Clayton Kershaw (4-5) allowed just four singles in six crisp innings and the Dodgers beat Colorado 5-1 Saturday night for their 12th win in 13 games.
“They’re playing with confidence, they’re getting good pitching, some timely hitting, they’re playing good baseball,” Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said. “That’s why they’re kind of taking off with it.”
And it reminds him of his own team a year ago.
The Rockies have lost seven straight, a turnaround from last September, when they went on a 14-1 tear to reach the NL playoffs, victimizing Los Angeles seven times in that memorable streak.
“We definitely know that feeling and we want that feeling but right now we just don’t have it,” Tulowitzki said. “We’re not doing things with runners in scoring position, we’re not playing the defense that we were, our pitching’s been inconsistent. It’s tough right now.”
The Dodgers know that feeling, too, and they’re glad it’s a new year.
“We are hot right now,” said Russell Martin, who drove in two runs. “We’re hot at the right time just like they were last year. And like them, it hasn’t been just one guy. Manny (Ramirez) and Casey (Blake) have given us something, but a lot of people have given us something over the recent stretch.
“There are some similarities. That was a heck of a team over there last year.”
Los Angeles came into the game Saturday night with a 3 1/2 -game lead on Arizona in the NL West. At the end of August, the Dodgers had lost eight in a row to fall 4 1/2 games behind the Diamondbacks.
“We felt early on that we were lucky to be as close as we were with our record,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. “I think this last road trip was a real wake-up call for us where we lost the first eight games and all of a sudden we feel we have something special going and we won’t let that go.”
Despite being below .500 almost the entire season, the Rockies fancied themselves contenders in the middling NL West until their skid, which has assured them of a losing record a year after reaching their first World Series.
Kershaw walked two and struck out seven in his own turnaround at Coors Field, where he allowed five runs and 10 hits in three innings in his last appearance here on July 22.
His team’s 13 strikeouts were what most bothered Rockies manager Clint Hurdle.
“We’ve got to find a way to get better at-bats,” Hurdle said. “Every night you can’t say, ‘The other guy pitched well.’ You’ve got to find a way to get things done. You’ve got to dig a game out of the dirt on the offensive side of the ball.”
The Dodgers scored three times in the fourth off Jorge De La Rosa (8-8) to take a 4-1 lead. Angel Berroa doubled home a run, Martin had an RBI single and Juan Pierre added a sacrifice fly. Martin’s RBI groundout in the sixth made it 5-1.
Blake’s solo homer, his ninth, put the Dodgers ahead 1-0 in the second inning, and the Rockies tied it on Clint Barmes’ RBI single in the third.
De La Rosa, who had won five straight decisions at Coors Field since May 8, allowed four earned runs and seven hits with three walks in five innings.
Before the game, the Dodgers activated closer Takashi Saito from the 60-day disabled list and placed outfielder Andruw Jones on the 60-day DL. Saito had been out of action since the All-Star break with soreness in his right elbow.
Hurdle said 1B Todd Helton, who returned to the active roster Friday after missing 62 games with a bad back, would continue to serve as a pinch-hitter. … The Rockies’ longest skid of the season was eight losses from June 22-30.