LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw extended two personal streaks Tuesday night -- one good, one not so good.
Kershaw pitched seven strong innings against a team he continues to dominate at home, and the Los Angeles Dodgers returned from a humiliating road trip with a 6-0 victory over Colorado on Tuesday night. He has not allowed a run to the Rockies in the past 26 innings he's pitched against them at Dodger Stadium.
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"It is hard to imagine, but streaks happen, and some of them are bad," Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said. "It's in the back of our heads, and we know it. But he's special. He's been tough on us. But he's tough on a lot of teams, not just us. I hope we see him again because we want to get him sooner or later."On May 9, Kershaw (11-7) held the Rockies to two hits over eight innings in a 2-0 win. In his final regular-season start last year, he pitched six scoreless innings in a no-decision as the Dodgers won 5-0 to clinch their second straight National League West title."He just pounded the zone with his fastball tonight and located it well. That's what he did to me," Todd Helton said after going 0-for-3 against Kershaw with two strikeouts. "He was really aggressive and he didn't throw it down the middle of the plate. The first time I saw him, I knew he was going to be a good pitcher because his stuff was that good."Kershaw allowed five hits, struck out six and walked three. The 22-year-old left-hander, who hasn't pitched a 1-2-3 first inning in any of his 25 starts this season, walked Eric Young to open the game before stranding him at third."I really don't care how the first inning goes, as long as I don't give up runs," Kershaw said. "If people get on base, they get on base. The first inning is hard for a lot of pitchers to settle in. There were some jams later in the game that were good to get out of -- but in the first inning, you've just got to get settled in. Other than a couple of walks to the leadoff hitter, which you really can't do, I thought I threw the ball OK."The Dodgers' beleaguered bullpen blew ninth-inning leads twice during a 2-5 trip through Philadelphia and Atlanta in which Joe Torre took the closer's role away from All-Star Jonathan Broxton following a backbreaking 10-9 defeat. Los Angeles remains 11 games behind San Diego in the NL West with 42 remaining."It's not fun. It's frustrating. But that's the good thing about baseball. You play every day," Kershaw said. "Our team's not any different from when we were 10 games over .500 at the All-Star break."Scott Podsednik and James Loney had two-run doubles during a five-run fifth against Jhoulys Chacin (5-9). The 22-year-old right-hander pitched five innings, in his 14th big league start, allowing five runs, five hits and five walks.Chacin, returning to the Rockies' rotation because of injuries to Jeff Francis and Aaron Cook, was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs to fill the roster spot that became available when right-hander Taylor Buchholz was put on the 15-day disabled list because of lower back stiffness.Chacin was 5-5 with a 3.64 ERA in 12 starts from May 2 through July 2, then was sent to the bullpen when Jorge De La Rosa came off the disabled list after missing more than two months because of a torn tendon in his left middle finger. One of Chacin's starts was at Dodger Stadium on May 8, when he pitched 7 1/3 innings in an 8-0 win. He made six appearances in relief before being optioned to the minors on July 24."It's definitely not easy to take, but every team has to deal with it," Tulowitzki said of the state of flux in the Rockies' rotation. "You have to respond because if you make excuses, you're going to drop games. So different guys have to step up."Kershaw and Chacin matched zeros until the fifth. Jamey Carroll drew a leadoff walk for the Dodgers and took third on a hit-and-run single by A.J. Ellis, who was sacrificed to second by Kershaw as Carroll held up. Podsednik, who had only three RBIs in his first 75 at-bats since joining the club in a trade from Kansas City on July 28, doubled over Ryan Spilborgh's outstretched glove in the left field corner to score both runners.One out later, Andre Ethier walked and Loney came through with his two-run double to right-center. Casey Blake capped the rally with an RBI single."We had the one inning where we scored. As a manager you certainly want your ball club to be able to threaten in more than one inning," Torre said. "We haven't been able to do that, but I'll take the one inning. We just haven't been able to put enough pressure on the opposition by getting enough men on base. Hopefully we can do a little bit more of that."
Dodgers executive Don Newcombe, who was relieved by Ralph Branca before Bobby Thomson's fateful home run that gave the New York Giants the NL pennant in 1951, took time before the game to acknowledge Thomson's place in baseball lore. "That home run wasn't only meaningful for Bobby Thomson and the Giants and for the city of New York. It was meaningful for baseball, and something that people remembered all the years that Bobby was on this earth, from the time he hit it until the time he passed away," Newcombe said. "Bobby was a great ballplayer. And I think if anybody had a chance to enjoy the fame that he enjoyed, I'm glad it was Bobby Thomson."