DENVER -- Carlos Gonzalez drove in three runs to join a middle of the order that was so productive that rookie right-hander Jeff Hoffman didn't have to be dominant. Nevertheless, Hoffman fanned a career-high eight over 5 1/3 innings for his first big league win as the National League West-leading Rockies beat the Dodgers, 10-7, Thursday night to open a four-game series at Coors Field.
"Like I always said, what the numbers show right now, it doesn't matter -- the one number that matters is that we're winning ballgames -- and no one can change that," said Gonzalez, who improved his average to .198 but celebrated the Rockies moving to 10 games above .500 (23-13) for the first time since Sept. 27, 2010. More >>
After Gonzalez hit mostly third and fourth in the order, manager Bud Black dropped him to sixth, and saw him gp 2-for-3 (both hits doubles) with a walk. Nolan Arenado added two hits, including a two-run double, and Ian Desmond also added a two-run double.
"There's just a lot of really good stuff going on -- like I've said all along, it's going to be a really fun summer," Desmond said.
The offense helped Hoffman, activated from Triple-A Albuquerque on Thursday when the Rockies pushed lefty Tyler Anderson to Saturday because of left knee soreness. Hoffman pitched 1 1/3 innings Tuesday, then stayed around knowing Anderson could be pushed back.
"Just part of the business, I guess," Hoffman said. "It was chaotic. I didn't know where I was going to be pitching -- Albuquerque or here. My fiancee did a great job of keeping my head [clear] for me, and I came out today and executed the game plan." More >>
The Dodgers fell for just the third time in 13 games, but not easily, even though the Rockies had a 10-run lead through four innings. They scored four runs and had seven hits in 2 2/3 innings against relievers Jordan Lyles and Scott Oberg to force the Rockies to use closer Greg Holland, who improved to 15-for-15 on save chances to match the club record to start a season (Jose Jimenez, 2002).
"Keep at it and try to dig deep into their bullpen as much as you can after a game like that," said Cody Bellinger, 2-for-5 with three strikeouts. "It's Coors Field, so anything can happen. Even when we're down 10-0, we know where we're playing, so we never gave up and we made it close." More >>
Dodgers lefty starter Hyun-Jin Ryu returned from the 10-day disabled list (hip contusion) and was greeted with 10 runs -- just five earned because Ryu couldn't rebound after catcher Austin Barnes' throwing error during the five-run second. Ryu gave up eight hits, six walks (one intentional) and a hit batsman.
"He just wasn't sharp," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "He was missing out over the big part of the plate. You look at the first couple of innings, he had two outs. He just couldn't get that last out. When you're down 7-0 before you can really get going, at that point in time, [I've got] to think through a four-game series here in Colorado. To exhaust the entire bullpen to cover five or six innings versus feeling like he can get through four innings, and I felt he could."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED You're not getting out of this: After walking DJ LeMahieu and yielding an Arenado single in the first, Ryu faced Desmond with two out and a chance to escape the first scoreless. But Desmond swatted a 1-1 slider to left for a two-run double. Desmond would finish 2-for-3 with two doubles, a walk and a HBP.
"I didn't really have a specific game plan against him, to be honest," Desmond said. "I just wanted to get something out over the plate and do some damage."
Throwing it away: Hoffman did nearly everything right, but his second-inning bunt wasn't ideal. It was close enough to the plate for Barnes to corral and have time to throw out Ryan Hanigan at second, however, his throw short-hopped and handcuffed shortstop Corey Seager. Ryu managed two outs before Arenado's two-run double, Mark Reynolds' RBI single and, after an intentional walk to Desmond, Gonzalez's two-run double.
"My timing is better. I think that's the whole key. My swing never changed. My swing is always the same. I think it's more about timing and letting my body needs to let my hands work. When my body is in a position to hit, I can trust my hands and just put a good swing on the ball. That's what happened in today's game." -- Gonzalez
"He's got a quick arm. I'm not sure if he's a high spin rate guy, but from the hitters, the ball was getting on them, he was getting it above the belt and we couldn't catch up. He was attacking us. It's a lot easier to pitch with the lead he had." -- Roberts, on Hoffman
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Ryu had career highs in runs allowed (10), walks (six), and balks (one), with his first career balk accounting for a run in the fourth.
NEW, YET FAMILIAR
It's not as if Hoffman wasn't familiar with the Dodgers. During his eight-game, six-start trial last season, he faced the Dodgers twice. The first time he held them to two runs in five innings and he didn't figure in the decision of an eventual 10-8 Rockies loss. The second time -- his first professional relief appearance -- he pitched two scoreless innings at Dodger Stadium.
"I had notes on them from the past, and I even faced them a few times in Spring Training this year, so that definitely helps a little bit," Hoffman said.
WHAT'S NEXT Dodgers: Ace Clayton Kershaw climbs the hill for the 5:40 p.m. PT tilt against the Rockies. Kershaw held Colorado to two runs on five hits over seven innings while striking out 10 and walking one in his last start against them on April 19 at home. He is 8-4 with a 4.71 ERA in 18 starts at Coors Field.
Rockies: Righty Tyler Chatwood (3-4, 4.74 ERA), who last year and more often than not this year has struggled at Coors, vanquished the D-backs at home in his last start -- one run and two hits in seven innings. He has another shot Friday night at 6:40 MT.