Rockies take 2 of 3 from Dodgers
DENVER (AP)—Brian Fuentes tunes out everything when he’s brought in to close a game.
He’s trying to do the same with the persistent trade rumors.
Fuentes tied the franchise’s career saves mark with a scoreless ninth inning in a 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.
But the question still hovers over him: Will he still be around after the trade deadline?
“I expect to be here,” Fuentes said. “We’re playing well. I hope to be here.”
Fuentes struck out Andre Ethier to end the game and pick up his 102nd save, tying him with Jose Jimenez.
What’s more, he retired a franchise-record 23 straight batters, spanning eight appearances, before giving up a two-out single to Matt Kemp.
He was never aware of the streak.
“I knew it had been a while,” Fuentes said. “But I wasn’t counting. I was just trying to get guys out, trying to keep guys off the basepaths.”
The bullpen excelled at that Wednesday as the Rockies closed a seven-game homestand with a 6-1 mark.
After Glendon Rusch left in the fifth having given up three runs, the relievers kept things under control, allowing no further damage.
It wasn’t always pretty, especially in the eighth.
“I knew a strikeout was the best way to get out of it,” Buchholz said.
Fuentes took it from there to earn his 17th save this season.
“He’s been awesome,” Buchholz said. “He kind of jells us all together, keeps us loose.”
That’s why Buchholz said his presence would be missed should Fuentes be dealt.
“It would be tough to imagine (him not here),” Buchholz said. “He’s been lights out. It would be a big blow if we lost him.”
But Fuentes isn’t thinking about the speculation. He’s here and that’s all that matters as far as he’s thinking.
“It’s kind of like closing—you’ve got to block out the external factors, the score, crowd, who’s batting,” the left-hander said. “When I’m out there, I don’t think about those things. And when I’m not at the park, I’m not thinking about baseball.”
Colorado’s Matt Holliday drove in two runs, including one on a double that bounced off the pitcher’s glove and trickled into shallow left.
“We’ve got our offense clicking and going good,” said Hawpe, who’s hitting .436 against Los Angeles this season.
After scoring 16 runs in the series opener, the Dodgers’ bats cooled off, managing just four more over the final two games.
“We didn’t get the job done this game or yesterday,” said LaRoche, who had an RBI single in the second. “We left too many runners in scoring position, me included. I did it my last three times I came up. I have to deliver in those situations. I have to blame myself for that. We have to put this behind us and forget this game.”
Rusch (4-3) earned his third straight victory, his longest streak since winning four in a row in September 2005 while a member of the Chicago Cubs.
Rusch gave up three runs and seven hits in five innings. It was the first time he’s defeated the Dodgers in six career starts.
“He bent today, but didn’t break,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “That being said, he found a way to stay away from a barrel, a ball in the gap, a home run, a big swing. So, good for him. He’s been a good shot in the arm when we needed it.”
Hiroki Kuroda (5-7) was hit hard early but settled into a groove, lasting six innings and giving up five runs. He allowed just one of his nine hits over his last three innings.
“He couldn’t make pitches in the first three innings,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. “Location was his problem. Then, he settled in. They couldn’t hit him in the last three innings he worked.”
Stewart went 2-for-3, bringing his average to .550 since being recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs last Saturday. … Dodgers SS Nomar Garciaparra had a 35th birthday he would just as soon forget, finishing hitless in four at-bats. He hit into two double plays and struck out.