It likely won't get any easier to get on the board against Clayton Kershaw .
The Dodgers have won five straight and have taken Kershaw's last seven home starts against the Rockies heading into Friday night's matchup.
Colorado (44-49) welcomed back Troy Tulowitzki and Dexter Fowler in Thursday's 6-1 loss. Tulowitzki had been out since June 13 with a fractured rib while Fowler last played June 25 due to a bone bruise in his right hand.
Each went 0 for 4, and the Rockies only avoided a shutout on Carlos Gonzalez 's homer in the ninth inning.
Tulowitzki and Fowler have fared well against Kershaw (8-5, 1.89 ERA). Tulowitzki has nine hits in his last 26 at-bats versus the left-hander while Fowler has the most hits of any player against Kershaw, going 15 for 34.
It still figures to be a challenge for the Rockies against the pitcher with the lowest ERA and opponent batting average (.186) in the majors. Kershaw has won a season-high three straight outings, yielding three runs over 25 innings.
The middle game of that run was a four-hitter in an 8-0 victory July 2 at Coors Field.
Kershaw could produce similar results Friday since he's 4-0 with a 1.21 ERA in his last seven home starts against the Rockies - all victories for Los Angeles. He owns baseball's seventh-lowest run support average at 3.25, but could get some more help this time.
The Dodgers (46-45) have to like their chances against Juan Nicasio (4-4, 5.31), who went 0-3 with a 6.43 ERA in his last seven outings before he was sent to the minors June 27. Nicasio went 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA in two starts at Triple-A Colorado Springs, and the Rockies believe he will fare better now.
"It's throwing strikes, being in good counts, being more efficient," manager Walt Weiss told the Rockies' official website. "It's got to be a put-away pitch, so he doesn't have to deal with extended at-bats. We all know he's got the big arm, but it's a matter of being more efficient and getting strike one."
Ethier may be back in the lineup after he did not start Thursday, but he will have to begin a new hitting streak. He replaced Puig in center field and had a sacrifice fly in his lone at-bat, which was enough to end a nine-game run in which he went 16 for 38.
Mattingly said Puig had tweaked his left hip in his previous at-bat, so he was removed for precautionary reasons."It had been bothering me since I ran into the wall in Colorado," Puig said through an interpreter.
Mark Ellis had three hits and four RBIs as Los Angeles moved above .500 for the first time since April 15.
Puig, 7 for 17 against Colorado, finished second to Atlanta's Freddie Freeman in fan voting for the final NL All-Star spot.
The Dodgers have won 16 of 19 while the Rockies have dropped eight of 11."We're confident and we've got momentum," Mattingly said. "It's a good time to kind of keep it rolling knowing there are going to be days when it's not like this."
|Jorge De La Rosa||2||.000||0||0||0||0||2||.000||.000||.000|
|Jerry Hairston Jr.||1||1.000||1||0||0||0||0||1.000||2.000||1.000|
|July 08, 2013||Carlos Gonzalez||Day-to-Day||Sprained finger|
|July 08, 2013||Roy Oswalt||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|July 05, 2013||Carlos Gonzalez||Day-to-Day||Upper back strain|
|June 29, 2013||Jorge De La Rosa||Day-to-Day||Left game - left thumb|
|June 26, 2013||Dexter Fowler||15-Day DL||Right wrist soreness|
|June 26, 2013||Dexter Fowler||15-Day DL||Right wrist soreness|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|July 11, 2013||Yasiel Puig||Day-to-Day||Left game - aggrivated left hip|
|July 07, 2013||Stephen Fife||15-Day DL||Right shoulder bursitis|
|July 06, 2013||Matt Kemp||15-Day DL||AC joint irratation, left shoulder|
|July 05, 2013||Matt Kemp||Day-to-Day||Left shoulder AC joint irratation|
|June 12, 2013||Yasiel Puig||Day-to-Day||Strained shoulder|
|June 11, 2013||Scott Van Slyke||15-Day DL||Left shoulder bursitis|
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Fresh from the minors, Juan Nicasio focused on being efficient with his pitches and throwing strikes.
It worked, with Nicasio scattering three hits over seven innings to outduel Clayton Kershaw in the Colorado Rockies ' 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night.
"That's as good of a win as we've had if not all year," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.
Nicasio (5-4) struck out three and walked one after being recalled from the minors. The right-hander was 0-3 with a 6.43 ERA in his last seven outings before being sent down on June 27. He was 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA in two starts at Triple-A Colorado Springs.
"I'm working on my command, down in the zone, away, sinking," Nicasio said. "I'm not thinking too much. I know they have good hitters. You show the hitter you can throw inside."
The Dodgers' five-game winning streak ended as they fell back to .500.
"That was a clutch performance," Weiss said. "To set down a team like that when they're rolling like they are is impressive."
Nicasio earned his first win since May 19, a span of seven starts. His seven innings were the most since he tossed one-hit ball over seven innings against the Dodgers on May 12, 2012, at Dodger Stadium.
"To get through (the seventh) was a huge step for him," Weiss said. "We talked about being really aggressive and attacking the strike zone with his stuff. We told him to keep it simple and attack, attack, attack."
DJ LeMahieu went 3 for 4 with an RBI for the Rockies, who were 3-8 in their previous 11 games, including a 6-1 loss in the series opener Thursday. He tied a season high with three hits for the fourth time.
"We didn't play very well last night so to come back was big," he said. "Juan was unbelievable. For this to be his first start back says a lot about him."
Rafael Betancourt pitched the ninth to earn his 14th save in 15 chances.
Kershaw (8-6) struck out 10, walked one, and allowed three runs and six hits.
"They just put some good at-bats on me, and that just happens sometimes," he said. "You keep battling and try to limit the damage the best you can."
The left-hander had been 4-0 with a 1.21 ERA in his seven previous home starts against the Rockies, all victories. Kershaw came in with a 3.25 run support average, and didn't get any help.
"It feels like we run into a good pitcher every time Kershaw throws," outfielder Skip Schumaker said. "It would be nice to give him a five-spot every now and then, but it just seems like more times than not we're not doing that. It's frustrating because we want to give our boy the win."
Typical of Kershaw's up-and-down night was Charlie Blackmon 's at-bat in the second. He fouled the ball off eight times before doubling on the 12th pitch.
Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez struck out all four times up, and Troy Tulowitzki went 0 for 3 with a walk. But the Rockies pieced together enough offense to stop the surging Dodgers, who were 16-3 in their previous 19 games.
Colorado took a 2-0 lead in the first on Tulowitzki's sacrifice fly to center that scored Dexter Fowler , who singled to lead off. Wilin Rosario followed with a two-out single up the middle that brought home LeMahieu, who singled.
LeMahieu's RBI single scored Nolan Arenado in the fifth for a 3-0 lead.
The Rockies loaded the bases in the eighth before Blackmon grounded out to end the threat. In the bottom of the inning, they turned a double play.
Dodgers rookie sensation Yasiel Puig wasn't able to finish the game for the second time in two nights. He was removed after four innings for precautionary reasons due to a sore left hip, going 0 for 2.
"It feels a lot better today, but there are a lot of games left in the season," Puig said through an interpreter. "I'll rest, get some treatment and see how it feels tomorrow."
NOTES: Rockies LHP Drew Pomeranz , who lost Thursday's start, was optioned to Triple A. ... Dodgers CF Matt Kemp is debuting his own line of Big League Chew Bubble Gum called "True Blue Original." It is available for a limited time at select Los Angeles stores, and he is donating a portion of his proceeds to his charity, Kemp's Kids. "I've been chewing that since I was a kid," he said.