"There's a point where you either keep in the rut you're in, or you turn around and wake up and say, 'Let's get going and get back to having fun and doing this,' " Ethier said. "Unfortunately it took five days, and we're in no way out of it. We have to go out and play hard [Sunday] and find a way to get consistently back where we were."
The Rockies retaliated in their half of the inning when their leadoff hitter, Dexter Fowler, drilled a triple to the right-center gap and came home on a two-out double to left-center from Michael Cuddyer. But in the first, fifth and seventh innings the Dodgers were able to neutralize one of the hottest hitters in the game in Carlos Gonzalez, who entered hitting .577 (15-for-26) with six homers and 11 RBIs over the course of a six-game hitting streak.
"We had CarGo up there three times with a guy on third base," manager Don Mattingly said. "Usually, you're not going to get out of those with zeros. ... We kind of dodged some bullets today, that's for sure."
The fifth-inning Rockies rally saw a single and two walks load the bases to bring Gonzalez up with one out. Harang was pitching with a 4-1 lead, so it was easy to sense the game was on the line.
"You try not to think that way," Harang said. "You try to think more that I have to go out and execute one pitch at a time and make the best pitch that I can in this situation. And then given who the hitter is, obviously you know he's going to be aggressive, so you have to go up there and make sure that you're hitting your spots and have a good game plan about what you want to do."
The game plan heading into the series was to avoid giving Gonzalez the chance to beat the Dodgers if at all possible. With the bases loaded, the only way to get rid of Gonzalez was to come right after him.
"I was making sure he didn't get anything to really drive," Harang said. "Keep him off balance and maybe throw him something soft away that he might roll over. The first pitch I threw him a curveball, and then my fastball in. Right there too, going in on him, he was probably looking for something middle in to drive."
Gonzalez swung awkwardly at the outside curve, then popped foul to third base for the second out, but Harang still had to face Cuddyer, who has two grand slams already this season and had eight RBIs over his past three games. Harang got him to roll a grounder to second to escape the jam.
"He had all his pitches working," Rockies right fielder Tyler Colvin said. "He was throwing his curveball in the zone, putting his sliders in some good spots and, of course, throwing his fastball for strikes. He came right after us and got outs."
A key to the Dodgers success Saturday was their ability to consistently add to their scoreboard totals. They put up a pair of runs in the second when Elian Herrera knocked a two-out, two-run single to center, and they added another in the fourth when Ethier walked with the bases loaded.
Bobby Abreu added an insurance run in the sixth, driving his first home run of the season into the Rockies' right-field bullpen, and after Ethier doubled to right, Adam Kennedy plated him with a base hit.
The Dodgers faced one more threat from the Rockies in the seventh inning, facing Gonzalez with one out and runners on first and third. Scott Elbert came in and attacked Gonzalez with his best stuff.
"I came in with my same approach," Elbert said. "Try to get ahead with my slider. I got lucky this time. I threw one pitch. Slider away. He swung."
Gonzalez grounded into a double play started by James Loney at first to end the threat, and the Rockies didn't get another hit in the final two innings as the Dodgers left the rut they'd been stuck in with authority.
"Back on track -- we won today," Mattingly said. "All the other ones are already over. We got a win today, hopefully a chance to win a series tomorrow. Get the trip started in the first city with a chance to win a series, and then move on to Philly."