In what was supposed to be an easy series for the Los Angeles Dodgers has turned out to be a disaster versus the Colorado Rockies.
The Rockies will try make life even harder on the Dodgers when they shoot for a three-game sweep tonight from Chavez Ravine. Colorado has taken the first two installments of this series after suffering a three-game sweep at the hands of San Francisco over the weekend, and is coming off last night's 3-1 win in which Josh Rutledge and Eric Young Jr. shined at the plate.
Rutledge went 4-for-5 with three doubles and three RBI, while Young added three hits and two runs scored for the Rockies, who won for just the third time in 11 tries and used five pitchers to hold L.A. to four hits.
"I have to take advantage of my opportunities. I see my name in the lineup and I go out and hit," said Young, who has 12 hits and seven runs scored in his past five starts.
Alex White starter for the visitors and tossed 4 1/3 shutout innings. Josh Roenicke got the win with three scoreless innings of relief, and Rex Brothers, Matt Belisle and Rafael Betancourt went the rest of the way. Betancourt grabbed his 19th save by working a perfect ninth inning.
Colorado, which posted a 2-0 win in the series opener, won consecutive games for the first time since bookending the All-Star break from July 8-13 with victories over Washington and Philadelphia. The last time the Rockies won three straight was during a five-game run from May 28-June 1.
Jeff Francis will try to pitch Colorado to a series sweep tonight, but has been serving up plenty of runs lately. Francis has allowed 18 runs over his previous four starts and enters tonight's game riding a personal two-game losing streak. He last pitched in an 11-6 loss to the Giants on Saturday and yielded six runs and nine hits in just 3 2/3 innings.
Francis has lasted only 7 2/3 innings through his past two outings and is 3-4 with a 6.02 earned run average in 12 starts. The left-hander is 2-1 in six road starts this season and 5-4 with a 3.33 ERA in 16 career starts against the Dodgers.
The Rockies will visit San Francisco for three games this weekend.
With a lineup that features Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Hanley Ramirez and James Loney, the Dodgers have to be baffled that they have scored just one run in this series. Aaron Harang was saddled with the loss for giving up three runs and six hits in six innings.
Mark Ellis drove in the lone run and Ramirez ended with a team-best two hits. Kemp was 0-for-3 and had his nine-game hitting streak come to an end. Kemp was one game shy of his season-long 10-game hitting streak from April 11-21 for the Dodgers, who entered this series having won three straight and six of nine.
"We had some opportunities, we just didn't get it done tonight," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "Our guys need to relax and get good pitches to hit."
Andre Ethier was 0-for-3 last night and is one double shy of setting a franchise record with six consecutive 30-plus double seasons. Ethier already is just the second Dodger with five consecutive 30-double campaigns (Jackie Robinson).
Tuesday's loss coupled by a San Francisco win pushed the Dodgers 1 1/2 games off the NL West lead. Arizona remained four games behind the Giants, but gained some ground on Los Angeles for second place.
After tonight's game the Dodgers will hit the road for a 10-game trek against Miami, Pittsburgh and Atlanta.
Chad Billingsley will try to salvage the finale of this set for L.A. when he toes the rubber tonight. Billingsley has won three straight starts since dropping five in a row, and is coming off Friday's 6-1 win over the Chicago Cubs in which he hurled seven innings of one-run ball.
Billingsley has given up only two runs in his last 20 1/3 innings and is 7-9 in 21 starts with an ERA of 3.74. The right-hander is just 2-4 in 10 starts at Dodger Stadium this season and 3-7 with a 5.27 ERA in 16 games (14 starts) lifetime against the Rockies.
Colorado leads the season series with Los Angeles by a 6-5 edge and won a series at Chavez Ravine for the first time since taking two of three meetings from Sept. 17-19, 2010. The Rockies haven't swept a set at Dodger Stadium since the 2007 campaign.