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Dodgers Quiet as First Half Ends

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Ricky Nolasco did not have a Zack Greinke outing in his first start at Dodger Stadium as a Dodgers. Just a cursory glance at the 3-1 final score was evidence of that. Besides it's hard to top a two-hit complete game shutout.

Things started off Rockie with Dexter Fowler lining a double down the right field line. Fowler came home on Michael Cuddyer's single.

It seemed that maybe it was the butterflies of pitching for his boyhood team in the park where he used to watch them play, but he did not have a clean inning in his five innings of work.

Nolasco's day culminated with him hitting Carlos Gonzalez on the back foot when he attempted to drag bunt. Cuddyer, armed with a .571 batting average against Nolasco headed into the game, blasted a two-run homer to right field for the 3-0 lead.

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"I probably would have stayed with him there and let him keep going," manager Don Mattingly said. "But in that situation I had a spot to double. I had Yasiel there. I had a full 'pen there that was rested and was going to get four days off. So it was a good spot to take a shot at something."

Puig singled, Skip Schumaker singled and after Nick Punto lined out to right field, Adrian Gonzalez's single scored Puig.

That was the lone exception for the Dodger offense in the game that was as gentle as a purring kitten. Of course when you are down to only one outfielder, you expect your offense to take a hit.

The most interesting play came in the sixth inning when the Dodgers caught Dexter Fowler in a 2-6-3-4-1-6-2 rundown for the second out with J.P. Howell on the mound. The Dodgers had previously picked off Fowler, however first baseman Adrian Gonzalez dropped the ball.

"That was not fun," Howell recalled. "We thought we had him out three times."

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Howell wound up walking D.J. LeMahieu but got Carlos Gonzalez to fly out to right field. "That's all that counts," Howell said about getting out of that inning.

While talking about the first half of the season, one sentence Mattingly said seemed to stick out. "We survived it." With the 22 disabled list trips, the losing, the lackluster play, the fact they are 47-47 and 2 1/2 games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks for the NL West lead is pretty remarkable.

The Dodgers will start the second half with a rotation of Nolasco, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Ryu Hyun-Jin and Chris Capuano. This means that Nolasco will start consecutive games for the Dodgers.

Last season Zack Greinke started three consecutive games for the Milwaukee Brewers. In the first game, he was ejected after four pitches. In the second game he lasted only three innings having given up three runs on 66 pitches. Then came the All Star break and four days of rest. He started the first game out of the break.

Nolasco won't match Greinke's feat, but he will be starting consecutive games for the Dodgers thanks to the All Star break.

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The 51,402 that bought tickets for this game culminated the four-game series that sold a total of 206,930, the fifth largest crowd for a four-game series in Dodger Stadium history.

Rockies scorecard: (click to embiggen)

Dodgers scorecard: (click to embiggen)