Jae C. Hong
July 03, 2016

LOS ANGELES (AP) What better way for Scott Kazmir to put his first-inning struggles behind him than pretending to pitch an inning before the game begins.

It worked Saturday night. Kazmir survived the first and pitched six scoreless innings, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies 6-1 for their eighth straight home victory.

''It was good to get out of that first inning unharmed. It didn't work with the first batter like I wanted, but I was able to get through the first inning and get into a groove,'' said Kazmir, who hit Charlie Blackmon, the first batter he faced, but stranded him on second base.

Kazmir, who gave up four first-inning runs in his previous start, threw 25 warmup pitches before the national anthem, his usual warmup routine. Then a batter then stepped in, and Kazmir threw three simulated at-bats - righty, lefty, righty.

''It seemed to lock me in a little bit and get me prepared for that first inning,'' Kazmir said. ''It's more just seeing that guy in the box. You get on certain pitches, you get that release point where you want to start pitches. Stuff like that.''

Trayce Thompson and Adrian Gonzalez drove in two runs each for the Dodgers, and Justin Turner had three hits and scored twice.

''I think guys are just starting to come around,'' Thompson said. ''(Turner), I think it all starts with him. Whenever he has a good game, we usually have a pretty good game as an offense.''

Kazmir (7-3) extended his unbeaten streak to 10 starts by holding the Rockies to a single and two doubles. He struck out 10 without walking a batter.

Since May 9, Kazmir is 5-0 with a 3.61 ERA. He has struck out 65 in 57 1/3 innings during the stretch.

Bud Norris and four relievers led L.A. to a 5-0 win in the opening game of the series on Friday night.

''We've gotten exactly what we've needed,'' Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. ''You win with starting pitching. You sustain winning with it. These guys have come out and pitched well and set the tone for us. And for the offense to respond like they have, some good things are happening.

Nolan Arenado led off the ninth inning with a solo home run to left field off reliever Chris Hatcher for the Rockies' only run.

Prior to the homer, Arenado had gone 0 for 7 with six strikeouts in the first two games of the series. He came into the series with a 12-game hitting streak.

Rockies starter Chad Bettis (6-6) lost for the first time in five starts, giving up four runs on six hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked one.

The Rockies lost their third straight and had not gotten a baserunner to third base in the series until Arenado's homer.

''We had a stretch there where we were scoring eight runs a game,'' Arenado said. ''We knew that wouldn't last very long.

''These guys have pitched well. Bud Norris, we haven't really seen him, and Kazmir today was throwing well. He was throwing harder than the last time we saw him. He pitched a good game. Obviously, we should've had better at-bats''

Colorado has scored one or fewer runs in six of its last nine games at Dodger Stadium, dating back to May 17, 2015, scoring 17 runs during that span.

STEAKING SHORTSTOP

Dodgers SS Corey Seager lined the first pitch he saw Friday night into left field for a single, extending his NL-leading hitting streak to 15 games. Seager went 1 for 4 and scored twice.

''I was talking to some of the coaches about Corey, and it doesn't even seem like it's any kind of hitting streak or that he's playing any better than he was earlier,'' Roberts said. ''This is what he does. I don't even see him as hot.''

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rockies: LHP Jake McGee (sprained MCL, left knee) was activated from the DL and pitched 2/3 of an inning in the seventh. ... 2B D.J. LeMahieu returned to the lineup after being limited to a pair of pinch-hit appearances the last six games. ... RHP Tyler Chatwood threw a bullpen session Saturday and could be ''back here very soon,'' manager Walt Weiss said. OF Gerald Parra (ankle) continues to struggle running and is not expected back until after the All-Star break.

Dodgers: OF Yasiel Puig was back in the Dodgers lineup after being removed Friday night after ''tweaking something'' in his left shoulder on a home-plate slide. ... RHP Brandon McCarthy (Tommy John surgery) will be activated off the 60-day DL and is scheduled to start Sunday. ... 2B Chase Utley was not in the Dodgers lineup, taking a routine day off. ... Hyun-Jin Ryu made his eighth rehab start on Friday night, giving up two runs and five hits in five innings (72 pitches). Roberts said Ryu, who is 1-2 with a 4.61 ERA over the eight starts, reached 90 mph and averaged 86 mph on Friday night.

NEXT UP:

Rockies: RHP Jon Gray (5-3, 4.83) earned his first major league victory on May 13 against the New York Mets and is 2-3 with a 4.65 ERA in seven road outings this year.

Dodgers: McCarthy makes his 2016 debut after being sidelined more than 14 months recovering from Tommy John surgery. McCarthy made four starts for the Dodgers in 2015, going 3-0 with a 5.87 ERA. In five career starts vs. Colorado, McCarthy is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA and 20 strikeouts against three walks.

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