The Rockies scored the final six runs of the game, but that was after the Dodgers scored the first seven runs of the contest. The Dodgers bruised and battered Jhoulys Chacin, a pitcher that had given them trouble in his young career, providing just enough cushion on their way to a 7-6 victory over the Rockies Tuesday night in Coors Field.
Chacin, you may remember, allowed just one home run in 64 career innings against the Dodgers before tonight, when that stat went out the window after just one batter. Dee Gordon, he of the .207 batting average and .241 slugging percentage entering play Tuesday night and in the midst of a 1-for-15 and 5-for-31 slump, crushed a pitch from Chacin, lining it off the facade of the upper deck in right field for his first major league home run.
After a single and a walk, Andre Ethier cashed in three more runs with a bomb over the center field wall to widen the Dodgers' lead. After four batters under new ownership group Guggenheim Baseball Partners, the Dodgers had four runs.
A.J. Ellis drove in a run in the third inning with a double down the left field line, then powered a hanging breaking ball over the left field wall in the fifth for his second home run of the season and a commanding 7-0 lead. All seven of those runs, and three home runs, were off Chacin.
That was more than enough for Ted Lilly, who continued his great start to 2012. Lilly pitched scoreless ball for the first five innings, including retiring 10 in a row at one point. Lilly finally allowed a pair of runs in the sixth inning on a two-run shot by Carlos Gonzalez.
Gonzalez was also the last man to hit a home run off Lilly, and that came on August 26, 2011. In between those bookend home runs to Gonzalez, Lilly went 265 batters and a career-best 68 innings without allowing a home run.
After a long diiscussion between Lilly, manager Don Mattingly, and trainer Sue Falsone in the dugout during the top of the seventh, Lilly was removed in favor of pinch hitter Juan Rivera, who grounded out to end the inning. Lilly allowed just two runs in his six innings, the most runs scored against him in a start this season, walking one and striking out four.
Lilly was pulled after 79 pitches, the third time in four starts he has been lifted after exactly 79 pitches this season.
Josh Lindblom started the seventh inning for the Dodgers, but he didn't finish it, with his first truly poor outing in 12 appearances this season. After allowing back-to-back doubles to Ramon Hernandez and Chris Nelson for a run, Lindblom surrendered a home run to Tyler Colvin to cut the Dodgers' lead to 7-5.
The Rockies added another run off Kenley Jansen in the eighth, forcing the setup man to throw 27 pitches.
The embattled Javy Guerra came in to pitch the ninth inning, and the Rockies got the tying run to third base, but Guerra got his swag back, to borrow a term from Mattingly, by striking out Gonzalez to end the game and seal the win.
- Mark Ellis went 4-for-5 on the night, his first four-hit game since doing so for the Rockies last September 14 against the Brewers.
- With his three-run home run, Ethier overtook Matt Kemp for the major league lead in RBI, 27 to 25.
- I'm still wondering why the left-handed batting Adam Kennedy was allowed to bat in the top of the ninth against left-handed pitcher Matt Reynolds with right-handed batters Juan Uribe and Justin Sellers available off the bench, especially when Sellers was brought in for defense in the bottom of the inning.
Clayton Kershaw gets the start Wednesday afternoon as the Dodgers go for the series win, facing lefty Drew Pomeranz.
Home Runs: Dee Gordon (1), Andre Ethier (6), A.J. Ellis (2); Carlos Gonzalez (5), Tyler Colvin (2)
WP - Ted Lilly (3-0): 6 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
LP -Jhoulys Chacin (0-3): 4 2/3 IP, 11 hits, 7 runs, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts
Sv - Javy Guerra (8): 1 IP, 1 hit, 2 strikeouts