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August 27, 2009

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Rockies cut Dodgers lead with 5-4 win

THE Colorado Rockies closed to within two games of the National League West summit with 5-4 victory over the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday, the 10th-inning triumph coming a day after another marathon win.

The Rockies edged the San Francisco Giants 6-4 with a 14th-inning walkoff home run by Ryan Spilborghs on Monday and used a game-winning RBI single from Troy Tulowitzki in their next outing to continue the late-season pursuit of the Dodgers.

"A lot of people have said we could win the wildcard, but we haven't given up on the division," Colorado starter Jason Hammel told reporters after allowing two runs in seven innings.

"We still have a long way to go. We would like to win a couple of games by six runs, but it's definitely fun celebrating."

The Rockies (72-54) have won eight of their last nine to slice into a division lead that once seemed insurmountable when they trailed Los Angeles by 15 1/2 games on June 3.

Colorado, the NL wildcard leader, moved 18 games over .500 for the first time in its history.

Elsewhere in the NL, it was: Pirates 6, Phillies 4; Marlins 2, Mets 1; Padres 2, Braves 1 (in 12 innings); Reds 8, Brewers 6 (in 13 innings); Nationals 15, Cubs 6; Cardinals 1, Astros 0; and Giants 5, Diamondbacks 4.

In the American League, it was: Red Sox 6, White Sox 3; Rangers 10, Yankees 9; Rays 7, Blue Jays 3; Twins 7, Orioles 6; Royals 6, Indians 2; Tigers 5, Angels 3; and Mariners 4, Athletics 2 (in 10 innings).

In Denver, Colorado, the Dodgers (74-52) raised hopes of a comeback victory in the three-game series opener by scoring twice in the top of the ninth, Manny Ramirez's two-out RBI single tying the score at 4-4.

However, Los Angeles reliever James McDonald (3-3) issued a leadoff walk to Ian Stewart in the bottom of the 10th before the infielder advanced to third on a bunt single from Carlos Gonzalez and a throwing error by first baseman James Loney.

Loaded the bases

Tulowitski then brought Stewart in for the winning run with a single to centerfield after McDonald opted to load the bases.

Hammel logged 118 pitches before leaving the game while Matt Herges was credited with the win after completing a scoreless 10th.

Down 0-2 early, the Rockies tied the game in the fourth inning with a two-run homer from Brad Hawpe and took their first lead on a solo shot by Clint Barmes in the seventh.

Los Angeles' 21-year-old starter Clayton Kershaw pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowed two runs and struck out six in the no-decision. It was the team's seventh straight defeat in which Kershaw had pitched.

"They got the first game of the series and we've got to put this behind us and find a way to get the next two," said Dodgers catcher Russell Martin.

Following the next two games, the Rockies and Dodgers are scheduled to face each other again in the final series of the regular season on October 2-4.


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