Rockies unable to solve rookie

Rockies unable to solve rookie

LOS ANGELES -- The Rockies' Wild Card engine that could stood sidetracked Friday night as Dodgers left-hander Eric Stults powered Los Angeles past Colorado in the race for the National League's fourth playoff spot.

Stults struck out nine en route to a career-high seven-inning performance and a 6-4 victory before 48,072 at Dodger Stadium.

Stults (1-1) gave up just two hits and two runs, walking two. His counterpart, Rockies right-hander Josh Fogg, yielded six runs, giving way to Colorado newcomer Ramon Ortiz.

"The last two nights, the big inning has bit us," said manager Clint Hurdle, who gave credit to his starter for stanching the Dodgers' run count after the second -- a must during a week in which the Rockies' bullpen has worked 19 innings.

"After [the second], he was able to get through," Hurdle said.

As for Stults, Hurdle said, "He made good pitches. He had a very good fastball command from the arm side, and especially from the glove side. And his breaking pitch had a nice differential from his fastball."

The Rockies put a scare into their hosts with one out in the ninth as Garrett Atkins deposited his 18th home run in the left-field pavilion off Scott Proctor, the second of three L.A. relievers.

Closer Takashi Saito came on to record his 32nd save.

"The offense we have can put up runs quick," Atkins said. "We got them to use their closer. That could have an effect later on."

What did Atkins think of Stults' performance?

"All we'd seen of him was when he was throwing out of the bullpen," Atkins said. "He was a whole different guy tonight.

"He had his fastball going, kept it down and had his changeup working."

The Dodgers jumped on Fogg (7-8) in the second inning, sending nine batters to the plate in a five-run rally that began with Jeff Kent's solo homer to dead center.

Luis Gonzalez doubled and went to third on a single by Russell Martin, who advanced to second when Gonzalez came home on Andre Ethier's sacrifice fly to center.

Shea Hillenbrand's single up the middle scored Martin, and Fogg regretted not being able to get a glove on the ball.

"I had a chance to get out of it there with only three runs scoring," he said.

Instead, Stults reached on a fielder's choice, Rafael Furcal followed with a ground-rule double, and Juan Pierre's single scored both.

"I couldn't stop the bleeding," Fogg said. "The ball was coming out of my hand good, and I was locating the ball well. ... But give credit to Stults. He was locked in a rhythm."

The Dodgers' sixth run came with two out in the seventh, when Pierre chased Fogg with a triple and Mark Sweeney singled off Ortiz.

The Rockies made it 5-2 in the third as Yorvit Torrealba scored from third on Jamey Carroll's groundout, and Troy Tulowitzki singled home Clint Barmes from second.

Barmes, Hurdle said, would be sent down to Triple-A Colorado Springs to make room for Saturday's starter, Franklin Morales, as the Rockies forgo a position player's spot in favor of a 13-man pitching staff.

Ted Brock is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.