Jim Tracy helped the Dodgers tonight in a pennant race they were never in but thought they were and actually might be in after all, leading to an eighth inning outburst, with Casey Blake slamming home a 6-2 win in the series opener over the Rockies. It was the fourth straight win for the Dodgers.
As advertised, both starters were magnificent tonight. Clayton Kershaw allowed one run in his six innings of work, a solo home run to Todd Helton in the second inning. However, Kershaw threw a lot of pitches, so he departed for a pinch hitter after 115 pitches. Ubaldo Jimenez was even better, using his 115 pitches to allow no runs in seven innings. However, when the pitcher's spot came up in the bottom of the inning, Tracy allowed his ace to bat.
Jimenez started the eighth allowing a single to Scott Podsednik and a walk to Ryan Theriot, and was at 122 pitches with Andre Ethier coming to the plate. This was a perfect opportunity to bring in Joe Beimel, a left-handed pitcher, to face Ethier, who is hitting .236/.281/.358 against southpaws this year and .248/.310/.377 in his career. However, Tracy left Ubaldo in, and he promptly allowed an RBI double on his 126th pitch to tie the game at one.
The 126 pitches thrown by Ubaldo tied a season high against the Dodgers, matching Dan Haren on June 1. This was the eighth 120+ pitch effort against the Dodgers this season, including three by Haren and two by Edwin Jackson, all when they were with Arizona.
Matt Belisle came in and retired Matt Kemp, and then James Loney -- hitting .203/.265/.308 since the All-Star break -- was intentionally walked to load the bases for Blake. The Beard deposited the eighth pitch he saw from Belisle over the wall in center field for a 5-1 lead.
Samuel Deduno made his major league debut for the Rockies in the top of the ninth, and allowed an RBI single to Matt Kemp, the first batter he faced.
Jonathan Broxton pitched a scoreless seventh, and got two outs in the eighth before allowing a run. Hong-Chih Kuo struck out Helton for the final out of the eighth, then completed the ninth for his sixth save of the season.
Chad Billingsley faces Jhoulys Chacin tomorrow at 5:10 p.m.
WP - Jonathan Broxton (5-4): 1 2/3 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 strikeout
LP - Ubaldo Jimenez (17-5): 7+ IP, 9 hits, 3 runs, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts
Sv - Hong-Chih Kuo (6): 1 1/3 IP, 2 strikeouts