Jonathan Broxton worked a perfect inning in his return to the endgame, capping a 6-0 Dodgers win over the Rockies. The offense put together a five-run inning and collected a pair of two-out hits to boot. It was a far cry from the 2-5 road trip the Dodgers finished Monday in Atlanta.
Going forward, though, it might only be Clayton Kershaw's seven shutout innings that the Dodgers can find any future promise in.
"After that road trip, we had a lot of wins slip through our fingers," Kershaw said. "For us to come out and swing the bats and get six runs, and for Georgey [Sherrill] to come out in the eighth inning and bail us out of the jam looked really good. And then Brox to come on in the ninth and look like the Brox we all expect was awesome. A lot of things went well."
Broxton's ninth, a non-save situation, did not make the back end of the bullpen any less complicated, although it was a step forward. And the offense, as good as the hit-and-run looked in the fifth with the backup catcher at the plate and the backup shortstop on base, is still no closer to a sure thing until Manny Ramirez and Rafael Furcal return.
"As a manager you certainly want your ballclub to be able to threaten in more innings," Joe Torre said. "We haven't been able to do that. But I'll take the one inning."
Kershaw allowed five hits, three walks and struck out six for his 11th win. The 22-year-old hasn't allowed the Rockies a run in the last 29 innings he's faced them at Dodger Stadium, and in six career home starts he has a 0.58 ERA against them.
"They're a different team in their ballpark," Kershaw said. "They hit a lot better over there. I don't take it for granted, and I know they're a great hitting team."
Colorado came closest to breaking through in the third, when a double steal put two in scoring position for the heart of the order. Kershaw struck out Carlos Gonzalez swinging on four pitches, the last a slider, and Troy Tulowitzki flied out to left.
"We had him where we wanted," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.
"That was huge," Kershaw said. "Gonzalez has been a hot hitter all year; he's probably been the best hitter over there. I just knew I had to make some pitches to him and I was fortunately able to get him out without a run scoring. With Tulo up after that, those are the two best hitters, so I really just had to bear down and make pitches."
The Rockies also had a 22-year-old on the mound, one who shut out the Dodgers for 7 1/3 innings in May. On Tuesday, Jhoulys Chacin didn't allow a hit until Andre Ethier's one-out single in the fourth inning. A James Loney walk loaded the bases in that inning, and Casey Blake and Matt Kemp left them loaded.
Chacin couldn't work out of another jam in the fifth. Jamey Carroll led off with a full-count walk and moved to third three pitches later on A.J. Ellis' hit-and-run.
"I think when you have a chance, it just comes back to the big hit," Carroll said. "Just finding the right spot. Put it in play, you're giving yourself a chance for something good to happen -- that was the case tonight. And obviously Kershaw was throwing well, it allowed him to go out and finish the next inning good. Gave us some sort of cushion."
It was a rare moment of fluidity for the Dodgers' lineup, and things only got better. Kershaw's sacrifice bunt was followed by a two-run, opposite-field double from Scott Podsednik, who hit .448 on the Dodgers' road trip.
Three more runs came in with two out, starting two batters later. Loney doubled to the right-center gap for a 4-0 lead, and Blake's grounder through the right side, fortunately placed as opposed to hard hit, tacked on one more.
"It was a changeup, a little up," Loney said. "We kept rolling from there. It was definitely good to see everybody."
Blake, 2-for-4, was the only Dodger with multiple hits. The Dodgers starters besides Kershaw all reached base.
Reliever Kenley Jansen let on the first two he faced in the eighth after Kershaw was removed with 116 pitches. Jansen gave way to Sherrill, who escaped the jam, but not before Jansen accidentally threw a pitch to pinch-hitter Seth Smith. Jansen was supposed to attempt a pickoff play at second base before being pulled, but missed the sign, Torre said.
Broxton threw nine pitches in the ninth, seven for strikes. Normal, Broxton said, is what he feels when he has control. He was closer to that Tuesday night, but said he wasn't thinking about what it would take to regain the closer's role.
"It's feeling back to normal," Broxton said. "I got to keep going out there and working on it."
"He looked smoother to me," Torre said. "I just think he's been trying to overthrow the ball."
Evan Drellich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.