Helton, De La Rosa stall Dodgers run
Jorge De La Rosa has fashioned a pretty good comeback story that could soon get even better.
De La Rosa pitched six strong innings to win his sixth consecutive decision, Todd Helton homered and the Colorado Rockies snapped the Los Angeles Dodgers' six-game winning streak with a 7-5 victory on Wednesday night.
De La Rosa (16-6), pitching his first full season since returning from reconstructive elbow surgery that sidelined him for a year-and-a-half, allowed two runs and six hits to match his career high for wins in a season. He tied Washington's Jordan Zimmermann for most wins in the National League. De La Rosa went 16-9 in 2009 for the Rockies and is one win from tying teammate Jeff Francis for most wins in a season by a Colorado left-hander. No Rockies pitcher has ever led the league in wins.
''It's pretty amazing, missing a year-and-a-half and coming back and pitching like he has,'' Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. ''That's really difficult to do, just to come back and pitch and be effective. His changeup was really good. I think even when hitters know they're going to get it, they still swung and missed, so his changeup has been outstanding this year.''
De La Rosa said he's a better pitcher now, benefiting from all the down time by watching tapes of other pitchers and honing his craft.
''I've learned more about pitching by watching other guys,'' he said. ''It's helped me.''
He's also fought through a left thumb bruise that has been bothering him for the past couple of months.
''It's still sore, but I want to pitch,'' De La Rosa said. ''It's not worse. It's not better. It's the same. It just needs rest to get better.''
And that, he said, can wait until the offseason.
Colorado built an early lead off Edinson Volquez, who was making his first start for Los Angeles after being signed last week by the Dodgers following his release by San Diego.
Volquez (9-11) allowed four runs and six hits in four innings in falling to 0-5 in six starts against Colorado this season. But he felt encouraged by his start and the tweaks in his delivery made by pitching coach Rick Honeycutt.
''I was doing everything they wanted me to do,'' Volquez said. ''I just missed a spot today. A lot of pitches out of the strike zone. Two-strike singles. So I got to execute the pitches now, keep the ball down, especially in this ballpark.''
Rockies rookie third baseman Nolan Arenado left after the fourth inning with a right thumb contusion. The team characterized his availability as day to day.
After the Dodgers pulled to 4-2 on Scott Van Slyke's bases-loaded double play grounder in the sixth, the Rockies extended their lead to 7-2 in the seventh on an RBI single by Josh Rutledge, a sacrifice fly by Troy Tulowitzki and a balk by Carlos Marmol that brought Rutledge home from third.
The Dodgers rallied for three runs in the eighth off Matt Belisle. Michael Young had his second RBI single of the game and one out later, second baseman Rutledge booted A.J. Ellis' grounder for an error. Juan Uribe followed with an RBI double and Skip Schumaker had an RBI single.
Manuel Corpas relieved, and struck out pinch-hitters Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig to end the inning. Rex Brothers pitched a scoreless ninth for his 15th save in 16 chances, helped by a running catch of Hanley Ramirez's drive at the warning track in left field by Carlos Gonzalez, who entered in the final inning as a defensive replacement.
The Rockies put up at least one run against Volquez in each of his first three innings, starting with an RBI double by Tulowitzki in the first. Tulowitzki took third on a wild pitch and scored on Michael Cuddyer's sacrifice fly.
Helton drove a 2-2 pitch from Volquez into the Rockies bullpen beyond the center field fence for his 12th home run to make it 3-1 in the second.
A botched rundown in the third led to the Rockies' fourth run. Rutledge, who had tripled ahead of Tulowitzki's double, singled to start the inning and advanced to second on a passed ball by Ellis.
Tulowitzki grounded to short and with Rutledge breaking for third, Ramirez tried to get the lead runner by throwing the ball to third baseman Uribe. Rutledge retreated to second, managing to outrun Uribe and elude his lunging tag by diving back into the bag as Tulowitzki reached first.
Cuddyer followed with a run-scoring single for a 4-1 lead.
NOTES: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu was scratched by the Dodgers from his scheduled start Friday at Cincinnati because of a back injury. RHP Chris Capuano (4-7) will start in his place against the Reds' Mike Leake (11-6). The Dodgers travel to Cincinnati on Thursday, an off day. ... Puig was out of the starting lineup for a second straight game while resting a right knee strain but did get an at-bat in the eighth as a pinch-hitter. ... Colorado went 5-4 during its just concluded game homestand. Following an off day, the Rockies on Friday open a nine-game road trip at San Diego with Juan Nicasio (8-7) facing the Padres' Burch Smith (0-1). ... Rockies RHP Roy Oswalt, who is on the DL with a left hamstring strain, had a successful rehab start Tuesday night with rookie-level Grand Junction and could be activated by the Rockies sometime this weekend.