DENVER (AP) – For the first time, left-hander Alex Wood was in a groove at hitter-friendly Coors Field.
Wood struck out 10 in six innings and drove in a run with a well-placed bunt on a squeeze play, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers past the Colorado Rockies 4-0 on Saturday night.
“You have enough bad ones here, eventually you’re able to have a good one,” Wood said with a smile. “That’s just kind of how it went tonight. I just felt the execution was there. That was the biggest part for me. You never know what your ball is going to do, but I felt like I was able to command it pretty good. And I felt that was the difference for sure.”
Wood (4-0) fanned at least one batter in five of his six innings and struck out the side in the third en route to reversing a dismal history at Coors, where he had gone 0-2 with an 11.25 ERA in four previous starts.
“He’s found a nice rhythm.,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Obviously, this is a tough place to pitch and to give us a six-inning shutout was big. Then, go the ‘pen and those guys did their thing.”
Wood has 21 strikeouts in his last two starts, fanning a season-high 11 last time out in beating the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday.
“He’s commanding the ball, he’s changing speeds, he’s throwing his three pitches at any time and he’s on a nice roll,” Rockies manager Bud Black said.
Brett Eibner supplied additional offense with his first home run of the season and Austin Barnes and Justin Turner added RBI doubles for the Dodgers, who won their 100th game at Coors Field, the most by any visiting club.
The Rockies, shut out at home for the second time this season, had five hits off Wood, all singles. They had no better luck against relievers Josh Fields, Pedro Baez and Kenley Jansen, who combined to throw three innings of two-hit ball.
“It was tough for us to put a rally together,” the Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez said. “We hit sharp line drives right at the corners. They pitched well. Wood is having a good year.”
A couple of sparkling defensive plays by the Dodgers also hemmed in the Rockies, whose NL West-lead over Los Angeles dwindled to one-half game.
First baseman Cody Bellinger turned an unassisted double play in the sixth, spearing Gonzalez’s searing line drive and catching Nolan Arenado, aboard with a walk, off the bag.
With a runner on second in the eighth, third baseman Turner ranged to his left to snag Arenado’s line drive before it could get through the hole. A frustrated Arenado pounded his bat into the dirt after Turner made the play.
Tyler Anderson (2-4) had eight strikeouts in 5 2-3 innings but the Dodgers managed to make solid contact when they did connect. Five of their seven hits went for extra bases, including Eibner’s homer leading off the fifth that soared into the stand of evergreens beyond the wall in center field.
Taking no chances with a four-run lead, Roberts brought on closer Jansen in a non-save situation in the ninth, and he finished the shutout, getting two strikeouts. “By the book, it was a non-save situation but here in Denver, it’s almost like four runs is a save,” Roberts said. “For him to take the baseball and not let these guys have any life and put them away says a lot about him as a teammate.”
Dodgers: 2B Logan Forsythe, sidelined since April 19 with a right toe fracture, ran the bases Saturday and was slated to move on to a rehab assignment next Tuesday.
Rockies: C Tony Wolters, placed on the 7-day DL with a concussion May 3 after being struck in the head by the back swing of a bat in San Diego, has begun his rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Albuquerque. He caught six innings against Nashville and was 1 for 4 with a home run as the designated hitter for Albuquerque on Saturday night. … CF Charlie Blackmon was not in the starting lineup for the first time this season as Black decided to give him a break. “I thought it was the right day to give him a night (off) from starting.” Blackmon remained available for pinch-hitting.
Dodgers: LHP Julio Urias (0-0, 1.06 ERA) is making his fourth start of the season and looking to break through for his first win.
Rockies: Rookie RHP Antonio Senzatela (5-1, 2.86 ERA) has pitched at least six innings in all four of his starts at Coors Field, winning three. He’s facing the Dodgers for the first time in his career.
– By DENNIS GEORGATOS, AP Sports Writer
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