The Dodgers got a good outing out of a fifth starter, and the offense and bullpen made it hold up, beating the Rockies 5-4 in the opener of a three game series at Coors Field. It was the 20th win in their last 26 games against Colorado, and pushed the Dodgers' divisional record to an MLB-best 14-4.
Carlos Monasterios did everything that was asked of him in his start, pitching a career-high five innings. He allowed two earned runs, and two more unearned runs thanks in part to an error by acting first baseman Ronnie Belliard in the first inning. Monasterios gave up a home run to Clint Barmes in the fourth inning, a disputed play because a fan reached over the fence to catch the ball. However, replays appeared to show the ball was going to hit the yellow line anyway, and at the very least were not conclusive enough to overturn the call.
The delay in the game while the umpires reviewed the Barmes home run allowed Vin Scully time to give his thoughts about the matter, uncharacteristically calling the fan who caught the ball "that clown with the glove." In 61 seasons of calling games, Vin Scully has rarely said anything as biting as that.
The bulk of the Dodger offense came in the sixth inning, when the Dodgers turned a 4-1 deficit into a 5-4 lead. After a leadoff walk by Jamey Carroll, Garret Anderson followed with a ground rule double to the deepest part of the park in center. A sacrifice fly and a double later, and Manny Ramirez came to the plate with Russell Martin on base and the Dodgers trailing by a run. Manny clobbered a pitch over the wall in right center field, his first home run since April 18, a span of 74 plate appearances. It was also the first home run of Manny's career in Colorado.
Matt Kemp also hit a home run, his 10th of the season, a bomb to dead center in the fifth inning.
Ramon Troncoso had a nice comeback effort tonight, after giving up a home run in three straight appearances. Troncoso allowed just one hit in his 1 1/3 innings, avoiding joining John Purdin (in 1969) as the only Los Angeles Dodger reliever to allow a home run in four straight outings. Hong-Chih Kuo was called in to relieve Troncoso in the seventh inning, entering with one out and a man on first base. Kuo's walk to pinch hitter Ryan Spilborghs was book-ended by strikeouts of left-handers Carlos Gonzalez and Todd Helton. On the season, lefties are hitless in 12 at-bats against Kuo, with seven strikeouts.
All four Dodger relievers had two strikeouts; the bullpen on the night combined for four baserunners in four innings with eight strikeouts. Scott Elbert was recalled from Triple A before the game, but didn't see action tonight, and his stay with the big club figures to be short. From Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
Torre indicated that Elbert is likely to be returned to Triple-A when Charlie Haeger returns from a Minor League rehab assignment for plantar fasciitis. Torre said he expects Haeger to be the fifth starter again, perhaps as early as Tuesday. Torre said that he wants to give John Ely, who started on Thursday against the Cubs and is on track to start on Tuesday, an extra day of rest.
Andre Ethier played seven innings in the field for Triple A Albuquerque tonight, collecting a single and two walks in four plate appearances in the first of two scheduled rehabilitation appearances in Memphis.
Hiroki Kuroda faces off against Aaron Cook in game two tomorrow.
WP - Carlos Monasterios (2-0): 5 IP, 5 hits, 4 runs (2 earned), 1 walk, 1 strikeout
LP - Jeff Francis (1-1): 5 1/3 IP, 5 hits, 5 runs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Sv - Jonathan Broxton (12): 1 IP, 1 walk, 1 HBP, 2 strikeouts