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Dodgers, Kemp See-Saw Their Way Over the Rockies

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It was tit-for-tat between the Dodgers and Colorado Rockies, but the Dodgers proved to have the last laugh as they jabbed their way to a 6-5 victory thanks to centerfielder Matt Kemp’s first RBI since April 21.

“I forgot what it felt like to get an RBI,” Kemp joked. “I’ll take them anyway I can.”

Both teams got their shots on the starters with both Rockies starter Esmil Rogers and Hiroki Kuroda giving up five runs each with one unearned run apiece.

“We fought,” manager Joe Torre said. “This was great. Kuroda wasn’t ast his best tonight, he battled it. And we came battling back.”

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The Rockies got things started in the top of the second inning when Troy Tulowitzki scored on a sacrifice fly ball to right by Ian Stewart. The Dodgers responded in the bottom of the second inning when Jamey Carroll singled home Casey Blake to tie the game 1-1.

The Dodgers then made their jab in the third inning capitalizing on a throwing error by third baseman Stewart that allowed Matt Kemp to take first base. During Andre Ethier’s at-bat, Kemp stole second and scored on Ethier’s single to give the Dodgers the 2-1 lead.

The Rockies bounced back in the fourth inning when Carlos Gonzalez singled home Tulowitzki and then took the lead in the fifth inning on Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly that scored Seth Smith.

The Dodgers made the biggest statement in the bottom of the fifth. Xavier Paul led off the inning with a double. After Kemp struck out, Ethier hit a double to score Paul. James Loney struck out and Blake and Russell Martin hit back-to-back RBI singles to give the Dodgers a three-spot for the inning and take a 5-3 lead.

But the Dodgers couldn’t keep the Rockies down as they answered back in the top of the sixth. Pinch hitter Eric Young hit a one-out triple and came home on a Smith single. Kuroda’s last pitch was a bunt single to Dexter Fowler, however Kuroda’s throwing error sent the runners to second and third. George Sherrill came in for Todd Helton and gave up the sacrifice fly to Todd Helton to tie the game 5-5.

“I rushed the throw,” Kuroda said on his error through translator Kenji Nimura.

It was not a sterling outing by Kuroda as he lasted only 5 1/3 innings. He also gave up a career-high five walks, although two were intentional.

“The one thing I regret the most is not finishing the sixth inning,” Kuroda said. “As a starting pitcher my role is to throw as many innings as possible.”

The Dodgers and Matt Kemp had Kuroda’s back. Kemp hit an RBI triple in the bottom of the sixth off of reliever Matt Daley for the 6-5 lead that would be left unanswered.

“Hopefully it gets him going,” Torre said of Kemp’s RBI. “You certainly know you’re going to go through some slumps. He certainly didn’t expect to go through one that lasted this long.”

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The Dodger bullpen did an excellent job in holding off the Rockies. Jeff Weaver entered the game after George Sherrill with two outs in the sixth inning and got Gonzalez out after walking Tulowitzki earning his 100th career victory.

“A little different than how I got wins before,” Weaver said referencing his early career as a starter. “You take them any way you can.”

Ramon Troncoso pitched scoreless seventh and eighth innings giving up only a hit and a walk in the seventh.

Closer Jonathan Broxton got a chance to redeem himself after blowing Thursday night’s save against the Milwaukee Brewers. Things didn’t look so smooth when he gave up a lead-off single to Gonzalez on an 11-pitch at-bat. But during Stewart’s at-bat, Gonzalez was caught stealing.

“I was just coming up firing as hard as I could and threw a strike to second base,” Martin said. “It felt pretty good.”

Broxton then proceeded to strike out Stewart and pinch hitter Jason Giambi to end the game and pick up his second save of the season.

With this homestand the Dodgers are slowly trying to pull their way out of the cellar.

“We just need to really think about winning every single game,” Torre said of trying to turn things around. “We competed tonight. We just need to do that every single day.”

Housecleaning: Pitcher John Ely has been optioned back to AAA Albuquerque to make room for Jeff Weaver who came off the disabled list tonight. Outfielder Xavier Paul was optioned to Albuquerque after the game to make room for Manny Ramirez coming off the disabled list tomorrow.

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