Nine innings later, Ubaldo Jimenez was still standing in the battle of the winless pitcher versus the surging offense.
The way Jimenez was pitching, it didn't seem like a fair fight.
The Colorado ace who had pitched like a fifth starter plucked from the scrap heap over the season's first two months considerably cooled off the Dodgers' bats during the Rockies' 3-0 victory Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.
Jimenez (1-5) held an offense that had scored 23 runs in its previous three games to four hits and no walks, recording his first shutout in more than a year. The Dodgers had only four baserunners and did not put a runner in scoring position until the ninth inning.
The calendar flipped to June, and the Dodgers' hitters reverted to the form they had exhibited for most of April and May.
"We have to give a better fight than that and give ourselves a chance to score," said Manager Don Mattingly, whose team was shut out for the fifth time and tied a season low with its hit output.
The Rockies were stuck in such a funk before Wednesday, having lost 10 of their last 12 games, that Manager Jim Tracy canceled batting practice. Many players didn't arrive until about two hours before the game.
"We have nothing to lose," Tracy said.
Jimenez couldn't win in his first nine starts of the season. The right-hander hardly resembled the pitcher who in 2010 set Rockies season records for victories (19), earned-run average (2.88), strikeouts (214) and opponents' batting average (.209).
But he was a study in efficiency during his 106-pitch performance Wednesday, needing only eight pitches to complete the fifth inning and five to complete the seventh. He finished with seven strikeouts, getting Matt Kemp to chase a 98-mph fastball on the final pitch.
"A little different Jimenez than we've been used to seeing," Mattingly said, noting that Jimenez relied more on his two-seam fastball and breaking pitches than usual.
Jon Garland needed 88 pitches to get through six innings in which he gave up five hits and three runs. Garland gave up a run in the second inning after center fielder Kemp charged forward and tried to make a diving catch on Ty Wigginton's liner.
"Matt comes up with that, it's a great catch," Garland said.
Instead, the ball sailed past Kemp's outstretched glove and rolled toward the wall. Wigginton ended up on third base and scored on Jose Morales' sacrifice fly.
Garland said he was "kind of shocked" to see Kemp try to make the catch considering the way the ball was knuckling.
"It should have been caught," Kemp said. "I've just got to get it next time."
Colorado took a 2-0 lead in the third when Seth Smith doubled, advanced to third on a sacrifice and scored on Carlos Gonzalez's sacrifice fly to medium center field.
Todd Helton homered to right field leading off the fourth, putting the Dodgers in an insurmountable 3-0 hole, considering the way Jimenez was pitching.
"He got outs today," Kemp said. "He did his job."