Dodgers 19, Rockies 11
DENVER (AP)—Rookie James Loney’s reward for tying Gil Hodges’ 56-year-old Dodgers record of nine RBIs in a game? A trip back to the bench.
“He had a great day, what can you say?” Los Angeles manager Grady Little said. “He’ll be ready the next time we need him, I’m sure.”
Subbing for the ailing Nomar Garciaparra, Loney hit two homers, including a grand slam, to lead Los Angeles past Colorado 19-11 in a slugfest at Coors Field.
The Dodgers remained one game behind San Diego in the NL West and moved two games in front of Philadelphia in the wild-card race. The Padres beat Arizona 12-4, while the Phillies lost 3-1 to Washington.
Since being brought up from Triple-A Las Vegas, Loney is batting .286 and the Dodgers are 14-5 when he starts at first base.
“They brought me up and told me to be ready at all times,” Loney said. “We’ve had a lot of magic over the last two weeks. Sitting on the bench watching that, I wanted to be a part of that.”
Yet, he swears he won’t be bummed by going back to backing up Garciaparra.
“Whenever they need me,” he said.
He’ll be there, bat at the ready.
They needed him big-time Thursday in a game that featured 30 runs, 33 hits and 16 pitchers, prompting Little to wonder what was all this fuss this summer about the humidor making Coors Field a pitcher’s park.
Colorado manager Clint Hurdle was tired of watching the bullpen gates swing open.
“The first five innings, the game seemed like it was never going to end,” Hurdle said. “It was like a trip to the dentist and you sit in the chair and he just keeps drilling and drilling and drilling.”
In which case, Loney, who entered the game with one career home run and eight RBIs, was the one holding the drill.
Getting the start at first base with Garciaparra dealing with sore side and thigh muscles, Loney hit a grand slam in the second, a two-run double in the third, a run-scoring single in the fifth and a two-run homer in the seventh before striking out in the eighth.
That tied the club record for RBIs set by Hodges for Brooklyn on Aug. 31, 1950, against the Boston Braves in a game in which he hit four home runs. It’s the first nine-RBI game in the National League since Sammy Sosa did it for the Cubs at Coors Field on Aug. 10, 2002, and the most in the majors since Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees drove in 10 against the Angels on April 26, 2005.
The wild win was the Dodgers’ 15th in 19 games against the Rockies this season. They blew a five-run lead when Colorado scored seven times in the fourth to take a 10-8 lead, but the Dodgers tied it in the fifth and then put together a seven-run rally in the sixth.
Kenny Lofton (third) and Marlon Anderson (12th) hit back-to-back homers off Ray King (1-4), and Wilson Betemit added a two-run double off Jose Mesa, who also served up Loney’s two-run shot. Lofton came around on an error to make it 17-10.
Left-hander Mark Hendrickson (2-7), the Dodgers’ fourth pitcher, picked up the win. He gave up an unearned run and one hit in two innings.
Dodgers starter Brad Penny left the game after one inning when he was unable to loosen up his stiff lower back. Little said he might start Monday should the Dodgers find themselves in a one-game playoff.
“It is an issue when someone’s not 100 percent, but we’ll keep working and try to make him better,” Little said. “We need the guy to pitch.”
Penny, who has struggled since the All-Star break, allowed four hits, including a three-run home run to Matt Holliday. Afterward, he said he first experienced pain in his last start at Arizona on Saturday and felt a cramp when he warmed up Thursday.
Penny was lifted for a pinch hitter in the top of the second, right after Loney’s grand slam off Byung-Hyun Kim gave Los Angeles a 4-3 lead.
The Dodgers scored four times in the third to make it 8-3. But the Rockies bounced back to take a 10-8 lead by scoring seven runs on eight singles in the fourth, including one by Vinny Castilla in his last at-bat at Coors Field.
The Dodgers got the runs back in the fifth on RBI-singles by Betemit and Loney off Mike Venafro, tying it at 10 and setting up LA’s big sixth-inning outburst that included Loney’s two-run shot.
“We ran into a hot hitter,” Mesa said. “Loney was a hot hitter, someone we couldn’t get out.”
The Dodgers’ 19 runs were a season high. … The 30 runs were the most in the majors since the Yankees beat Tampa Bay 20-11 on June 21, 2005, and the most at Coors Field since June 19, 2002, when the Yankees beat the Rockies 20-10.