Dodgers 8, Rockies 7
LOS ANGELES (AP)—The Dodgers have rallied 50 times to win this season. Their latest comeback provided some breathing room in the NL West.
Milton Bradley singled home the winning run in the ninth inning and Adrian Beltre hit a grand slam to help Los Angeles defeat the Colorado Rockies 8-7 Monday night. The Dodgers increased their division lead to three games over idle San Francisco with six remaining.
“It’s not meant to be,” Beltre said. “You have to earn it.”
Beltre leads the major leagues with 48 home runs, tying Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt’s record for third basemen set in 1980 with Philadelphia.
“He’s never been a guy who could really carry a team on his back or change the complexion of a game until this year,” Colorado starter Shawn Estes said. “He’s one of those guys that you’re walking with first and third and one out, like we did tonight. In the past, if you made a good pitch, you could make him hit a groundball or pop it up to the infield or something. But he’s locked in this year.”
The Dodgers won in their last at-bat for the 23rd time this season.
“We’ve won games like this all season long,” manager Jim Tracy said. “If you’re going to do things like that you have to have step-up, clutch performances.”
Steve Reed (3-8) gave up one-out singles to Jayson Werth and Steve Finley in the ninth, putting runners at the corners. Beltre was intentionally walked and the Rockies pulled their infield in, but Bradley slapped a hard grounder past second baseman Aaron Miles’ glove to score Werth.
Bradley came to the plate believing he would win the game.
“I don’t believe in destiny, just play hard and the best team wins,” he said. “It would just be devastating to lose a game like that.”
“That’s usually the way those storied seasons go,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. “That’s a reshuffled bullpen they have and they no-hit us the last five innings. They’re doing the things you need to do to put you in the postseason.”
Colorado’s Brian Fuentes relieved Estes to start the eighth and allowed three consecutive hits without getting an out.
“Fuentes has been our best pitcher in the eighth inning the past two years, but he’s had back-to-back poor outings,” Hurdle said.
“I’d already struck out three times, so I was just trying to battle,” Green said. “It’s definitely pretty incredible to come back 50 times in a season. This team has a lot of heart. It took a lot of guys coming up big.”
Estes allowed five runs and six hits in seven innings, struck out a season-high nine and walked four. He retired 16 of 17 batters after giving up Beltre’s slam with two outs in the second.
Helton’s ground-rule double off the right-field wall gave Colorado a 2-0 lead in the first against Edwin Jackson. Estes struck out Green to escape a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the inning.
“I was a little over-amped, a bit too much adrenaline, I guess,” Estes said. “We knew the implications and where the Dodgers stand.”
The Dodgers scored five runs in the second to take a 5-2 lead. Cesar Izturis had an RBI single before Beltre hit a 1-0 pitch into the left-field pavilion for his third slam of the season. The crowd of 36,958 was on its feet chanting “MVP! MVP!” as Beltre circled the bases.
“Tonight would be classified as total team effort,” Tracy said. “We used an awful lot of resources.”
Castilla hit a two-run homer on the first pitch from Jackson in the third, cutting it to 5-4.
The Rockies batted around in the fourth and scored three runs to take a 7-5 lead. Hawpe homered on Jackson’s first pitch. Estes hit a ground-rule double and scored on Miles’ RBI single. Helton drove in Miles with a double down the right-field line.
Jackson, who hasn’t won since July 8, gave up six runs and eight hits in 3 1-3 innings.
Beltre’s grand slam was the fifth of his career and ninth by the Dodgers this season, tying the club record set in 2000. … Beltre has 374 total bases, breaking the Los Angeles record of 370 by Green in 2001 and giving Beltre the third-most in franchise history. … Homers by Castilla and Hawpe made the Rockies the first franchise in NL history to have six seasons of at least 200 homers. They also did so in 1995, ’96, ’97, ’99 and 2001. … Colorado SS Royce Clayton had two singles to tie his career high of 155 hits set in 1993 with San Francisco. … “American Idol” reject William Hung, famous for his tone-deaf version of Ricky Martin’s hit “She Bangs,” threw out the ceremonial first pitch on Chinese American Night. Hung’s toss from the rubber landed in the dirt.