Mark Ellis drove in four runs on three hits for the Dodgers in L.A.'s… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)
For most teams, next week's All-Star break will be a welcome respite in the middle of a grueling season.
Give the Dodgers a choice, though, and some of them might just prefer to continue playing. Because with Thursday's methodical 6-1 win over the Colorado Rockies, the Dodgers added to a streak that has made the hottest team in the National League.
“We're confident and we've got a little momentum on our side,” said Manager Don Mattingly, whose team has won five in a row and 16 of 19 to climb above .500 (at 46-45) for the first time since April 15. “So it's a good time to just kind of keep it rolling, knowing that there are days that it's not going to look like this.”
BOX SCORE: Dodgers 6, Colorado 1
For the record, however, Mattingly said he plans to take next week off.
“I haven't seen Mom in a long time. I'm going to go home for a couple of days,” he joked before turning serious. “We are playing good. A couple of days off, if that cools you off then you aren't that good.”
While rookie Yasiel Puig gets a lot of the credit for the Dodgers' turnaround, Hanley Ramirez's return to the lineup has been perhaps an even bigger factor. The Dodgers have won 17 of 23 games since the shortstop came back full time.
“Hanley is just a beast. This guy is just dangerous right now,” Mattingly said of Ramirez, who walked three times Thursday and is hitting .476 since June 19.
On Thursday the rest of the batting order was dangerous, too, with leadoff hitter Mark Ellis driving in four runs to back the strong pitching of Chris Capuano, who shut out the Rockies on six hits for 6 1/3 innings.
The Dodgers jumped on Rockies starter Drew Pomeranz early, with four of their first seven batters getting hits, and the first run came on Jerry Hairston Jr.'s one-out double in the second.
They broke the game open in the fourth when Pomeranz walked the bases loaded for Ellis, who singled in two runs to make it 3-0.
A bases-loaded single by Ellis, his third hit of the night, drove in two more runs in the eighth, and Andre Ethier's sacrifice fly made it 6-0.
That was more than enough support for Capuano (3-6), who won for just the second time in two months.
“I had a good focus,” Capuano said. “And I made a little mechanical adjustment between starts to get a little more action down. Tonight was probably the best I felt this season. Just with command of the pitches and the action on them.”
The top three hitters in the lineup — Ellis, Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez — went seven for 13. Juan Uribe had two of the team's 13 hits and scored twice. But after striking out to start the seventh, Puig, who's had a tight left hip, left the game for precautionary reasons.
“It's been bothering me since hitting the wall in Colorado,” said Puig, who collided with the right-field wall at Coors Field last week. “The training staff took me out. They know I've been playing a lot of innings.”