Rockies snap Dodgers' winning streak at four games, 5-3
Or is it only two?
The end may have drawn a tad closer Saturday night in Denver, when the Dodgers were upended by the Rockies, 5-3, to snap their four-game winning streak.
With Manager Joe Torre curiously electing to keep Manny Ramirez out of the lineup for the third consecutive game, the Dodgers managed only seven hits.
The Dodgers now have two more games to decide whether to allow the White Sox to claim Ramirez, trade him to the White Sox or pull him back and keep him for the rest of the season.
Attempt a run with Manny or let it go and send him to Chicago?
Saturday’s loss dropped the Dodgers back to fourth in the National League wild-card race, 5 1/2 games behind the Phillies. The Dodgers have precious little time left to make a decision on Ramirez, if not their season.
Ramirez did pinch-hit in the seventh, but struck out. Torre said keeping Ramirez out of the lineup was a "feel thing."
Saturday the Dodgers opened the scoring against right-hander Jhoulys Chacin in the second after James Loney singled and scored on a double by Casey Blake.
It seemed a good enough omen for the Dodgers, who had chased Chacin with five runs in five innings when they last met Aug. 17 at Dodger Stadium.
Only the Dodgers never did anything against him again Saturday. Never really came close.
Chacin, 22, went seven strong innings, holding the Dodgers to the one run on four hits and four walks. He struck out seven and raised his record to 7-9.
Chad Billingsley looked to be recovered from the strained calf that had pushed his start back two days, at least in the early going.
Billingsley (10-8) was making the one-run lead hold up for three innings, but ran into the trouble in the fourth after Carlos Gonzalez led off with a triple.
Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki’s hit scored Gonzalez to tie it. After a walk to Todd Helton, Melvin Mora singled to score Tulowitzki with the go-ahead run.
Helton hit a solo home run in the sixth, his second in two nights, to give the Rockies a 3-1 lead. It was the first home run allowed by Billingsley in 92 innings.
Billingsley left for a pinch-hitter after the sixth. He allowed three runs on five hits and five walks. He did not strike out a batter.
The Rockies added to their lead with a pair of runs against reliever Ronald Belisario in the seventh. Belisario hit Ryan Spilborghs and gave up a two-run homer to Gonzalez, the Rockies’ budding superstar.
When Belisario then hit Tulowitzki with a pitch, he was immediately ejected. The Dodgers had to find that interesting, since Belisario had not hit a batter in his 43 innings this season until plunking two Rockies in the seventh.
The Dodgers got two runs back in the ninth when Jamey Carroll singled and Rod Barajas hit a two-run home run off Houston Street.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley had smooth sailing for three innings Saturday before faltering against the Rockies. Credit: Rick Giase / EPA