If the Dodgers (65-62) want to reach the promised land in a year when Takashi Saito is injured, it's unthinkable for them to do it without Broxton living up to the responsibilities of a closer.
Having been scored upon in four of six previous appearances, you had to wonder. When Ian Stewart laced Broxton's first pitch for a double Thursday, the Rockies had to believe they were about to complete a sweep reminiscent of their miracle run last year.
But on the mound, something happened to Broxton.
"I got really ticked," he said, only he used a more descriptive word. "I got mad today when he hit that slider. I'm tired of giving up hits, it's no fun getting beat. So I said it's time to just ... here it is. If I'm going out, I'll go out with my best stuff. Just throw fastballs. I was really mad. Maybe that's what it takes."
According to MLB's pitch tracker, Broxton threw 14 fastballs after Stewart's double. Four of them hit a high of 101 mph, the slowest was 98 mph. He threw six pitches to Troy Tulowitzki, three of them hitting 101. Tulowitzki swung through a 99-mph heater to end the game, and the mild-mannered Broxton came off the mound pumping his fist.
"You want to measure up a power arm, there is the guy you're going to compare him to," said Rockies manager Clint Hurdle. "You don't have to wait long; you have to be ready to hit when you get in there. He's got a slider that's got some nice tilt to it, too, so he's a good challenge. We don't have a lot of success against him. You've got to be ready to hit and make him throw strikes. He's good."
Setting up Broxton was Hong-Chih Kuo, who had allowed home runs his previous two outings, raising his own red flags. But he took over after Lowe issued a one-out walk to No. 8 hitter Jeff Baker in the seventh inning and was overpowering for five outs, allowing only a perfectly placed bloop double to Clint Barmes.
Up to that walk, Lowe had retired the previous eight batters, having allowed only one run in the first inning. He scattered four hits while making 107 pitches.
That Lowe would win a game after his good buddy Maddux rejoined the club is no surprise. He went 8-1 after Maddux was acquired in 2006.
"I just talked to him a little before the game," said Lowe (10-10), who reached double figures in victories for the seventh consecutive season. "He studies hitters and he told me how he pitches to them. He gave me a couple tips during the game based on what he saw guys doing. Both times it worked, believe it or not."
Lowe said one adjustment he made was to throw more breaking balls. He has complained in the past that the Rockies (59-70) are typically low-ball hitters, while he's typically a low-ball sinker pitcher. That match has led to some horrendous outings for Lowe, including earlier this year at Coors Field, when he had a 50-pitch first inning.
"I tried not to get so predictable today," he said. "I knew going in I had to do that."
As for the element of surprise, how about Manny stealing bases? After reaching first on Stewart's fielding error leading off the fourth inning, he swiped second off Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa (6-7), his second steal of the year and third since 2005.
"I'm Dave Roberts," joked Ramirez, referring to the former Dodger whose legendary stolen base while they were Boston teammates helped beat Joe Torre's Yankees and put the Red Sox in the 2004 World Series. "Juan Pierre told me to do it. He gave me the sign."
Said Pierre: "I told him we needed the run. I didn't think he was going to go."
Torre said Ramirez came to him a week ago and asked for the green light.
"I told him, 'If you get the chance, go ahead,'" said Torre. "When you don't run with regularity, they have a tendency not to pay attention to you. Manny seemed to pick us up with that stolen base."
That put Ramirez in position to score on Loney's tying RBI single. Matt Kemp hustled into the go-ahead run in the fifth, stretching a two-out double and scoring on Andre Ethier's RBI single. Loney capped the scoring with an important insurance run on his 10th homer, the first since July 25 and second against Colorado. Seven of his 29 career home runs are against the Rockies.