DENVER - Winning games started becoming an oddity for the Colorado Rockies as the baseball season began approaching its midpoint.
Coming into Saturday's matchup against the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers, Colorado had suffered 16 losses over an 18-game stretch. And despite cloud-free skies mixed with 88-degree temperature over Coors Field, things looked gloomy early and late for the Rockies in their 8-7 victory.
The Dodgers (50-40) brought indications of the nine-run, 19-hit shutout they served the Rockies (37-51) Friday night by scoring two runs in the first inning on three hits and help from two Colorado errors. However, that's all they would squeeze out of pitcher Jorge De La Rosa, who gave up only two walks in the ensuing five innings before exiting the game.
"It was a tough situation, but we got out of it," said De La Rosa, who has won all three Colorado victories since June 16. "I was mixing my pitches really good. I just try to move forward. I had a good idea with those hitters."
Colorado mounted a strong rally and had a six-run lead at one point until De La Rosa left.
The Rockies were quick to answer the Dodgers' early attack, tying the game at two on a groundout from Nolan Arenado that scored Josh Rutledge and an RBI single via Wilin Rosario, scoring Corey Dickerson.
Offensive production continued in the third frame, which put Colorado out to a 5-2 lead on three hits. Dickerson added a solo home run in the fifth that he sent into the second deck above right field. The game then blew open in the sixth when the Rockies shot out to an 8-2 lead on an RBI triple from Charlie Culberson that nearly cleared the deepest point of the outfield fence.
"Just to get some team wins is big because it can start a spark in something," Dickerson said. "It felt good to win a close game that was competitive and takes the whole team to win it."
But when De La Rosa left after the sixth, so did the six-run cushion Colorado had built. Los Angeles forced the Rockies to cycle through three pitchers while pulling back to within one run in the seventh inning.
Nick Masset surrendered four earned runs, three hits and a walk in four batters before being replaced by Boone Logan. Logan then provided the Dodgers' fifth run of the inning before Adam Ottavino was brought in to clean things up.
"Especially the way everything's been going, once we had the lead, I know we didn't want it to slip away at all," Ottavino said. "I kind of could see that I might be coming in at a tough spot but you have to put up at some point. I just tried to bring everything I had and it worked out today."
The win snapped a five-game skid the Rockies were riding. They close their four-game series with Los Angeles on Sunday and have seven home games remaining before the All-Star break.
"We got an 8-2 lead and we looked like we had the game in hand and it looked like it was slipping away in that seventh," manager Walt Weiss said. But fortunately, we pulled together."