DENVER (AP) — Kevin Millwood pitched seven strong innings for his first big league win in nearly a year and Seth Smith hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh, leading the Colorado Rockies past the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-3 to snap a string of 17 straight Sunday losses.
The Rockies hadn’t won on a Sunday since beating the Chicago Cubs 9-5 on April 17.
After falling behind on Carlos Gonzalez’s two-run homer in the first inning, Chad Billingsley (10-10) had kept the Rockies in check, holding them without a hit over the next five innings.
But with one out in the seventh, Jason Giambi drew a walk, and Smith, down 0-1 in the count, followed with drive that soared into the second deck in left center above the Rockies’ bullpen for his 14th homer of the season.
Billingsley went 7 2-3 innings, allowing five runs on three hits. He struck out seven and walked five.
Chris Nelson helped preserve the Rockies’ win by throwing out Matt Kemp after making a diving stop of his hard grounder down the third base line in the top of the eighth inning, with Justin Sellers aboard following a leadoff walk.
The Rockies added a final run in the bottom of the eighth on Troy Tulowitzki’s sacrifice fly.
Rafael Betancourt got three outs for his second save in five chances.
Millwood, who replaced the injured Juan Nicasio in the Rockies’ rotation, got his first big league win since last Sept. 29, when he beat Tampa Bay while with the Baltimore Orioles.
He allowed three runs on seven hits in his third start since joining the Rockies on Aug. 10. A 14-year veteran, Millwood (1-1) had spent much of this season at Pawtucket, Boston’s Triple-A club. He actually had opted out of his minor league deal with the Red Sox and was driving to his home in Georgia when he got the call from the Rockies.
With the score tied 2-2 starting the fourth, James Loney, who finished a triple shy of the cycle, drove an 0-2 offering from Millwood into the right field seats for his sixth home run of the season.
Colorado jumped on Billingsley in the first. Mark Ellis hit a one-out single and Gonzalez followed with a drive into the right field seats for his 21st homer.
The Dodgers cut the deficit to one with three consecutive hits off Millwood starting the second, including an RBI double by Loney.
They evened the score on a run-scoring double in the third by Kemp.
NOTES: Kemp extended his hitting streak to a season-long 11 games with a single leading off the second inning. … The Dodgers head to St. Louis, where they’ll play opener of a three-game set with Nathan Eovaldi taking the mound against Chris Carpenter. The Dodgers are (2-4) so far on their 10-game road trip. … Colorado opens a three-game series at home Monday against the Houston Astros. Jhoulys Chacin is set to take the mound against the Astros’ Brett Myers.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)