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Depleted Dodgers get the job done in 8-2 win over Rockies

Fielding a lineup worthy of a spring-training game, they nonetheless rout Colorado, with Rod Barajas and Tony Gwynn Jr. hitting home runs in a rare show of support for hard-luck starter Hiroki Kuroda.

August 19, 2011|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Dodgers' Justin Sellers avoids a tag by Colorado catcher Eliezer Alfonzo to score in seventh inning.
Dodgers' Justin Sellers avoids a tag by Colorado catcher Eliezer… (Chris Schneider / Associated…)

Andre Ethier was out of the lineup because of an infected toe.

Tony Gwynn Jr. was leading off. Justin Sellers was batting second, Aaron Miles third.

The Dodgers team that took the field Friday night at Coors Field looked like a spring training split squad.

"This has kind of been our club, to be honest with you," Manager Don Mattingly said.

He broke into a light laugh.

But what figured to be the latest lowlight for the downtrodden Dodgers turned out to be a resounding triumph. The bankrupt ballclub scored more runs than it had in its four previous games combined and beat the Colorado Rockies, 8-2.

The unlikely beneficiary of this offensive windfall was Hiroki Kuroda (9-14), who went into the game with the fourth-worst run support among National League starters. Kuroda held the Rockies to two runs and four hits over six innings, making this the first time since April 24 that he gave up even one run and still won. In his last six wins before Friday, he had allowed no runs.

"I'm glad I didn't know that before the game," said Kuroda, who beat the Rockies for the first time in four major league seasons.

The Dodgers also scored seven runs in Kuroda's last start, a 7-0 victory over Houston five days earlier.

Kuroda said he hadn't shaved since that game and, again, the runs and hits came from everywhere.

Rod Barajas and Gwynn hit home runs. Miles and James Loney drove in runs; Barajas drove in four. Reserve outfielder Trent Oeltjen hit a pinch single in the eighth inning to end an 0-for-17 slide.

Before the game, Kuroda jokingly asked Barajas to hit a home run for him and the catcher obliged with a three-run shot in the third inning that extended the Dodgers' lead to 6-0. Tony Gwynn Jr. went deep an inning later.

"All you have to do is ask," Barajas said he later told Kuroda.

In the last two games, Barajas has used a 30-ounce bat that belongs to sidelined rookie shortstop Dee Gordon. In both games, he homered.

Barajas said his own bat weighs 31 ounces.

"It's probably more of a mental thing," Barajas said. "I feel I have more time because I have something small in my hands. It's only one ounce but in your mind, it's a pound."

But Barajas' jubilation was tempered because he suffered a mildly strained right groin while running out a sixth-inning groundout. He was replaced by Dioner Navarro in the bottom half of the inning.

"I felt a little discomfort in the area," Barajas said. "I didn't feel a pop."

That, combined with the fact he was able to move laterally in a crouched position without discomfort, convinced him that he wouldn't land on the disabled list.

About the only other disconcerting event of the evening was the ninth-inning ejection of most-valuable-player candidate Matt Kemp, who was one for five with three strikeouts. Kemp tried to check his swing on the last of his strikeouts, but first base umpire Ted Barrett ruled that he failed to do so. Kemp returned to the dugout, from where he barked at Barrett, who, in turn, tossed him.

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

twitter.com/dylanohernandez

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