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Dodgers run it up in 16-10 victory

July 22, 2008|Dylan Hernandez | Times Staff Writer

DENVER -- The Dodgers started their series in Colorado the way they ended their three-game set in Arizona, pounding a struggling pitcher and forcing him to retreat to the dugout to a chorus of boos from his home fans.

Playing the role of Diamondbacks closer Brandon Lyon at Coors Field on Monday night was Rockies starting pitcher Kip Wells, who in his first major league game in almost three months was hammered for eight runs and seven hits in the first inning to hand the Dodgers a lead they couldn't possibly blow and send them on their way to a 16-10 victory.

The Dodgers set season highs in runs, as well as hits, with 18.

They moved to within a game of .500 and remained tied with Arizona for first place in the National League West.

"Arena baseball," Dodgers Manager Joe Torre said.

James Loney, who drove in nine runs in one game at Coors Field in 2006 and six in another game this May, had five runs batted in and was three for six with two runs and a bases-clearing triple.

"Guys are getting on base for me," Loney said. "I'm not putting them out there."

Loney was the most offensively productive player on an offensively productive night for the Dodgers, who scored runs in the first five innings.

Wells, who graduated from the same Texas high school as Loney, looked like a likely victim for this kind of flogging, because he last pitched for the Rockies on April 28 and was placed on the disabled two days later because of a blood clot in his right hand.

The 31-year-old right-hander, who signed a $3.1-million deal over the winter, had surgery May 2.

Wells started a minor-league rehab assignment June 26 and was 0-3 with an 8.84 earned-run average over four starts with triple-A Colorado Springs. He fared better in his last rehab start, giving up two runs in 6 2/3 innings for double-A Tulsa.

The Dodgers, who scored five runs against Lyon on Sunday to pull even with Arizona atop the divisional standings, immediately went to work on Wells.

Doubles by Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier were followed by successive singles by Russell Martin, Jeff Kent and Loney.

Wells recorded his only out by striking out Andruw Jones -- the strikeout was the first of three for Jones -- but resumed his freefall by walking Andy LaRoche.

Dodgers starting pitcher Eric Stults reached base on a fielding error by second baseman Jeff Baker, Kemp doubled again and Wells' night was over.

Ryan Speier got the Rockies out of the inning, but gave up four runs and six hits over the next three innings, extending the Dodgers' lead to 12-3.

Speier was replaced by Matt Herges, who was charged with four runs in a fifth inning that was capped by a bases-clearing triple by Loney. With the Dodgers ahead, 16-3, Kent was replaced in the bottom half of the inning by Pablo Ozuna.

Stults lasted only 3 2/3 innings, after he gave up three runs and six hits and walked four.

In the first game of a series in which Torre could be making frequent calls to the bullpen because of the way the ball travels in the high-altitude park, the Dodgers used four relievers. They combined to give up a total of seven runs and 14 hits.

"Is that all it was?" Torre said when told of the number of pitchers the team used. "You certainly don't want to do that."

Even uber-reliever Hong-Chih Kuo wasn't immune to the effects of Coors Field, his two runs over the final 1 2/3 innings marking his first multi-run outing since April 23.

Troy Tulowitzki, who had missed the Rockies' last 13 games because of a cut he suffered from slamming a bat to the ground July 4, collected a career-high five hits in five at-bats.

The second-year shortstop, who missed 47 games this season because of a torn left quadriceps tendon, entered the game hitting .166.

--

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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