Dodgers hope to continue ascent up NL West standings in Colorado

It's not a deluxe apartment in the sky, but the Los Angeles Dodgers are moving on up in the National League West standings.

It took a whole lot of trying for the Dodgers to get out of the division basement and they will aim for a series win over the Colorado Rockies Wednesday at Coors Field.

Los Angeles has pulled within 2 1/2 games of the NL West lead and has won nine of its last 10 games, including Tuesday's 8-0 blanking of the Rockies behind a four-hit shutout by ace Clayton Kershaw. The left-hander fanned eight batters and did not allow a walk for his second shutout of the season and seventh of his career.

Yasiel Puig continued his breakout campaign with three hits, including a home run, and two runs scored, while Adrian Gonzalez belted a two-run homer to back Kershaw's stellar outing.

"This lineup right now is tough to get through and Puig right now is on another planet," Kershaw said. "You keep thinking he can't keep this up. He hits the ball really hard everywhere."

Puig is batting .443 with eight homers and 17 RBI this season. He helped the Dodgers to a 14-4 advantage in hits and the club opened a nine-game road trip on a high note. The Dodgers have won three in a row on the road and are the only team in the NL West on a winning streak.

The Dodgers have won two straight and four of Zack Greinke's last five starts and hope he can keep the momentum going Wednesday. Greinke tossed eight innings of one-run ball in a 6-1 win at San Diego on June 22, then battled through a 6-4 victory last Thursday versus Philadelphia.

The Phillies reached Greinke for four runs and 12 hits in seven innings, but the right-hander used clutch hitting, five strikeouts and one walk to improve to 5-2 in 11 starts with a 3.94 ERA.

Greinke did not record a decision at Colorado on June 1, when he yielded four runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings of a 7-6 loss. He is 1-1 with a 5.18 ERA in seven career meetings, six of which have been starts, with the Rockies.

Colorado is still second in the NL West at 1 1/2 games behind Arizona even though the club has lost 13 of its last 19 games.

The Rockies, who were coming off a series win over San Francisco this weekend, couldn't solve Kershaw and produced just four hits. Yorvit Torrealba had two of the hits and Michael Cuddyer's 27-game hitting streak came to an end, as he finished 0-for-4. Cuddyer batted .372 with six homers and 19 RBI during the longest hitting streak in franchise history.

"It was pretty cool," Cuddyer said. "It's something to be proud of, for sure."

The first five batters for the Rockies went a combined 1-for-18.

Rockies starting pitcher Roy Oswalt fell to 0-3 and gave up five runs and nine hits, including a home run, in five innings.

"I think I'm trying to be too fine," Oswalt said. "Trying to throw that nine- inning shutout, 70 pitches, instead of being aggressive like I've always been. After the home run I pretty much went all out, felt a lot better after that."

After Colorado finishes this series versus L.A., it will hit the road for 10 games against Arizona, San Diego and the Dodgers.

Tyler Chatwood will make his 10th start of the season Wednesday for the Rockies and has posted back-to-back no-decisions, allowing four hits and one run over six innings in each.

Chatwood is 4-1 with a 2.13 ERA in nine starts and defeated the Dodgers on the road April 29 with six scoreless innings. In five career starts against Los Angeles, the right-hander is 3-2 with a 3.00 ERA.

Colorado has won four of seven meetings with Los Angeles this season.