After seeing their longest winning streak in 13 years come to an end, the Los Angeles Dodgers look to bounce back when their four-game series against the Colorado Rockies concludes at Dodger Stadium on Thursday.
The Dodgers (58-56) relied on clutch hitting and strong pitching during their season-high run, but it was the Rockies (55-58) who exhibited those qualities in their 3-1 win on Wednesday.
Brad Hawpe homered and hit a tiebreaking single in the ninth inning, while Colorado starter Jeff Francis gave up one run in 7 1-3 innings as the Rockies snapped the Dodgers’ 11-game winning streak—their longest since May 17-29, 1993.
It was only Colorado’s third victory in 12 games against Los Angeles this season.
“For us, the Dodgers are a team our organization needs to beat and play better against,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “It was a significant step for our ballclub … They’re as hot as they can be, and for us to do it late was good for us.”
Los Angeles pitchers had a 2.25 ERA during the final eight games of the win streak, but on Wednesday, the offense struggled.
The Dodgers scored a combined five runs in the seventh and eighth innings of Monday and Tuesday’s wins, but managed just two hits in the final four innings Wednesday and left the bases loaded in the eighth.
The loss cost the Dodgers a chance to take over first place in the NL West after San Diego fell 4-3 to the New York Mets.
“There is no doubt in my mind we will be out there tomorrow to start a new streak,” Los Angeles manager Grady Little said.
Nomar Garciaparra went 1-for-2 with two walks in his first game after being activated from the 15-day disabled list earlier Wednesday. Garciaparra had been sidelined since July 25 with a sprained right knee, and is just 4-for-20 (.200) in his career against Thursday’s Rockies starter, Jason Jennings (7-9, 3.48 ERA).
Jennings is 1-1 in his last three starts despite giving up just one run in each of those contests. His 2.00 ERA is the lowest in the NL since June 15, but he is just 3-3 in 10 starts over that span.
The right-hander has allowed one run or fewer in four of his last six games, but Colorado has scored just nine runs in those contests. He gave up one run and five hits in seven innings of the Rockies’ 2-1, 11-inning win at San Francisco on Saturday.
Jennings has struggled against the Dodgers this season, though, giving up 28 hits and seven walks in 18 innings over three starts. He is 1-2 in those games, and is 6-6 with a 3.84 ERA in 16 career appearances against Los Angeles.
Dodgers rookie Chad Billingsley (3-3, 3.67) has also been shutting down his opponents, but unlike Jennings, has been getting some run support.
Billingsley has allowed one run or fewer in four of his last five starts, and Los Angeles has scored 29 times in those games. The 22-year-old right-hander is 3-1 in those contests.
He gave up one run and three hits while striking out a career-high seven in six innings of a 10-2 win at Florida on Saturday.
“I had really good command of my fastball and I got ahead of the hitters,” Billingsley said. “It was great to get those runs. It gave me a cushion.”