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Rockies' Senzatela gets emotional win year after mom's death

By: BRENT W. NEW, Associated Press
May 14, 2017 Updated: May 14, 2017 at 11:25 pm
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photo - Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Antonio Senzatela delivers pitch to Los Angeles Dodgers' Joc Pederson in the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 14, 2017, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Antonio Senzatela delivers pitch to Los Angeles Dodgers' Joc Pederson in the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 14, 2017, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) 

DENVER (AP) — Colorado's Antonio Senzatela emphatically pointed to the sky as he closed out the fifth inning on Sunday.

It had been an emotional Mother's Day for the 22-year-old rookie.

Pat Valaika homered twice and drove in four runs, Senzatela got the win and the Rockies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-6.

Senzatela (6-1) was pitching on Mother's Day for the first time since his mom died of breast cancer last July. Like many around the league, Senzatela used a pink bat to raise awareness about the disease. He also wrote his mother's name, "Nidya," on his pink and white cleats.

"I feel good," Senzatela said. "Too many emotions in my heart now."

The rookie right-hander is tied for the majors' lead in wins. He allowed four runs in five innings, his shortest outing since his first career start at Milwaukee on April 6.

Nolan Arenado also went deep as the Rockies hit their first homers of the series to salvage a four-game split. Their lead in the NL West is back up to 1 1/2 games.

Los Angeles led 4-3 before Valaika hit a two-run homer in the fourth off starter Julio Urias (0-1). Arenado, who also had an RBI double, added to Colorado's lead in the fifth with a two-run shot off veteran reliever Sergio Romo.

Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger each drove in a run in the eighth to cut the lead to 7-6 before Valaika hit another two-run blast.

The 24-year-old Valaika has seen an increase in playing time since Trevor Story went on the disabled list with a shoulder injury earlier in the week.

Greg Holland struck out the side in the ninth for his majors' best 16th save. Holland has converted his first 16 save opportunities for the Rockies, a franchise-best mark to start a season.

Senzatela dealt with traffic on base in every inning except the fourth, but got help from his defense to limit the damage. He gave up seven hits, three walks and two homers while striking out five.

The 22-year-old got out of the first with runners on the corners thanks to a fielder's choice double play, and he was bailed out of the third by second baseman DJ LeMahieu, who laid out on a sharp grounder and threw out Chase Utley at first to save a run.

With two outs in the fifth, Senzatela was struck in the back of the leg by a liner from Yasmani Grandal. He stayed in the game and forced a flyout to end the inning.

"Without having his best control and command, he was able to navigate through a really good lineup," Colorado manager Bud Black said.

Corey Seager and Yasiel Puig homered for the Dodgers, who couldn't protect two early leads. Seager hit a two-run blast in the first and Puig hit a laser to left in the second.

"Today's one of those days we had a lot of situational opportunities and didn't capitalize," Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said. "Obviously a good club like that, you keep them in a ball game, they're going to crawl back."

ROUGH OUTING

Urias allowed six runs and seven hits in four innings for the Dodgers. The left-handed pitcher had allowed one hit in 6 1/3 innings in his last start against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday.

He had a 1.06 ERA in his first three starts of the year.

"I felt good," he said. "Unfortunately it was just a bad outing."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: 2B Logan Forsythe, sidelined since April 19 with a fractured right toe, is expected to start in a rehabilitation game as a designated hitter on Tuesday. ... LHP Rich Hill, who's been limited to just eight innings this season because of blisters on his throwing hand, will start Tuesday against the San Francisco Giants.

Rockies: C Tony Wolters, who was put on the 7-day DL with a concussion on May 3, was behind the plate for Triple-A Albuquerque on Sunday. "I talked to (Isotopes manager) Glenallen Hill this morning about a number of things and he said Tony looked good the last couple days, both behind the plate and at the plate," Black said. "So Tony's in a good spot."

UP NEXT

Dodgers: RHP Brandon McCarthy (3-0, 3.10 ERA) will make his first start since he was placed on the 10-day DL, retroactive to May 5, with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder. San Francisco's Matt Cain will oppose him as the Dodgers begin a three-game set at AT&T Park on Monday.

Rockies: Rookie LHP Kyle Freeland (3-2, 2.93) will pitch at an American League ballpark for the first time in his career as the Rockies open up a three-game set against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday. In his last start, the Denver native tossed six innings and gave up five runs — all in the second inning — in an 8-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday.

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More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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