Dodgers beat Rockies in rain-shortened game
DENVER (AP) Clayton Kershaw conquered Coors Field and the weather in one afternoon.
Kershaw overcame his past struggles in Denver, striking out nine and going the distance as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies 6-1 Sunday in a game cut short by rain in the sixth inning.
Hanley Ramirez homered as L.A. broke open the game with four runs in the top of the sixth. The game was then delayed 1 hour, 35 minutes before it was called.
The shorter game was helpful to the scuffling Dodgers, who had lost six of eight before taking two out of three from the slumping Rockies.
''It was one of those wins you kind of like because you don't have to end up using your pen,'' manager Don Mattingly said. ''So it ends up being pretty good.''
Matt Kemp had a triple and two RBIs for the Dodgers, who played without outfielder Yasiel Puig and second baseman Dee Gordon, both of whom sustained hip injuries Saturday.
Chone Figgins singled and also scored a run filling in for Gordon at the top of the lineup.
Rain started falling in the second inning and was steady for the rest of the afternoon. The moisture appeared to affect Kershaw (5-2) when he faced Brandon Barnes in the bottom of the third. He threw one pitch high to the backstop and then bounced the next one in front of the plate.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner said afterward the wet weather was helpful.
''The rain sometimes helps here as far as getting some moisture on the ball and being a little more humid,'' Kershaw said. ''It helps with the break.''
In the middle of the fifth, lightning flashed and a loud clap of thunder sent fans scurrying for cover while Kershaw calmly warmed up on the mound. He worked a perfect bottom of the inning.
''Teams that I've coached and played on, I don't think we had anybody quite like him,'' Mattingly said. ''I've seen some pretty good guys in (Mike) Mussina and (Andy) Pettitte, but not quite the same as Clayton.''
Kershaw struck out nine for the fourth consecutive game and fifth time this season. He was also able to leave Coors Field on a high note after having mixed results in the past.
He pitched a four-hit shutout last July 2 but two months later was rocked for five runs and a season-high 11 hits in five innings and saw his ERA jump from 1.72 to 1.89.
Entering Sunday he had a 5.24 ERA in 13 starts at Coors Field but he fanned six through the first two innings and didn't walk a batter.
''I felt good today. It's a good lineup over there and it's no secret I haven't pitched well here in the past so I wanted to come out and establish out there.''
He planned on going back out for the bottom of the sixth but after the delay reached an hour he was done for the day.
The tarp came off the field a little more than an hour after the delay started but it quickly went back on. The umpires called the game at 5:52 p.m.
Troy Tulowitzki homered and starter Jorge De La Rosa struggled through 5 1-3 innings, allowing five runs on four hits for the Rockies, who have lost nine of 10. He struck out a season-high eight but walked four, also a season high.
His troubles started right away when he walked the first two batters of the game and Kemp followed with a triple to make it 2-0.
De La Rosa struck out the side but needed 35 pitches to get out of the first inning.
''He threw really well after that,'' manager Walt Weiss said. ''Then two walks on the tail end of the outing scored also. He threw the ball really well but again, it's always tough when you're playing from behind against a guy like Kershaw.''
He settled down and held the Dodgers to just a hit through five innings before running into trouble in the sixth.
Ramirez hit a 461-foot homer, his 10th, onto the concourse in left to make it 3-1, and then De La Rosa walked Adrian Gonzalez and Kemp.
Matt Belisle came on and struck out Scott Van Slyke before giving up a two-run double to Jamie Romak and an RBI single to Miguel Rojas to make it 6-1.
It was the first major league hits and RBIs for Romak and Rojas.
''You feel good for both those guys to get big knocks like that, and they were big knocks with RBIs,'' Kershaw said.
Tulowitzki jumped on a rare mistake by Kershaw, driving a 92 mph fastball 417 feet into the left field seats to make it 2-1 in the fourth. It was Tulowitzki's 17th home run and tied him with Miami's Giancarlo Stanton for the NL lead.
NOTES: Mattingly said Puig (right hip flexor) and Gordon (sore right hip) were day to day but wouldn't say when they will return to the lineup. ... Rockies OF Michael Cuddyer (sore left shoulder) was out of the lineup for the third straight game. He could go on the 15-day DL on Monday when the Rockies recall RHP Christian Bergman to start the opener of a four-game series with Atlanta. It will be his major league debut. ... Dodgers RHP Dan Haren (5-4, 3.50) will face Reds LHP Tony Cingrani (2-6, 4.09) Monday in the first of four games in Cincinnati.