Juan Nicasio pitched six solid innings, Troy Tulowitzki hit a two-run double and the Colorado Rockies overcame Matt Kemp's latest homer, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-2 Monday night in the first of 18 meetings this season between the NL West rivals.
Continuing his remarkable comeback from a broken neck suffered last August when he was hit in the head by a line drive against Washington, Nicasio (2-0) gave up two runs and nine hits. He struck out four and walked two in helping the Rockies cool off the streaking Dodgers, who were coming off a series sweep of the Nationals.
Kemp hit his major league-leading 12th homer for Los Angeles, which owns the best record in the NL at 16-7.
The Rockies escaped a bases-loaded, none-out threat against the middle of the Dodgers batting order in the seventh inning.
Nicasio faced two batters in the seventh, giving up consecutive singles to Jerry Hairston and Dee Gordon before being relieved by Esmil Rogers, who walked Mark Ellis to load the bases. That brought up Kemp, who homered in his first at-bat, driving the first pitch he saw from Nicasio over the yellow border atop the right-field wall.
Rogers fanned Kemp in a tense, seven-pitch at-bat and was relieved by Rex Brothers, who struck out Andre Ethier. Edgmer Escalona got James Loney to pop up, allowing the Rockies to wriggle out of the jam unscathed.
Colorado padded its lead in the bottom half when Michael Cuddyer drew a leadoff walk, Marco Scutaro singled and, one out later, Carlos Gonzalez singled for his second RBI of the night.
Trailing at the outset, the Rockies tied it in the first when Scutaro led off with a double and scored on successive groundouts by Jonathan Herrera and Gonzalez.
The Rockies went in front with a three-run fourth off starter Aaron Harang (1-2), who went 5 2-3 innings and gave up five runs on six hits.
Herrera singled and Gonzalez walked ahead of Tulowitzki's go-ahead double that rolled into the left-field corner. Tulowitzki went to third on the throw home and, one out later, Ramon Hernandez lifted a sacrifice fly to the center-field warning track.
After Juan Uribe drove in Loney with a sixth-inning single that pulled the Dodgers to 4-2, Hernandez delivered his second RBI of the night in the bottom half with a two-out double to rebuild a three-run cushion for the Rockies.
NOTES: Kemp extended his team record for most homers in April with his first-inning solo shot. ... Rockies left-handers Jorge De La Rosa (elbow) and Josh Outman (strained oblique) have left extended spring training for minor league rehab assignments. No specific timetable has been set for their return to the big leagues. ... With a second-inning walk, Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis has reached safely in 14 consecutive games. ... Dodgers RHP Todd Coffey was reinstated from a 16-day stay on the disabled list because of inflammation in his right knee. RHP Nathan Eovaldi was optioned to Double-A Chattanooga.