Chacin is good enough as Rockies top Dodgers

Jack Etkin, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

DENVER -- Jhoulys Chacin has been great recently for the Colorado Rockies.
On Thursday night, he was gritty, and that was good enough to win his fifth straight start. With the Rockies' offense giving Chacin breathing room, Colorado posted a 9-5 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field.
The win enabled the Rockies to avoid being swept as they head out for a 10-game road trip that includes visits to National League West rivals San Francisco, San Diego and the Los Angeles Dodgers leading to the All-Star break.
"Today wasn't my better game," Chacin said, "but the team really picked me up. It's a good way to go to the road, and hopefully we can pitch good and keep hitting like we did today and yesterday also (in a 10-8 loss to Los Angeles)."
The Rockies earned their fifth win in 16 games. The Dodgers lost for just the second time in 12 games.
In the first three innings, Chacin (8-3) gave up seven hits but just two runs, limiting the Dodgers to one hit in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position during that span. He left after 5 2/3 innings, having thrown a season-high 101 pitches.
Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez, who exited the game in the sixth with an upper back strain, doubled in a run in the first. Chacin gave up a two-run homer to Matt Kemp in the second, only to have the Rockies rally for four runs in the third.
"After I get the lead, I said, 'I need to pitch better,'" Chacin said. "Because that first inning, I wasn't making my pitches. I wasn't helping us at all and was hanging pitches. I said I need to start getting my focus back and making my pitch, and I did."
The four runs Chacin allowed matched his total from his previous four starts, during which he pitched 28 2/3 innings. The nine hits Chacin surrendered matched his season high.
Chacin had thrived in his recent starts because of his ability to throw his sinker for strikes, particularly on the first pitch.
"My sinker wasn't that good (Thursday)," he said. "It wasn't sinking that good. I wasn't throwing it for a strike. I have to throw to the middle, and that's when they get base hits. If I wasn't throwing my fastball for a strike, then my slider is not that good.
"After the first three innings, I started throwing my sinker better, throwing more strikes. I got more ahead of the hitters, and they have to swing at my pitches."
Michael Cuddyer scored three runs and had three RBIs, two on a double in a four-run third. In the seventh, he hit his 15th home run. Wilin Rosario hit a sacrifice fly in the third and an RBI single in the fifth, when the Rockies scored three runs and knocked out Dodgers starter Chris Capuano after 4 1/3 innings.
Capuano (2-6) gave up a leadoff double to Josh Rutledge, and after he struck out Carlos Gonzalez, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly brought in Brandon League to face two right-handed hitters Cuddyer and Wilin Rosario.
"Cuddyer hit him hard the time before," Mattingly said, referring to Cuddyer's double to deep center. "We knew we were going pinch-hit for him (Capuano was due up second in the sixth). We wanted to try to get those two righties out -- Cuddyer and Rosario. It didn't work."
League walked Cuddyer and gave up single to Rosario and another to Todd Helton that gave the Rockies an 8-2 lead.
"If we could just keep them there at 5-2, I thought we had a good shot," Mattingly said. "We weren't able to hold them."
Capuano was in synch with Mattingly's decision to pull him.
"In this ballpark, you're never out of it, so you want to make sure you keep it right there," Capuano said. "I thought I was throwing the ball a little better the last couple of innings. This is a good hitting team, and tonight I was having trouble cutting my fastball back over the plate.
"I made a good adjustment in the first inning, then that third inning they got the big hit. It's frustrating. I felt I was a pitch or two away from containing it."
Capuano has lasted just eight innings while losing his past two starts, giving up a total of 17 hits and 13 runs, 10 earned, in those outings. Before those games, he pitched a combined 11 scoreless innings in his previous two starts.
"They seem to go one way or the other," Mattingly said of Capuano's starts. "They seem to go that way quick."
Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt, who last pitched Saturday after nearly a month on the disabled list, gave up a leadoff homer in the ninth to Adrian Gonzalez before closing out the win. Adrian Gonzalez homered in each game of the series and has 13 for the season.
NOTES: Dodgers RF Yasiel Puig was in the lineup after running through pregame drills to test the left hip he bruised Wednesday night when he hit the wall making a catch. Puig, who has played 29 games in the big leagues, went 1-for-5, giving him his second eight-game hitting streak. ... Dodgers SS Hanley Ramirez extended his hitting streak to a career-high 15 games. ... Mattingly said LF Carl Crawford (left hamstring strain) would join the team Friday in San Francisco, but it hasn't been decided when he will be activated. ... RHP Carlos Marmol, acquired from the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, accepted a minor league assignment and is at the Dodgers' spring training facility in Glendale, Ariz., working on correcting some mechanical flaws with Rafael Chaves, the organization's pitching coordinator. Mattingly said Marmol would spend a couple days there and then join Triple-A Albuquerque. ... Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki took light swings in batting practice on the field for the first time since he fractured a rib on June 13. He thinks there is a chance he might return before the All-Star break. Tulowitzki will accompany the Rockies to Arizona, where they begin a 10-game road trip Friday, and increase his workouts. ... Dodgers LHP Ted Lilly (neck strain) is scheduled to make his second start Saturday for high Class A Rancho Cucamonga on a rehab assignment.

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