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Rod Barajas, road warrior, leads Dodgers past Rockies, 8-2

August 19, 2011 |  9:12 pm

Barajas_600 For Rod Barajas, home may be where the heart is, but the hits are on the road.

At Dodger Stadium, just up Interstate 5 from Santa Fe Springs where he grew up, batting is a struggle, a veritable mystery. On the road hits just fall, and sometimes over fences.

The two sides of Barajas continued Friday, the Dodgers catcher making himself at home in Denver, driving in four runs to lead the Dodgers to an 8-2 victory over the Rockies.

Barajas singled in one run and then hit a three-run homer in the third to give Hiroki Kuroda a 6-0 lead.

Kuroda must think he fell asleep and woke up in an alternate universe. In his last two starts, the Dodgers have scored him 16 runs. In his previous six starts, they had scored a total of 12 runs. It was the first time he won a game while allowing a run since April 24.

Barajas also hit a home run Sunday in Milwaukee. After a little 0-for-14 slump, Barajas is four for six  with two homers.

All that came on the road, where Barajas his hitting 100 points higher than at home. His numbers at home -- .174 average, two homers, three RBIs. His numbers on the road -- .274, 10 homers and 30 RBIs. Same guy, honest.

Maybe Barajas should stay at a Marriott during homestands. Order room service. Take a taxi to the ballpark.

After Justin Sellers doubled and scored on an Aaron Miles hit in the first, Juan Rivera doubled and scored on Barajas' single in the second.

James Loney singled in a run in the third, and Barajas followed with his three-run homer to essentially put the game away. Anyway, at least as any game is ever put away at Coors Field.

The night was not without its drawback for Barajas, however. He left in the  bottom of the sixth with a mild right groin strain.

Kuroda allowed one run in the bottom of the third, but then the Dodgers’ newest power hitter, Tony Gwynn Jr., got it back with a solo homer in the fourth. Gwynn, who hadn’t hit a home run all season until Wednesday, now has two in three games.

Matt Kemp singled in Sellers in the seventh for the Dodgers’ final run in a light rain. It was a cornucopia of runs for Kuroda, who entered the game with a sterling 2.88 ERA but an 8-14 record.

Now he’s 9-14 after earning his first victory against the Rockies in 10 career starts. Kuroda wasn’t particularly sharp Friday, but he held Colorado to two runs and four hits, walking three. He struck out five, throwing 98 pitches in his six innings.

The victory left the Dodgers in a virtual tie for third in the National League West with the Rockies.


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Photo: Rod Barajas, shown Aug. 9 against the Philadelphia Phillies. Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea / US Presswire