DENVER (The Sports Xchange) – Given their limited success against Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, the Colorado Rockies faced a formidable challenge Friday night.
The task became mountainous when Tyler Chatwood’s control betrayed him in the second inning, and the Dodgers strafed him for five runs. That was enough for Kershaw as Los Angeles evened the four-game series with a 6-2 victory.
Kershaw (6-2) improved his record in 35 career starts against the Rockies to 20-6 with a 3.13 ERA. In his past 11 starts against Colorado, Kershaw is 9-1 with a 2.36 ERA.
Coors Field can take its toll on any pitcher, and Kershaw has a 4.58 ERA there — respectable but nowhere near his standards — and is 9-4 in 19 starts.
Thanks to three inning-ending, double-play grounders, Kershaw got 13 outs on ground balls while holding the Rockies to two runs in seven innings. Kershaw has allowed two or fewer runs in six of his eight starts and has a 2.43 ERA.
He entered the game averaging 9.8 strikeouts every nine innings but finished with a season-low four strikeouts. Kershaw threw 85 pitches — one more than his lowest total of the season — as did Chatwood (3-5).
But Chatwood lasted a season-low 4 1/3 innings, due to a ruinous 35-pitch second, and tied his season high with four walks. Three came in the second and all those runners scored in the five-run rally that also included a triple and two doubles.
Chris Rusin gave the Rockies 2 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of Chatwood, but Jake McGee yielded Cody Bellinger’s seventh homer in the eighth to make it 6-2.
Kershaw gave up seven hits. The last was a fifth-inning single by Charlie Blackmon, who was Colorado’s last base runner.
The Dodgers batted around in the second and scored five runs off Chatwood, who threw just 45 of 85 pitches for strikes.
Blackmon tripled with one out in the third and scored on DJ LeMahieu’s single to cut the Dodgers’ lead to 5-1. But Kershaw got Nolan Arenado to ground into his second double play.
Kershaw walked Mark Reynolds to open the fourth and he scored on a single by Carlos Gonzalez to make it 5-2.
Pat Valaika was safe on shortstop Corey Seager’s error and Gonzalez took third on the play. Valaika broke for second on a wild pitch and was ruled safe, but the call was overturned. Kershaw then got Dustin Garneau to fly out.
Chatwood’s second-inning troubles began when he walked two batters and they scored on Chase Utley’s one-out triple. Chatwood also walked Yasiel Puig and gave up consecutive two-out doubles to Joc Pederson and Seager.
NOTES: Rockies OF Raimel Tapia was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque, and RHP Jeff Hoffman was optioned to that club. … Rockies C Tony Wolters (concussion) began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Albuquerque and went 0-for-3 while catching six innings. … Rockies CF Charlie Blackmon’s triple was his sixth of the season, one more than his 2016 total and three shy of his career-high nine triples in 2015. … Dodgers LF Cody Bellinger made his 16th career start and batted fourth for the fifth straight game. … Dodgers 1B Adrian Gonzalez (right elbow soreness) is expected to begin a two- or three-game rehab assignment next week.