MORTON GROVE, Ill. (AP)—The Los Angeles Dodgers surged to the top of the NL West by setting a record for wins in August.
The Dodgers hope to carry their success into September when they open a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium on Friday.
Los Angeles (71-62) slumped to a 9-17 mark in July, but has won five in a row to finish August 21-7. The former club mark for August victories since the franchise moved from Brooklyn in 1958 was 20, set in 1983.
The Dodgers entered August in last place in the NL West, trailing first-place San Diego by five games. They now lead the second-place Padres by three games.
Greg Maddux earned his 330th win Wednesday to move into 10th place on the career list in a 7-3 victory over Cincinnati.
“You try harder,” Maddux, traded from the Cubs in July, said when asked about pitching for a contender. “You’re not pitching for yourself. Any time you’re not pitching for yourself, you do better.”
Derek Lowe (12-8, 3.75 ERA) takes the ball for Los Angeles in the series opener after making his first relief appearance since the 2004 AL division series.
Lowe pitched three innings for the win in the Dodgers’ 6-5, 16-inning victory over Cincinnati on Tuesday. The right-hander allowed one hit and threw just 22 pitches.
“I just go out and pitch, if it’s the first inning or the 15th inning,” Lowe said. “I didn’t want (manager Grady Little) to have to bring in the last two guys. It worked out quite well. In a selfish way, it makes up for the last game.”
In Lowe’s last start Saturday, he lasted only 3 2-3 innings against Arizona before departing after taking a line drive off his glove hand.
Lowe had a big August, going 4-1 with a 1.69 ERA in six games, with his only loss coming against the Rockies (62-71). The right-hander is 0-2 with a 4.87 ERA in three starts against them this season, and 3-2 with a 4.21 ERA in eight career games against Colorado.
The Dodgers have won 10 of 13 against the Rockies this season, including six of seven at Dodger Stadium.
After earning only one win despite pitching well in six consecutive starts, Jennings pitched poorly in his last outing.
The right-hander went 1-2 with a 1.64 ERA over those six outings, receiving just six runs of support in that span. His teammates scored just one run for him Saturday, and Jennings allowed five runs, five hits and a season-high seven walks in a 5-2 loss to San Diego.
It was the right-hander’s shortest outing since pitching five innings in a 9-5 loss to Philadelphia on April 26.
“He didn’t have his best stuff, and it’s been a while since he hasn’t had his best stuff,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said.
Jennings has not won on the road since June 15, going 0-3 with a 3.33 ERA in his last seven starts away from Coors Field, and has not won at Dodger Stadium since Aug. 29, 2001. He is 1-5 with a 3.51 ERA in nine starts at Los Angeles, and 6-6 with a 3.77 ERA in 17 career starts against the Dodgers.
Colorado won for just the third time in 12 games Thursday, 8-4 over the New York Mets.
Garrett Atkins hit his 22nd homer, and is batting .516 (16-for-31) in his last eight games.
Bard Hawpe is 8-for-14 (.571) with three homers and seven RBIs in his career against Lowe, and is batting .388 (19-for-49) with four home runs and nine RBIs in 16 games at Dodger Stadium.