DENVER -- This was not a game for Clayton Kershaw to enhance his Cy Young Award credentials. No, this was about the Los Angeles Dodgers ace simply surviving.
And he did that Monday as the Dodgers held on and beat the Colorado Rockies, 10-8.
Kershaw had his poorest start of the season. He allowed five runs and a career-high 11 hits in five innings, his shortest start since he went five innings Sept. 23, 2012, at Cincinnati. His ERA rose slightly from 1.72 to 1.89 as he allowed five earned runs in a game for the first time since July 24, 2012, at St. Louis when he also yielded five earned runs.
But thanks to a three-run rally in the sixth when Andre Ether, who went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs scored, hit a two-run homer, Kershaw improved to 14-8.
"We got a win," Kershaw said. "I'm just going to chalk this up to a bad start and enjoy getting a win I probably didn't deserve and come here tomorrow ready to work."
Ethier put the Dodgers ahead 5-3 with a two-run single that highlighted a three-run the fifth. But Kershaw gave those runs back in the bottom of the inning when the Rockies tied the game on a double by Nolan Arenado and Jordan Pacheco's single.
"Maybe I was due for one here. I had a couple good ones here," said Kershaw, who was 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA in two previous starts at Coors Field this season, including a four-hit shutout on July 2. "It happens. Hopefully, I'll get all these runs out of the way before it counts."
The Dodgers retaliated with three more runs in the sixth off Jeff Manship (0-5).
The inning began with third baseman Arenado's throwing error on Yasiel Puig's grounder. Puig suffered a mild right knee sprain when he passed first base. He eventually scored on a sacrifice fly, but did not take the field in the bottom of the inning.
"It's been hurting there for a while," Puig said through a translator, "but now it's hurting a little more. I'll get treatment tonight and tomorrow and see how I feel."
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Puig was scheduled to get a planned day off Tuesday and will not play.
The Rockies scored twice in the eighth, but the Dodgers responded in their half of the frame with two more runs.
Dodgers' closer Kenley Jansen gave up Wilin Rosario's 21st homer of the season to open the ninth. But Jansen retired Charlie Blackmon, who represented the tying run, to earn his 25th save.
Rockies starter Chad Bettis had to throw 32 pitches to get out of the first inning, but he yielded only one run. Bettis needed 105 pitches to work 4 2/3 innings.
"I wasn't efficient throughout the game, the first inning especially," said Bettis, who made his seventh career start. "I was trying to come out in the earlier innings with a little more energy. I need to control that. Being as inefficient as I was today was not acceptable."
The Rockies pounced on Kershaw for three runs in the first. He eased out of trouble in the second and fourth. With runners at first and second and no out in the second, Kershaw struck out Josh Rutledge and DJ LeMahieu and got Michael Cuddyer to fly out to escape.
In the fourth, the Rockies had runners on second and third with one out, but Kershaw retired Rutledge on a pop out and LeMahieu flied out to center .
"They just got a ton of hits," Kershaw said. "They beat me up pretty good. We got the win, fortunately. Team picked me up."
Notes: Edinson Volquez will make his Dodgers debut and start Wednesday. In three starts at Coors Field this year with San Diego, Volquez is 0-2 with a 14.92 ERA, allowing 29 hits and 21 earned runs in 12 2/3 innings. ... Rockies LF Carlos Gonzalez (right middle finger sprain) did not play Monday as scheduled at Fresno for Triple-A Colorado Springs due to swelling in his hand. He will be examined by the Rockies training staff on Tuesday. ... Mattingly said 1B-3B Michael Young, who pinch hit and struck out in the ninth, could make his first start Tuesday at third base. Juan Uribe, the regular third baseman, is 0-for-15 with six strikeouts against Jhoulys Chacin, who will start Tuesday for the Rockies. ... Kershaw's previous career high in hits allowed was 10 at Coors Field on July 22, 2008, in his rookie season. ... CF Dexter Fowler could return during the Dodgers series. He hasn't played since twisting his left knee on a stolen base attempt Aug. 26.