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Early home runs power Dodgers over Rockies

Will Smith leads MLB catchers with 15 home runs

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers scored 13 runs against the Rockies in the series opener, but they did so without hitting any home runs. On Friday night, the Dodgers’ offense scored all but one of their five runs on a couple of two-run home runs against Chad Kuhl.

Early firepower and solid starting pitching (with help from the Rockies’ defense and pitching) were once again the right formula for the Dodgers. Despite going 1-for-12 with RISP and stranding 13 runners, the Dodgers were still able to best the last-place Rockies.

Julio Urías pitched a solid seven innings and only allowed two runs on four hits in the 5-4 Dodgers win. Craig Kimbrel had another rough night in the ninth when he allowed two runs, but the Dodgers hung on for the victory.

Early Homers

The Dodgers picked up right where they left off Thursday night when they took an early 2-0 lead for the third night in a row. Trea Turner stayed aggressive, and he extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a one-out single in the first. Then Will Smith crushed a two-run home run to left field off Kuhl. Smith now leads all MLB catchers with 15 homers.

In as many innings, the Dodgers hit another two-run home run off Kuhl. Trayce Thompson took the struggling right-hander deep to center for his fourth home run in his second stint with the Dodgers.

Colorado cut the Dodgers’ lead in half in the bottom of the third. The Rockies got on the board for the first time in the series on a Jose Iglesias double and a Randal Grichuk triple over Bellinger’s head in center field. Ryan McMahon’s sac fly made it 4-2 Dodgers.

Everything’s Kuhl

The Dodgers loaded the bases in the third with nobody out, but Kuhl managed to get out of the jam with only one run of damage. Gavin Lux’s sac fly made it 5-2, but both Bellinger and Thompson struck out.

Mookie Betts led off the top of the fourth with a booming triple to the gap. Kuhl loaded the bases. Again. That was all for Kuhl. Ryan Feltner, out of the bullpen, got thrown into the fire for his first career relief appearance. He got the job done and retired Lux. The Dodgers stranded seven base runners through the first four innings.

After Lux’s sac fly in the top of the third, neither team scored until the bottom of the ninth.

Kimbrel struggles again

Kimbrel came in and loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth bringing the winning run to the plate with Grichuk. Grichuk yanked a Kimbrel breaking ball down the left field line for a two-run single. All of a sudden it was a one-run game. A great catch by Thompson in left field to end the anxiety-riddled conclusion.

Friday Particulars

WP — Julio Urías (10-6): 7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 89 pitches (62 strikes)

LP — Chad Kuhl (6-5): 3.2 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 90 pitches (54 strikes)

S — Craig Kimbrel (18)

HR — Will Smith (15), Trayce Thompson (4)

Stolen Base Count: 62

Up next

The Dodgers go for the series win Saturday. Clayton Kershaw (7-2, 2.49 ERA, 0.947 WHIP) takes on fellow left-hander Kyle Freeland (5-7, 4.64 ERA, 1.362 WHIP).

First pitch from Coors Field is at 5:10 p.m. PT on SportsNet LA.