Dodgers 2, Rockies 1
LOS ANGELES (AP)—A flu bug helped Derek Lowe keep himself and his pitches under control.
The Los Angeles Dodgers’ right-hander did not walk a batter for the first time in his six starts this season and held the Colorado Rockies to a run and five hits over six innings in a 2-1 victory on Sunday.
“Everyone goes to work sick. You just pitch through it,” Lowe said. “It started a little bit yesterday, but it’s nothing that everybody else doesn’t get. You just take your antibiotics and look forward to pitching again. It’s nothing that’s going to sideline you.”
Lowe (2-2) threw 80 pitches and struck out two. He acknowledged that he was a little weaker than normal, and that made him become more of a finesse pitcher — for this start, anyway.
“I wasn’t throwing as hard as I normally do, but games like this are good because it shows you it’s not velocity. It’s location and changing speeds—the old basic theory of pitching,” he said. “The big thing is to just try to keep it simple, one pitch at a time, and don’t try to overthrow because it’s not really worth it.”
Jeff Kent drove in both runs for the Dodgers, helping them complete a three-game sweep and send Colorado to its fifth straight loss.
The Rockies also were swept in three games by San Francisco and Arizona, and are off to a 6-17 start. Los Angeles had lost six of seven entering the series.
“I’ve always talked about the quality of our pitching staff, and that’s one of the reasons I’m here and why I believe this team is going to win,” Kent said.
“When you get into the seventh and eighth innings and your team has confidence in the guys that are coming out of the bullpen, man, that makes a world of difference.”
Shawn Chacon (1-1) threw 116 pitches over five innings, allowing two runs, three hits and seven walks. He has allowed 24 walks and 25 earned runs in 37 2-3 career innings at Dodger Stadium.
“My best pitch was probably my breaking ball. I couldn’t throw the fastball and my sinker was out of the zone all day,” Chacon said. “When you can’t throw your fastball for strikes, that makes everything else not good. And that was the case today.”
Los Angeles scored in the third and fifth innings, but left the bases loaded both times. Cesar Izturis drew a leadoff walk in the fifth and came in with the go-ahead run on Kent’s sacrifice fly, but Chacon retired Jose Valentin on a popup and Jason Repko on a groundout.
In the third, Kent followed consecutive one-out walks to Hee-Seop Choi and J.D. Drew with a bases-loaded single that scored Izturis and tied the game at 1-all. Chacon then struck out Ricky Ledee and Valentin.
“Those are easy situations to let get out of hand, so you’ve just got to stay focused and try to make a pitch—even on the bad days when you don’t have good command,” Chacon said. “I did that a couple of times today, but it doesn’t matter because we lost the game.”
Valentin is in an 0-for-22 drought and has only one hit in his last 31 at-bats, a game-winning two-run triple on April 20 at San Diego.
“He’s going to come out of it,” hitting coach Tim Wallach said. “I’d be worried about it if he was a young guy, but he’s been through it before, so he’s not panicking. And that’s the key—keep working, keep swinging and stay aggressive. He’s going to have to swing his way out of it. It’s not like he’s giving at-bats away.”
The Rockies, who staked Chacon to a 7-0 lead against the Dodgers in his 8-6 victory on April 23 at Coors Field, scored their only run in the first on Brad Hawpe’s two-out single. Hawpe was 6-for-8 with four RBIs in the series.
Aaron Miles, the Rockies’ leadoff hitter, has not drawn a walk this season in 83 plate appearances.
“The guy’s hitting close to .330, so you don’t take the aggressive nature away from him. You just tell him to keep doing what he’s doing and hope it works out,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “He’s actually run counts deeper than he ever did last season, but walks just haven’t come his way.”
Colorado pitchers walked 23 in this series, including eight by Jason Jennings on Friday night. … Gagne, sidelined with a sprained right elbow, threw 35 pitches in a bullpen session with no discomfort and is to pitch a simulated game this week before going on a minor league rehab assignment. … Dodgers LHP Wilson Alvarez, who has yet to pitch this season because of tendinitis in his shoulder, had a light bullpen session and is to be activated from the DL Monday or Tuesday. … The Dodgers had a total of two hits through the first four innings of the three games with the Rockies. In the fifth inning, they totaled 10 runs. … Dustan Mohr was hitless in three at-bats, making him 2-for-31 in his career against Los Angeles, including 0-for-18 at Dodger Stadium. Mohr was hit in the back by Brazoban with two outs in the ninth.