The LA Dodgers turned the Chinese water torture offense around on the Rockies Saturday afternoon, scoring in the first, second, fourth and sixth, and riding a six-inning four-hit effort by Aaron Harang to end Colorado’s five game winning streak and its own five game losing streak.
The contest began just as an annoying weather system blew into central Denver. Flags were starched and a driving rain whipped-around, effecting play in the first three innings. Colorado reverted to the formula that has left it 22-30, combining distracted pitching with ineffective hitting, and never captured the “inevitability swagger” that carried them to the five consecutive wins.
Both teams scored in the top of the first, Los Angeles plating a run when lead-off hitter Tony Gwinn Jr reached as Rockies second-baseman DJ Le Mahieu fumbled a soft-grounder to the right side. Gwinn advanced to second on a ground-out and scored on right-fielder Andre Ethier’s ground-single to right. Colorado countered, Dexter Fowler extending his hitting streak to seven games with a lead-off triple. Shortstop Marco Scutaro lined-out to LA first baseman James Loney, however, and Carlos Gonzalez popped-up to third, foreshadowing the Colorado offensive performance that followed. 1st-baseman Michael Cuddyer rescued Fowler in this case with a hard drive to left-center field that caromed off the top of the wall, cut-down by the cross-winds that were ripping across the outfield.
The Dodgers came right-back with two against Rockies starter Juan Nicasio, who was bumbling through an unfocused 1 2/3 inning performance with Gwinn, who reached on a fielder’s choice, on second and Dee Gordon, who had singled, on third when Elian Herrera scalded a grounder back up the box and through the legs of Nicasio. Gordon and Gwinn scored, and Nicasio came-up lame, twisting his knee trying to make a play. The diagnosis is a strain, at least for now, and Nicasio was done for the night, forcing Colorado to cover the game with its bull-pen for the second consecutive night.
LA added a run in the fourth, and two more in the sixth, as Harang kept the Rockies under control, striking-out six. Colorado threatened in the fifth, loading the bases on a single by Le Mahieu and walks to Fowler and Scutaro. Cargo popped-out again, however, and decimated his bat in disgust. Cuddyer failed to deliver with two out as well, grounding to second for a force.
Josh Roenicke followed Nicasio and covered 2 1/3, allowing one run on two hits and three bases-on-balls. Matt Reynolds surrendered two over two innings on four hits, including a solo homer by Dodgers’ left-fielder Bobby Abreu. Rex Brothers, recalled overnight (Carlos Torres was optioned to C Springs) to resume the bull-pen role vacated with left-hander Josh Outman moving into the rotation, pitched two hitless frames, walking one, and the Amazing Esmil finished-up with a perfect ninth. LA used four relievers to follow Harang as well, with Scott Elbert, Ronald Bellisario and Kenley Jansen turning-in hitless efforts after Javy Guerra allowed a Colorado run in the seventh on a Wilin Rosario RBI double.
The Rockies aim to take the series and gain a game on Los Angeles tomorrow, sending Alex White (1-3, 6.28) out against Nathan Eovaldi (0-1, 2.57) for a 1:10 start at Coors Field.
Juggernaut on View in Daylight
Rockies Endeavor to Run Skein to Six
The Colorado Rockies put their high-powered offense on display in the daytime this afternoon at 2:10 MDT. Colorado will send Juan Nicasio (2-2, 5.11) to the hill against Los Angeles Dodgers’ right-hander Aaron Harang (3-3, 4.14). The pair will face-off for the third time in 2012, each with a win. Nicasio will be looking to better his Monday performance in the double header vs Houston when he allowed five runs on nine hits in six innings. The 6′-3″ 230 pounder has been tough on the Dodgers this season, allowing only three earned runs in the two outings, striking-out 13 in 13 innings. Harang allowed five earned runs in a loss on April 30 at Coors Field, but stifled Colorado over 8 innings on May 12 in Chavez Ravine. Harang lost to Milwaukee on Monday.
The Rockies’ offense is riding a 53 run/70 hit barrage during the teams’ current five game winning streak. The team sits at 22-29, trailing Arizona, its next opponent, by 1/2 game, and the Division leading Dodgers by 9 1/2.
The clubs are swapping-in a number of players in today’s day-after-night contest. Elian Herrera, Bobby Abreu, Adam Kennedy, James Loney and AJ Ellis start for LA, while Colorado counters with Ty Colvin, Chris Nelson and Wil Nieves. The lineups:
|CF Tony Gwynn Jr.
3B Elian Herrera
LF Bobby Abreu
RF Andre Ethier
2B Adam Kennedy
1B James Loney
C A.J. Ellis
SS Dee Gordon
P Aaron Harang
|CF Dexter Fowler
SS Marco Scutaro
LF Carlos Gonzalez
1B Michael Cuddyer
RF Tyler Colvin
3B Chris Nelson
C Wil Nieves
2B DJ LeMahieu
P Juan Nicasio