Dodgers send Kershaw to hill for opener with Rockies

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Clayton Kershaw leads the majors with a 1.88 earned run average and will try to keep it under two in his final postseason tuneup Friday, when the Los Angeles Dodgers open a three-game series versus the Colorado Rockies.

Kershaw has a 15-9 record in 32 starts and has won five of his last seven decisions, including Saturday's 4-0 win at San Diego. He threw seven scoreless innings in that one, allowing three hits with 10 strikeouts and two walks.

The left-hander and 2011 NL Cy Young Award winner has made 22 career starts against Colorado, going 9-5 with a 3.76 ERA. Kershaw is 2-1 in four meetings with the Rockies this season.

Los Angeles lost the last two meetings with the San Francisco Giants in its recent three-game set by the bay and dropped a 3-2 decision on Thursday. Angel Pagan led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a home run off of Dodgers reliever Paco Rodriguez to keep the Giants ahead for good. The Dodgers went down in order in the ninth and went 5-5 on the recent trip.

Edinson Volquez tossed five innings for L.A., which fell three games behind the Braves and Cardinals for best record in the National League. The veteran right-hander surrendered two runs on four hits and three walks.

"I'd love to see us score 10 runs a night and throw a shutout and have every (reliever) get their outs, but to be honest with you, I don't think it matters one bit, not until next Thursday," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.

Mattingly's club has lost three in a row and four of five at home.

Colorado is playing out the string and completed a nine-game homestand with a 4-5 record. The Rockies split a quick two-game set with the AL East-champion Boston Red Sox and are coming off Wednesday's 15-5 loss in which starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin was drilled for seven runs and nine hits in four innings. Rob Scahill allowed three runs and Roy Oswalt gave up five in relief.

Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, who is retiring at season's end, went 2- for-3 with a home run and three RBI, while Nolan Arenado had two hits and drove in a run for the Rockies.

"I hoped I would go out and play well," said Helton, who had a bobblehead in his likeness given out to the first 35,000 fans. "But there was so much going on before the game. My expectations weren't that high. To be able to go out and play and be productive, that means a lot to me."

Collin McHugh draws the start for the Rockies at Dodger Stadium and is 0-2 with a 7.80 ERA in three starts since coming over from the New York Mets. McHugh had a rough outing his last time out in a 7-2 loss to Arizona on Saturday, when he was reached for six runs and 11 hits in five innings.

McHugh, a right-hander, has never faced the Dodgers.

Colorado and Los Angeles have split 16 meetings this season.