DENVER – Pinch hitter Jason Giambi launched a three-run homer off Scott Elbert in the ninth inning, lifting the Colorado Rockies to an 8-5 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.
With first base open and one out, the Dodgers elected to pitch to Giambi. Carlos Gonzalez was waiting on deck — he'd hit two home runs off NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw earlier in the game.
The Rockies took a 2-1 lead into the late innings before it turned wild at Coors Field.
The Dodgers scored twice in the eighth, but Colorado bounced back for three in the bottom half for a 5-3 lead. Los Angeles tied it with two runs in the ninth.
It was the sixth multihomer game of Gonzalez's career and helped the Rockies take two of three against the NL-leading Dodgers.
Gonzalez hit a solo shot in the fourth on a fastball from Kershaw and then lined a 85 mph slider just over the right-field fence in the eighth for a two-run homer. Backup catcher Wilin Rosario also hit a solo shot off Kershaw, who surrendered three homers in a game for the first time in his career.
Kershaw lasted 7 1-3 innings and gave up a season-high five runs. He was on the hook for his first loss since Aug. 7, but escaped with a no decision when the Dodgers rallied in the ninth off closer Rafael Betancourt (1-0).
Betancourt gave up a single to Adam Kennedy to start the inning and then struck out the next two batters. Rather than challenge big-hitting Matt Kemp, Betancourt intentionally walked him to face Dee Gordon.
The plan backfired as Gordon delivered a two-run double to right. Maybe earlier in the game, Gordon's hit might have been just a single. But with Michael Cuddyer playing deep in right, a hustling Kemp was waved home by third base coach Tim Wallach and just beat the relay home with the tying run.
Jamey Wright (1-1) walked the first two batters he faced in the Colorado ninth and Jonathan Herrera bunted them over. The Dodgers brought in an extra infielder from the outfield, but it didn't matter as Giambi, batting for Dexter Fowler, met Elbert with a shot to center field.
It was the eighth pinch-hit homer of Giambi's career and fifth as a member of the Rockies.
Drew Pomeranz received a hard-luck no decision after the bullpen couldn't hold a late one-run lead. Pomeranz gave up one run and four hits over 6 2-3 innings.
Relying on a four-seam fastball, Pomeranz struck out five before being relieved in the seventh with two on and two outs. Matt Belisle got former Rockies infielder Mark Ellis to fly out.
Belisle then started off the eighth and surrendered a single. Rex Brothers entered the game and gave up a single to Kemp, followed by Jerry Hairston's two-run double down the left-field line.
The Rockies tied it up in their half of the eighth when Marco Scutaro led off with a single and was bunted over second. Fowler followed with an RBI single. Soon after, Gonzalez gave the Rockies the lead with his two-run shot. The player nicknamed CarGo has been locked in at the plate of late, hitting seven homers and driving in 18 runs since April 24.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was livid with a call by Tim Welke at first that ended a threat in the sixth. With a runner on, Hairston sent a roller into the hole that third baseman Chris Nelson snared and came up throwing. But his throw was off target and pulled Todd Helton off the bag.
Welke called Hairston out and Mattingly ran from the dugout with his arms extended in exasperation. He had words with Welke, before pleading with plate umpire Paul Schrieber. The call stood and the inning was over.
Rosario gave the Rockies a 2-1 lead in the fifth when he hit his second homer of the season. He was filling in for Ramon Hernandez, who was given the day off after playing the night before.
Gonzalez tied the game in the fourth when he hit a solo shot. He also homered the night before off Dodgers starter Ted Lilly.
NOTES: Mattingly said INF Juan Uribe is still bothered by a sore left wrist he originally hurt while sliding into a base two weeks ago in Milwaukee. ... Despite his prodigious offensive numbers, Kemp was walked intentionally for the first time this season in the third.