Dodgers top Rockies 8-2, move back into 1st in NL West
The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Joc Pederson let his fist bump with a fan in the front row show just how good he was feeling Monday night.
The outfielder launched two home runs and tracked down a pair of potential extra-base hits on defense as Hyun-Jin Ryu and the Los Angeles Dodgers jumped back into first place in the NL West with an 8-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies.
“We’re playing well right now,” said Pederson, who exchanged pleasantries with a fan after running down Drew Butera’s drive in the left-field corner. “It’s just a good day I guess, you know? We’re back in first place. Ryu threw unbelievable and we scored a lot of runs.”
It was a rough night all-around for the Rockies, who lost slugger Trevor Story to a right elbow injury. The All-Star shortstop tweaked his elbow on a throw in the first inning and aggravated it on a swing in the fourth. He will have tests Tuesday to determine the severity.
Colorado not only dropped a half-game behind the Dodgers in the division, the Rockies also fell a half-game behind the Cardinals for the second NL wild card.
Story was checked by manager Bud Black and a trainer before leaving the game. Already this season, Story has become the first shortstop in major league history with at least 40 doubles, 30 home runs and 25 steals.
“We haven’t learned anything yet,” Story said. “I just kind of felt something on a throw when I dove for the ball and then my elbow was a little tight. I just tried to play through it and when I swung through that pitch, kind of extended my arm, I felt it a little more. Just being cautious and we’ll find out more (Tuesday).”
Max Muncy added a three-run homer and Ryu (5-3) pitched seven scoreless innings for the Dodgers, throwing 93 pitches to match a season high. He struck out five and didn’t walk a batter as he lowered his ERA to 2.21 over seven starts since returning from a strained left groin.
“He’s always been a big-game pitcher,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “For him to be healthy and set the tone for this series, he was in complete command tonight. His stuff was really good and we fed off of him.”
The Rockies entered this showdown series with a half-game lead on Los Angeles, but the teams switched places as the Dodgers unleashed the high-powered offense that helped them win three of four last weekend in St. Louis.
Pederson gave a sign of what was ahead when he led off the game for the Dodgers with a home run to the opposite field in left. It was his sixth leadoff homer this season and the ninth of his career. Muncy also scored in the first inning on a wild pitch by Jon Gray (11-8).
The Dodgers chased Gray in the third as the first five hitters reached base against the right-hander. Manny Machado had an RBI single that was followed by Muncy’s three-run drive, his 33rd homer of the season. Yasiel Puig’s single ended Gray’s night.
Gray went two-plus innings, giving up six runs, seven hits and two walks. He hasn’t pitched more than four innings in three consecutive starts.
“I think most of it is mechanical adjustments, but the thing for me is not thinking about the mechanical stuff when I’m competing,” Gray said. “That can get in the way. It got in the way a lot tonight. That happened to me too many times already and I’m just sick of it right now.”
Pederson hit his second homer of the night in the fourth. His two-run shot into the seats in right field off reliever Harrison Musgrave was his 23rd of the season, and moved him within three of matching his career best set in his rookie year of 2015.
The Rockies broke through for their first run in the eighth against left-hander Alex Wood on an RBI single from DJ LeMahieu. Wood, charged with two runs in the inning, was removed from the rotation last week.
PUIG ROLLS ON
Puig had two more hits to give him 25 multihit games this season. Just selected the National League player of the week, primarily for his exploits last weekend in St. Louis, Puig has been a major catalyst for the Dodgers’ seven victories in their past 11 games.
Going back to the start of the team’s recent 10-game road trip on Sept. 7, Puig is batting .433 (13 for 30) with a 1.067 OPS. He has six home runs and 11 RBIs in that stretch.
Rockies: RHP Seunghwan Oh (tight left hamstring) was available out of the bullpen after not pitching since Sept. 9.
Dodgers: 3B Justin Turner was in the starting lineup, with Roberts saying “he remains sore in the wrist” after Turner was hit by a pitch Saturday at St. Louis. … RHP John Axford (broken right leg) was activated from the disabled list along with LHP Tony Cingrani (left shoulder strain). … RHP Daniel Hudson (right forearm tightness) was transferred to the 60-day DL.
The Rockies will send LHP Kyle Freeland (15-7, 2.96 ERA) to the mound Tuesday. He is 6-0 with a 2.96 ERA over his last eight starts. The Dodgers will have LHP Clayton Kershaw (8-5, 2.51) on the mound. The longtime ace is 5-1 with a 2.26 ERA in 10 second-half starts.
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