Rosario powers young Rockies past Dodgers

Rosario powers young Rockies past Dodgers

Rosario powers young Rockies past Dodgers
DENVER -- The Coors Field fences have a hard time containing catcher Wilin Rosario, who launched his second home run in as many nights in helping a youth-laden Rockies lineup vanquish the big-name Dodgers for the second straight night, 8-4.

Rosario's third-inning home run Tuesday night off Chris Capuano accounted for one of his three RBIs and was the team-leading 22nd of his rookie season. Rosario, whose homer tied him with Carlton Fisk (1972) for sixth most all-time for a rookie catcher, also singled in runs in the Rockies' four-run first and the seventh.

"The at-bats that Wilin Rosario took tonight were very special," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "He hit a breaking ball for a home run. That tickled him to death. He did a great job on a couple of the other at-bats staying with pitches and just driving them back through the middle."

The euphemism for Rosario's performance this season is fence-busting. Unfortunately, Dodgers star center fielder Matt Kemp seemed to take that literally, except the fence busted him.

Rockies rookie Josh Rutledge, who returned to the starting lineup after being limited to reserve duty recently because of a left quadriceps strain, tripled just beyond Kemp and off the center-field wall. Kemp, a .337 hitter and the Dodgers' offensive catalyst, smashed into the wall, crumpled to the ground and had to be attended to by the team's trainers.

Kemp stayed in for a couple more batters but ended up leaving with a right knee contusion. He also had precautionary jaw X-rays. The Dodgers said Kemp did not display concussion symptoms.

The Rockies also had a late double from Rutledge and three hits from rookie outfielder Andrew Brown. The lineup consisted of six rookies, two second-year players -- including starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood (4-3), who held the Dodgers to five hits and two runs in five innings -- and third-year center fielder Tyler Colvin. Fatigued and slumping left fielder Carlos Gonzalez received the night off.

The Dodgers (69-61) are grabbing headlines, thanks to a weekend trade with the Red Sox that netted them first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, pitcher Josh Beckett, injured outfielder Carl Crawford and utility man Nick Punto. They've been in the news for nearly a month with various deals as they try to catch the National League West-leading Giants.

But it's the last-place Rockies (53-75) who lately have been snatching wins -- 15 in their last 22 games and eight of their last 10. The Rockies, who will go for a sweep of the three-game series on Wednesday afternoon, have won seven of their last nine games at Coors, where they have an unusually meager 28-39 record. Improved pitching and strong work from a young lineup have combined to fuel the surge.

As a contrast, the Rockies' starting lineup had a combined salary of $4.5 million. The Dodgers' nine is making $72.2 million this year. Reliever Rafael Betancourt, who pitched the final two outs of the ninth, was the only Rockies player who participated who is making above the Major League minimum salary for his service time.

Rutledge said he didn't know the numbers, but, "I saw the lineup ... We're just trying to go out there, play and play hard."

The Rockies scored six times on 10 hits in six innings against Capuano (11-10), who is 2-6 since the All-Star break. RBIs in the first inning came on Jordan Pacheco's double, singles by Rosario and Brown, and DJ LeMahieu's double.

"He's lost a little bit of crispness with the fastball for me," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of Capuano. "A couple games he had it, but when he uses it, his changeup is better, but he hasn't used it quite as much. He's better when he uses the fastball more."

Rosario's homer to deep left, right after Juan Rivera reached above the left-field wall to rob Pacheco, gave the Rockies a 5-1 lead. The two homers against the Dodgers made Rosario the Rockies' single-season home run leader for a catcher. He surpassed Charles Johnson, who hit 20 in 2003.

"I know what I can do," Rosario said. "We're just having fun. That was something we lost in the beginning of the season, but we've got that back now."

Charlie Blackmon doubled off Capuano to open the fourth and scored on Colvin's single. The Rockies added two runs off Jamey Wright in the seventh.

Chatwood, who has gone at least five innings in three of his six starts since being recalled from Double-A Tulsa on Aug. 5, faced potential trouble in the fourth when he walked Gonzalez to open the inning and gave up singles to Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier to load the bases. However, the only run that inning scored when Chatwood forced an Adam Kennedy double-play grounder.

"A very effective start tonight -- much better with his fastball command on a consistent basis," Tracy said.

Chatwood, who made 25 starts for the Angels in 2011 but needed more development time at the start of this season, finished with 80 pitches, 51 for strikes. Chatwood said the tight pitch counts on Rockies starters have helped him and some of the other young pitchers.

"Everybody bought into it," Chatwood said. "We're not messing around. That's what young guys, me being included, needed. Just watching [Rockies veteran lefty] Jeff Francis pitch, he attacks the zone. I have a tendency and a lot of younger guys have a tendency to start nibbling instead of putting guys away."

Ramirez, who came from the Marlins in one of the Dodgers' many moves, homered off Carlos Torres to lead off the ninth.

LeMahieu tied a Major League record for most assists by a second baseman in a nine-inning game with 12. The last second baseman with that many assists in a game was Harold Reynolds for the Mariners against the Orioles on Aug. 27, 1986.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.