Rockies cut Dodgers' NL West lead down to one
A day after the Colorado Rockies clinched at least a wild-card spot, Ubaldo Jimenez gave them a chance to win the NL West.
Jimenez struck out 10 over six innings, leading the streaking Rockies to a 4-3 victory Friday night over the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.
With both teams already assured playoff slots, the Rockies cut the Dodgers' lead to one game. Colorado needs to sweep the three-game series to win the first division title in the franchise's 17-year history.
Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to start Saturday for Los Angeles against Jorge De La Rosa.
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"Nobody's tight. This is baseball. You have good weeks and bad weeks," said Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez, who matched a career high by striking out all four times up. "It's not finished until the end. We don't think about the championship. We're thinking about tomorrow and De La Rosa."
The Rockies are trying to become the first team in major league history to finish in first place after trailing by more than 15 games. They won five straight while the Dodgers have lost a season-worst five in a row.
The victory was only the fourth by Colorado in 16 meetings this season with Los Angeles.
"There's been a lot made of the fact that we were 3-12 against them coming in, but that's not even part of our thought process," said Rockies manager Jim Tracy, who guided the Dodgers to a division title in 2004. "The first two months of the season, they beat us up, but they're not beating us up now. We still have a chance to win the division."
Troy Tulowitzki hit a two-run homer and Yorvit Torrealba had a two-run double for the Rockies.
Jimenez (15-12) allowed one run and two hits, and matched a season high for strikeouts. The right-hander lowered his ERA to 3.51, the best by a starting pitcher in franchise history.
Huston Street, the fifth Rockies pitcher, got four outs for his 35th save in 37 chances.
Ramirez fanned in the seventh inning with two runners on base. It was the fifth time in his career that he had four strikeouts in a game and the first time since Aug. 18, 2007, with Boston against the Angels.
"It's definitely a concern," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "He just doesn't look comfortable up there. We obviously need him. We keep supporting him and expecting him to do good things, He's been down this road before, and slumps are part of the game. The only thing I can do is write his name in there, pat him on the back and expect better things to happen. And that day will come for us."