The game had the scent of a September stretch run, two desperate teams clinging to the playoff hunt, in a taut, nervous affair.
And for much of the night, it appeared the Rockies would ride the arm of Ubaldo Jimenez to squeak past Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers.
A Todd Helton solo home run in the second was still holding up as the game’s only run as the teams headed into the eighth inning.
Only then Jimenez and the Rockies finally blinked, Andre Ethier doubling in the tying run and Casey Blake stunning Colorado with a grand slam off reliever Matt Belisle that sent the Dodgers on to a 6-2 victory Friday.
It marked the Dodgers’ fourth consecutive victory in their belated playoff run, and unintentionally, drive to keep Manny Ramirez.
Ramirez was claimed on waivers by the White Sox earlier in the day, and the Dodgers must decide whether to let him go, work a trade with Chicago or -- if they remain in contention -- keep him.
Manager Joe Torre held out Ramirez on Friday. The slugger has only one hit in 13 career at-bats against the Jimenez, with six strikeouts.
Assuming Ramirez is not hot to get out of town, he had to like what he saw from the bench as the Dodgers snapped Colorado’s four-game winning streak and pulled into a tie with the Rockies for fourth in the National League wild-card spot.
Most of the game was a terrific pitching duel between Kershaw and Jimenez, in something of a repeat performance.
The two had hooked up back on May 9, Kershaw handing Jimenez his first loss of the season in a 2-0 Dodgers victory.
This time Kershaw went six impressive innings, holding the Rockies to the one run on five hits. He struck out six, walked two and lowered his ERA to 3.01.
Jimenez, however, was doing Kershaw one better. Through seven innings, he had shut out the Dodgers.
But then came the eighth. Scott Podsednik led off with a single and stole second. Ryan Theriot walked and Either lined his double to end the night for Jimenez on his 126th pitch.
Belisle got Matt Kemp to bounce out, and then intentionally walked James Loney to bring up Blake.
Blake drilled his fifth career grand slam out to left.
Three runs and the loss were charged to Jimenez (17-5), who is bidding to become Colorado’s first 20-game winner.
Jonathan Broxton went 1 2/3 innings to pick up the victory, raising his record to 5-4. Hong-Chih Kuo recorded the final four outs.
Kemp singled in the Dodgers’ last run in the ninth.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Dodgers third baseman Casey Blake arrives home to high-fives from his teammates after hitting a grand slam in the eighth inning Friday night. Credit: Rick Giase / EPA