Dodgers and Rockies Trade Big Innings

The Rockies thumped Randy Wolf in the first inning and took a 3-0 lead. Los Angeles waited until nearly the last minute and then scored four times to win their sixth game in a row and moved to 8-3 on the season. Jonathan Broxton earned a real save, working 1.2 shutout innings and pitching out of a bases-loaded, one-out mess left by Hong Chic Kuo in the eighth.

Rafael Furcal, Manny Ramirez and Mark Loretta (starting at first base in place of James Loney) each had a pair of hits. Guillermo Mota, Kuo and Broxton shut out Colorado over the final three innings.

The win allowed the Dodgers to stay in first place along with the surprising San Diego Padres at 8-3 in the young season.

The Rockies scored three times with two out in the first. A walk, an RBI double by Garrett Atkins and a two-run homer by Ryan Spilborghs did the damage.

But then Wolf righted his ship and allowed only a single hit over the next five innings. However the Dodgers were leaving runners all over the place, going 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position.

Furcal and Ramirez singled in the first, Russ Martin singled and Wolf was safe on an error in the second, Matt Kemp doubled in the third, Loretta singled and moved to second on a wild pitch in the fourth, Orlando Hudson and Kemp walked in the fifth and Martin and Casey Blake walked in the sixth and it began to look like just one of those nights.

Mota had retired Colorado in the top of the seventh and the Dodgers finally got themselves coordinated in the bottom of the inning.

Furcal singled to open the inning and Hudson walked. Ramirez lined a single to right-center and the Dodgers were finally on the scoreboard. Kemp bounced into a fielder's choice but Hudson scored and Andre Ethier doubled to deep center to drive in Kemp and tied the game 3-3.

Martin struck out but Loretta singled to left to drive in the winning run. Juan Pierre added a pinch-hit single but the ninth man to bat in the inning, James Loney pinch-hitting for Mota, bounced to second.

But the excitement had just started

Kuo too over in the top of the eighth and quickly got himself into a real mess. Spilsborhs doubled, Todd Helton bounced back to Kuo but Garrett Adkins and Brad Hawpe walked to load the bases.

Joe Torre's stomach could stand no more and he called for Jonathan Broxton. The big guy came in throwing 98-99 and blew away Troy Tulowitzki and Chris Iannetta to end the inning.

The Dodgers used the eighth to leave another runner in scoring position. Hudson walked and stole second with one out but he was still at second when the inning ended.

Broxton didn't let up in the ninth, collecting a ground out and two more strikeouts, giving him 11 strikeouts in 6.2 innings this season and recording his fourth save. Broxton threw 23 pitches, 17 of them strikes. He used 21 fastballs and two sliders to overpower the Rockies.

"That was some kind of performance right there," said Torre, who had the Yankees superb closer Mariano Rivera and knows what he is talking about. "He had nowhere to go. He just played hardball. Even a fly ball, they get a run to tie, but he wasn't going to have any of that. And he came out in the ninth still right at the top of his game. You can't get a better performance than he had tonight."

Broxton normally enters a game to start the ninth inning but many have argued that your closer, the most dominant man in the bullpen, should be used when the when the game is in a precarious position, not just to start the final inning with no runners on base.

Torre apparently prescribes to that theory since he has twice used Broxton to kill a rally.

"He has overpowering stuff," said Rockies bench coach Jim Tracy, who managed the Dodgers at the start of Broxton's career. "He has the type of stuff that you look for at the back end of the game. It was just a matter of time, and you had to nurture that process along. Obviously he's arrived, and he showed that last year, and he's become their guy."

"When I had Rivera, I always said I was never going to use him before the ninth inning, and I always lied. I always chickened out," Torre said. "That was some kind of performance right there by Broxton. I mean, there's absolutely nowhere to go in that situation. You've got to go after people, and he just played hardball."

Each of the Dodgers' first 13 games, and 27 of the first 30, are with National League West opponents. The lone set of interdivision games in that 30-game stretch is a three-game series at Houston beginning Tuesday. In fact, Los Angeles is the only NL West team not to have played outside the division thus far

Dodger starting pitchers have posted a 2.98 ERA (22 ER/61.2 IP) in their first 10 games to rank third in the National League and fourth in the Majors. Their seven wins are tied for second in the Majors.

Starters for the final two games of the series. Note todays game has been changed to noon, Pacific time:
Today RHP Aaron Cook (0-0, 9.72) vs. RHP Chad Billingsley (2-0, 2.08)
   Sunday, April 19, RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (1-1, 2.53) vs. RHP James McDonald (0-1, 19.29) 

 Score by innings
Colorado	300 000 000-3
Los Angeles	000 000 40x-4

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	5  1  2  0  .261
Hudson 2b	3  1  1  0  .364
Ramirez lf	5  0  2  1  .278
Kemp cf	        4  1  1  1  .359
Ethier rf	4  1  1  1  .263
Martin c	3  0  1  0  .211
Loretta 1b-3b	4  0  2  1  .500
 DeWitt pr-3b	0  0  0  0  .167
Blake 3b	2  0  0  0  .189
 Mota p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Pierre ph	1  0  1  0  .429
 Kuo p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
Wolf p	        2  0  0  0  .000
 Loney ph-1b	2  0  0  0  .308
--------------------------------
 Totals	        35 4 11 4
 Rockies	33 3  6 3

 Two-base hits- Kemp (4), Ethier (2). RBI-
Ramirez (5), Kemp (8), Ethier (9), Loretta
(1). SB- Hudson (4). LOB- Los Angeles 12,
Colorado 7.

 Los Angeles	in  h r-er bb so  era
Wolf	        6.0  4  3-3  2  9  3.93
Mota (1-0)	1.0  1  0-0  0  0  6.23
Kuo	        0.1  1  0-0  2  0  5.40
Broxton (sv 4)	1.2  0  0-0  0  4  1.35
 T- 3:20. Att- 45,145.
Mientkiewicz to DL; DeWitt Recalled The Dodgers promoted infielder Blake DeWitt from Albuquerque to replace utility man Doug Mientkiewicz, who dislocated his right shoulder with a head-first dive Thursday night and will undergo reconstructive surgery Monday. DeWitt had been optioned to Albuquerque early in the week because the club wanted him to play every day and not sit on the bench in Los Angeles. The staff was split on the decision -- some preferring to promote outfielder Xavier Paul, who is hitting .571 at Triple-A.

Torre said he will start DeWitt at shortstop today, giving Furcal a day game off after a night game. He also said DeWitt would be his primary left-handed pinch-hitter. DeWitt also might get time at third base when Casey Blake rests, as well as when first baseman James Loney rests, with Blake moving to first base.

Mientkiewicz will need major surgery after a complete dislocation, according to trainer Stan Conte, who estimated the recovery time at three months. Dr. Neal ElAttrache will do the repair work, which includes anchoring a torn labrum and tightening stretched or torn ligaments that form the shoulder capsule and hold the arm in the shoulder socket.

Dodgers Blue Notes-- The win was the 2,159th for Torre, moving him past Bucky Harris and into sixth place on the all-time list. He is now 35 shy of former Dodgers minor league infielder. George Anderson (better known as Sparky) for fifth place on that list. ...The Rockies are the only team Ramirez has never homered against (47 at-bats). ...Kemp doubled in the third inning to extend his season-opening hit streak to 11 games.

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