Dodgers rally in 7th to edge Rockies
Jonathan Broxton is accustomed to closing games in the ninth inning with the bases empty. Manager Joe Torre couldn't wait that long this time.
Broxton recorded the fourth five-out save of his career on Friday night, escaping a bases-loaded, one-out jam left by Hong-Chih Kuo and striking out four to preserve the Dodgers' 4-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies.
"He has overpowering stuff," said Rockies bench coach Jim Tracy, who managed the Dodgers at the start of Broxton's career. "He has the type of stuff that you look for at the back end of the game. It was just a matter of time, and you had to nurture that process along. Obviously he's arrived, and he showed that last year, and he's become their guy."
Broxton's biggest out was his first one, when Troy Tulowitzki struck out for the fifth time in eight hitless career at-bats against the right-hander.
"Joe just told me to be ready for him," Broxton said. "It's a big adrenaline rush out there, but you've go out there and keep it all inside you and throw strikes. I got ahead of them, and when I had a chance to put them away, I did.
"When you're in the bullpen, you've got to slam the door any way you can," he added. "I had to come up big in that eighth inning. Some days you're not going to have it, but tonight I had it. I just had to go out there and challenge guys. Throwing strikes and pitching ahead is the key."
Broxton then fanned Chris Iannetta on a slider to end the eighth and retired the side in order in the ninth, fanning pinch-hitter Ian Stewart and Dexter Fowler.
"When I had Mariano Rivera, I always proclaimed I was never going to use him before the ninth inning, and I always lied. I always chickened out," Torre said. "That was some kind of performance right there by Broxton. I mean, there's absolutely nowhere to go in that situation. You've got to go after people, and he just played hardball."
Mark Loretta capped a four-run seventh inning with a go-ahead RBI single, helping the Dodgers extend their winning streak to six games.
Guillermo Mota (1-0) pitched a scoreless seventh inning for the victory, his first in a Dodgers uniform since 2004 after stints with Florida, Cleveland, the New York Mets and Milwaukee. Starter Randy Wolf struck out nine in six innings for Los Angeles, allowing three runs and four hits.
Jorge De La Rosa pitched 5 1-3 scoreless innings for the Rockies, allowing five hits and departing with a 3-0 lead after walking two batters in the sixth. Glendon Rusch got pinch-hitter James Loney to ground into an inning-ending double play, but the defending NL West champions pulled ahead one inning later.
Matt Belisle did not retire any of the three batters he faced and was charged with three of the runs. Rafael Furcal singled, Orlando Hudson walked and Manny Ramirez singled home the Dodgers' first run - ending his five-game RBI drought. Alan Embree (0-1) came on, and Matt Kemp grounded into a force play that scored Hudson. Andre Ethier followed with a double to left-center that brought home Kemp.
Russell Martin looked at a called third strike from Jason Grilli. But Loretta, making his first start of the season at first base, dropped his bat on a breaking ball by the right-hander and looped it into short left field for a single that scored Ethier with the go-ahead run.
Brad Hawpe capped a three-run first inning with a homer to right-center on a 3-2 fastball from Wolf, after Ryan Spilborghs drew a walk and scored on Garrett Atkins' two-out double.
De La Rosa got himself in trouble in the second inning with a two-base throwing error over the head of first baseman Todd Helton, after fielding Wolf's comebacker. But the left-hander escaped the jam by retiring Furcal on a foul pop with runners at second and third.
Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said before the game that he was putting Manny Corpas back in the closer's role after a few poor outings by Huston Street, who has allowed four runs and eight hits in 2 3-3 innings over his first four appearances - including a pair of home runs.
Corpas began last season as the closer, but finished up as the setup man to Brian Fuentes. Street, acquired from the A's in the Matt Holliday trade, had a career-high 37 saves for Oakland in 2006 after being named AL Rookie of the Year the previous season.
The victory was Torre's 2,159th in the regular season, overtaking Bucky Harris for sixth place on the career list. Torre's next target is Sparky Anderson at 2,194. ... RHP Juan Morillo, who was designated for assignment by the Rockies on April 10 to make room on the roster for Belisle, was claimed off outright waivers by the Minnesota Twins. ... The Dodgers placed utilityman Doug Mientkiewicz on the 15-day disabled list because of a separated right shoulder and recalled INF Blake DeWitt from Triple-A Albuquerque. Mientkiewicz will undergo surgery on Monday and is expected to be sidelined a minimum of three months. ... The Rockies are the only team Ramirez has never homered against (47 at-bats). ... Kemp doubled in the third inning to extend his season-opening hit streak to 11 games.