LOS ANGELES -- The resurrection of Ted Lilly with the Los Angeles Dodgers is progressing by leaps and bounds. It seems like he keeps one-upping himself with every start.
The 34-year-old left-hander threw a two-hitter to win his fourth straight outing since joining the Dodgers, and Reed Johnson hit his first homer of the season in a 2-0 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Thursday night.
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"Lilly's had great starts every time out for us," manager Joe Torre said. "Tonight we needed a lift, and he just took it on his shoulders and went for it. Teddy over the years -- and I had him in New York -- was like a five-, six-inning guy because his pitch count would always be high. But I've seen him mature in a different uniform. He's come a long way. He has stood the test of time, for me."Lilly (7-8) had a season-high 11 strikeouts, walked two and retired 19 consecutive batters in his third career shutout. Dexter Fowler lined a double past third baseman Casey Blake and down the left-field line with one out in the first, and the Rockies didn't get another baserunner until Troy Tulowitzki grounded a single through the middle with two outs in the seventh.Lilly retired his final 20 batters in his Dodgers debut on Aug. 3 at Chavez Ravine when he pitched seven innings of two-hit ball in a 2-1 victory over San Diego. The two-time All-Star came to Los Angeles from the Chicago Cubs just before the non-waiver trade deadline along with second baseman Ryan Theriot."I'm feeling good about what I'm doing," said Lilly, who has a 1.29 ERA since the trade. "I'm going to enjoy this tonight, but I know I've got to be prepared for my next start against Milwaukee. I don't think I'm ever going to get totally comfortable, because the competition's too good for that."The 110-pitch complete game was Lilly's fifth in 277 career starts and first in 174 starts since Aug. 23, 2004, when he beat Boston 3-0 at Toronto with a three-hitter and a career-high 13 strikeouts."It's important to get that first strike and move the ball around from there," he said. "I've had a few spurts where I've gotten erratic. But for the most part, I've been able to throw strike one and work off of that, whether it's with the fastball or breaking ball."The complete-game shutout was the Dodgers' third this season, with one each by Chad Billingsley and Vicente Padilla."Lilly was living on the corners tonight," Rockies right fielder Ryan Spilborghs said. "He was doing a good job of hitting the corners on both sides of the plate and using his off-speed stuff. If his location's there and he's getting the corners, like he was tonight, that makes him really difficult."We hit some balls hard off of him that very easily could have turned our innings around. He didn't make a mistake missing any balls in the middle of the plate. And if he did, we were fouling them off or hitting them right at their guys."The Rockies' frustration boiled over in the eighth, when Miguel Olivo was ejected by umpire Laz Diaz for arguing a called third strike on a curveball and slamming his bat with both hands. Manager Jim Tracy came out and acted as a shield between Olivo and Diaz, but was not ejected."For a two-strike breaking ball, I would have wanted it maybe a little bit lower, but I definitely thought I threw it for a strike," Lilly said. "Obviously he didn't like the call."Jorge De La Rosa (4-4) allowed two runs, five hits and four walks over seven innings for Colorado. The left-hander is 1-3 with a 5.16 ERA in eight starts since missing 67 games because of a torn tendon in his middle finger.Johnson, who was thrown out at the plate in the 10th inning Wednesday night for the final out of the Dodgers' 3-2 loss, drove De La Rosa's 2-2 pitch into the left-field pavilion in the second inning after a walk to Blake. The homer was his first since June 19, 2009, for the Cubs against Cleveland and Cliff Lee."I used my fastball more tonight and located it very good, so they hit a lot of ground balls," De La Rosa said. "The pitch to Johnson was a mistake. I think he was looking for that pitch. I threw it right there and I paid for it. But that's part of baseball. I was facing a very good pitcher, so you've got to give him credit."
The Dodgers placed Padilla on the 15-day DL because of a bulging disk in his neck. Padilla, 32, has given up 12 runs, 14 hits, two homers and four walks in 9 1/3 innings since Aug. 4. ... Todd Helton was 0-for-2 with a walk and is 1-for-29 against the Dodgers through the first nine meetings. He came into this season batting .294 against them with 38 homers and 122 RBIs. ... Johnson, who hit a career-high 12 home runs for Toronto in 2006, signed with the Dodgers as a free agent in February after spending the previous two seasons with the Cubs. He started in right field to give Andre Ethier a day off.