Kenta Maeda baffles Rockies, leads Dodgers to 4-1 win
DENVER (AP) Kenta Maeda tamed a notorious hitter's park about as well as any pitcher can.
So much for being intimidated in his first start at Coors Field.
Maeda held Colorado hitless into the sixth inning, A.J. Ellis lined a two-run homer and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Rockies 4-1 on Saturday night.
Maeda's mind wasn't on a no-hitter, though. It wasn't even discussed in the L.A. dugout. Not at this park, where runs can be scored in a hurry.
''Start getting less than five outs, it's something you start talking about, thinking about,'' Ellis said. ''But first time pitching at Coors Field, first time against that offensive firepower they have over there, I can't say enough what Kenta was able to do. It's beyond impressive.''
Maeda (3-0) allowed three hits - all in the sixth - no runs and struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings as the right-hander from Japan lowered his ERA to 0.36.
With a wind-up reminiscent of countryman Hideo Nomo, Maeda was cruising along until one out in the sixth when DJ LeMahieu singled for Colorado's first hit. Nomo remains the only pitcher to throw a no-hitter at Coors Field - on Sept. 17, 1996.
Ellis hit his first homer of the season in the second to help the Dodgers end a five-game slide in Denver. Kenley Jansen threw a perfect ninth for his eighth save.
Tyler Chatwood (2-2) allowed three runs before exiting after the fourth with an elevated pitch count. He missed last season after undergoing his second Tommy John surgery.
''I didn't have command of anything really,'' Chatwood said. ''It was just not very good overall.''
Maeda was untouchable most of the night by keeping the Rockies off balance with a nasty breaking ball mixed in with pinpoint fastball control.
''In the big leagues, you've got to pitch that way,'' Carlos Gonzalez said. ''You've got to paint and he was definitely painting today. He was going inside, outside so it's tough to pick up. It was a good game for him.''
Early on, the Dodgers defense did their part to keep the no-hitter intact with left fielder Enrique Hernandez making a full-sprint, over-the-shoulder catch to rob Tony Wolters of an extra-base hit in the fifth.
An inning earlier, third baseman Howie Kendrick shifted over to shallow right field with Gonzalez at the plate. Gonzalez sent a hard liner that Kendrick easily caught.
So dominant most of the night, Maeda ran into trouble in the sixth after LeMahieu's single. He gave up another to Trevor Story and then an infield single to Gonzalez to load the bases. But he retired Nolan Arenado and Gerardo Parra to get out of the inning.
The 28-year-old Maeda faced one batter - striking out Ryan Raburn - in the seventh before turning it over to the bullpen. The shutout was spoiled later in the inning on an RBI double from Brandon Barnes.
Maeda signed a $25 million, eight-year contract in January that could be worth $106.2 million if he stays healthy.
The 28-year-old received his first taste of Coors Field, which requires a pitcher to keep his pitches down and stay in command - all of which Maeda does, anyway.
''When he does that, he can pitch on the moon,'' Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
Dodgers: RHP Yimi Garcia (biceps soreness) was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Righty Zach Lee was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City. ... LHP Scott Kazmir is dealing with a sore left thumb/wrist but is still scheduled to start Wednesday against Miami. ... INF Justin Turner wasn't in the lineup after having his big toe stepped on by Rockies catcher Tony Wolters on Friday.
Rockies: C Nick Hundley (concussion) will play two rehab games in Las Vegas with Triple-A Albuquerque as he tests a new mask with more padding. He may be activated Monday, ''if all goes well,'' manager Walt Weiss said. ... OF Charlie Blackmon (turf toe) could be sent out on a rehab assignment as soon as next week.
Hernandez said the fans in left field were razzing him all night and that not even his catch silenced the crowd.
''My feelings were pretty hurt,'' he jokingly said.
Dodgers: LHP Alex Wood (1-2) tries to bounce back after allowing six runs - three earned - in four innings during an 8-1 loss to Atlanta last Tuesday.
Rockies: RHP Jordan Lyles (1-1) is 0-3 with a 6.85 ERA in his career against Los Angeles.