After a spectacular performance by Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw on Friday night, it was Joe Blanton’s turn to turn up the heat on the Colorado Rockies.
Blanton has struggled, but improved and seemed to be more comfortable in the rotation as of late. He would face Rockies starter Tyler Chatwood on the mound.
Blanton started off very strong, controlling his pitches, waiting for the right pitch discouraging any hope of the Rockies creating any offensive rhythm.
It was time for the Dodgers to make a statement as Matt Kemp connected for his 21st home run off of Chatwood, deep to left field for the 1-0 lead.
The Dodgers continued in the fourth inning as Hanley Ramirez singled to center then stole second base. After Chatwood walked Shane Victorino, catcher AJ Ellis connected on an RBI single to right field that scored Ramirez for the 2-0 lead.
The Dodger defense backed up Blanton as he continued to dominate from the mound from the fifth through the seventh inning. After Chris Nelson singled to center, Don Mattingly sent in reliever Ronald Belisario after he noticed fatigue in Blanton.
Belisario ended the inning as he struck out DJ LeMahieu who looked shocked as he heard the call from the home plate umpire.
The Dodger bats were far from done in the bottom of the eight inning, Kemp stepped up again and blasted another solo home run deep to right off reliever Josh Roenicke. The Dodgers took the commanding 3-0 over the Rockies.
Rockies manager Jim Tracy decide another change was necessary and brought in reliever M Reynolds. Adrian Gonzales doubled to deep right, and Ramirez singled which advanced Gonzales to third base. With runners on the corners, Victorino grounded out to first base, but allowed Ramirez to advance to second base.
After a Bobby Abreu walk, and with the bases loaded Ellis ended up grounding into a double play that caught Abreu out at second base.
With a St. Louis lost earlier in the day, the Dodgers were just three outs away from gaining ground on the Cards for that final Wild Card spot.
Closer Brandon League made sure the lead was safe in the ninth inning, getting first baseman Jordan Pacheco to ground out to third base. Then Wilin Rosario popped up to shortstop and finally struck out Nelson swinging to end the game.
Dodgers held on to the 3-0 victory and now are just two games behind St. Louis for the final Wild Card spot.
“Right now we have to find a way to sneak into those playoffs,” Kemp said. “We’re both going to be playing good teams next week, so it’s going to come down to the end. We’ve just got to keep going out there and playing hard and see where we end up.”
Dodgers starter Joe Blanton (10-13) tossed six scoreless innings, with six strike outs and seven hits. Brandon League picked up his 15th save on the season.
Rockies starter Tyler Chatwood (5-6) threw four innings, allowing two runs and five hits.