting losses left and right while he was pitching really well,'' Gwynn said. ''To come out here and get some victories and have a lot of runs, where he could go out there and do his thing, I'm sure it was nice for him and I know we enjoyed doing it for him.''
The Dodgers jumped on Jason Hammel to give Kuroda a big cushion early, chasing the Rockies starter after three innings, his shortest outing of the season. Hammel (7-12) gave up six runs on six hits and was also hurt by a lack of control, walking three and uncorking two wild pitches.
''We didn't pitch tonight from a starting standpoint. That's basically what it boils down to,'' Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. ''They scored six runs before we got back around the second time through in our order. Jason did not have a good start at all.''
Leading 2-0, the Dodgers broke away with a four-run inning in the third that gave them a 6-0 lead. Aaron Miles drew a one-out walk, and twice advanced on wild pitches around a two-out walk to Juan Rivera before coming home on James Loney's single up the middle. Barajas followed with a three-run shot, driving Hammel's offering into the left field bleachers for his 12th homer of the season.
Gwynn connected off Edgmer Escalona for his second home run of the season leading off the fourth and Kemp added an RBI single in the seventh.
NOTES: Dodgers' OF Andre Ethier was held out of the starting lineup after having an ingrown nail on a big toe removed earlier in the day. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly described the injury as a ''one-day thing.'' ... Rockies OF Ryan Spilborghs, on the 15-day disabled list with a right heel injury, was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Saturday with Triple-A Colorado Springs. ... Relievers Matt Lindstrom (inflammation nerve upper right arm) and Huston Street (right triceps strain) were scheduled for their first bullpen sessions Saturday since they went on the 15-day disabled list. ... The Dodgers' Ted Lilly, who is 7-2 in 10 career starts against the Rockies, faces Esmil Rogers on Saturday in the second of a three-game series between the NL West rivals.