Dodgers 6, Rockies 5

James Loney was riding a stationary bike a few feet away when a small group of reporters made a half-circle around Ramon Troncoso’s locker, all of us keeping a respectful distance until he finished getting dressed.
“So what, you’re going to talk to him now that he pitched four shutout innings?” Loney said, and everyone had a good laugh.
But seriously, folks, the rest of the clubhouse couldn’t stop gushing over the way this guy saved the day for the Dodgers, who were desperate for someone to give them length on a night when their bullpen was shot. Troncoso not only gave them length, he gave them quality, preserving a one-run lead with four dazzling innings in which he allowed only one baserunner, that on a groundball that Rafael Furcal double-clutched, allowing Seth Smith to just beat it out for a single.
Troncoso barely made this club out of spring training, but he isn’t fighting for his major-league survival anymore.
“I told him after the game he never has to prove himself in that situation again,” Joe Torre said.
Troncoso not only nailed down his first career save, he also put the finishing touches on James McDonald’s first career win. McDonald gutted his way through five innings, and Torre said after the game that he’ll be back out there in five days, in the homestand opener against the Pods on Thursday night. But once again, McDonald cruised along thorugh two strong innings and completely lost his control in the third, a fact he himself later said was due to a tendency to lose focus in the middle innings.
Jeff Weaver made his first start for ABQ at New Orleans tonight, threw 60 pitches in 3 1/3 and allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits with four Ks and no walks. He probably needs one more start before he is ready to come up and take the fifth spot if that’s what Torre/Colletti decide to do, plus Torre really likes the idea of having McDonald in the bullpen. So McDonald might be pitching to stay in the rotation the next time out.
Big night for Russell Martin, who had been slumping but broke out in a big way, tying his career high with four RBI on a pair of two-run singles. It was his sixth career four-RBI game, first of the season.
Dodgers go to 13-5 and move 2 1/2 up on the Pods. Dodgers now share the best record in baseball with the Cardinals.
Clayton Kershaw against Jason Marquis tomorrow at 12:10 LaLa time. I believe I already mentioned that Furcal and Blake are sitting tomorrow. After the game, Joe told us that Manny will sit tomorrow, as well, the first time that will have happened all year. He went 0 for 5 with three Ks tonight and was uncharacteristically but clearly overswinging at times. Pierre will play LF, Castro SS and DeWitt 3B.

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Hiroki Kuroda to return to Los Angeles, see Dr. ElAttrache

He experienced more tightness in his left oblique after his most recent bullpen session on Thursday. Stan Conte stressed that it isn’t a “setback,” as oblique injuries are notoriously slow to heal anyway, but the fact there was little to be accomplished by Kuroda going to San Francisco with the team led to the decision for him to go back and see team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache. At any rate, it doesn’t appear Kuroda’s return is imminent. … In other injury news, Cory Wade will pitch an inning in relief, behind Jason Schmidt, for high Single-A Inland Empire on Tuesday against High Desert, then (assuming that goes well) be activated when the team gets home. He will NOT be joining the team in San Francisco.

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Russell Martin on his hitting slump

Said he has been hitting off a tee a lot, with the focus on shortening his stride because he has been jumping at the ball a little bit. He also said that he feels like he has been having some decent at-bats, even though he admitted he has been fighting through them, and he did find a positive in the fact that he has been seeing a lot of pitches and working opposing pitchers. The night off couldn’t have hurt, either.
Also asked the O-Dog about his current hitting tear — he has a 10-game hitting streak, but more importantly, he is hitting .382 overall and .475 (19 for 40) during the streak — but he didn’t want to talk about it.
“I don’t talk about numbers,” he said. “I’m not being a (jerk), but I don’t talk about numbers. You guys can see it.”

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Dodgers 6, Rockies 5

Sorry about the lack of early blog posting tonight. I promise there was a good reason, but it’s too late and too detailed for me to go into it. As for the game, it was typical Coors Field craziness, but it was a great night for the Dodgers’ bench, specifically Brad Ausmus and Mark Loretta, both of whom came up big in the eighth and ninth innings. But the one story that will probably fall through the cracks after this game was the return of Hong-Chih Kuo, who hadn’t pitched in a week. While his boxscore line is ugly — he coughed up a two-run lead by giving up a two-run homer to Clint Barmes — his stuff was electric according to both Joe Torre and Brad Ausmus. His problems appear to be behind him.
“Great stuff,” Ausmus said. “That was the type of stuff where you’re kind of bewildered tha they scored two runs off him. … If he pitches like that the rest of the year, we will be in good shape in the eighth inning.”
Dodgers go to 12-5 and stay 1 1/2 up on the Pods. James McDonald against Ubaldo Jimenez tomorrow at 5:10 Pacific time.

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