Clayton Kershaw went eight innings, Shane Victorino and Bobby Abreu both homered, and the Los Angeles Dodgers pasted the Colorado Rockies, 8-0, on Friday in the opener of a three-game series.
Kershaw (13-9) struck out 10 and scattered five hits with a pair of walks in his second start back from a hip injury. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner was sidelined for 11 days before returning to the mound on Sunday in a no-decision against the Cincinnati Reds.
"I feel good," said Kershaw. "I was able to command the ball better tonight."
Andre Ethier and A.J. Ellis both had an RBI double for the Dodgers, who have won three straight and sit three games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the NL's final wild card spot. St. Louis defeated the Washington Nationals, 12-2, earlier Friday.
Jeff Francis (5-7) was charged with five runs on six hits over four innings in the loss. The lefty hasn't won since defeating the Dodgers on Aug. 27.
"Clayton was pretty lights outs," said Francis. "He was pretty spectacular tonight."
In all, the Rockies went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and saw their four-game win streak come to an end.
Ethier, who finished 3-for-4 and scored three times, flared an RBI double into shallow left field after Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez began the second inning with a single and a walk, respectively.
Victorino then belted a fastball over the fence in left-center field to give the Dodgers an early 4-0 advantage.
Ethier crossed the plate again in the fourth on Kershaw's bases-loaded, double-play groundout and once more in the eighth when Ellis ripped a two- bagger to left.
Abreu followed with his first career pinch-hit homer -- a blast to right which capped the scoring.
Kershaw threw a 40-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday that yielded no setbacks. He improved to 7-4 in 18 career meetings with the Rockies ... Colorado has lost each of Francis' past five outings ... The teams have split 16 games this season.