DENVER — The Los Angeles Dodgers are reaping the benefits from the most productive run of Ricky Nolasco’s career.
Nolasco pitched six strong innings, Carl Crawford had a two-run single among three hits to spark the offense in the absence of injured catalyst Yasiel Puig, and the NL West-leading Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies 7-4 on Tuesday night for their sixth straight win.
“Being in this chase right now, to be able to pitch my best, at this time, is big for me and for the team,” Nolasco said.
Nolasco (12-9) allowed two runs and five hits in improving to 7-1 with a 2.27 ERA in his 11 starts since coming to the Dodgers on July 6 in a trade with Miami. He struck out five and walked one.
“He’s been great because he’s pitched well pretty much every time out,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “He’s kind of solidified that fourth guy for us and that’s where we had been searching. Ricky came in and basically gave us another guy.”
Nolasco kept the Rockies off balance by pitching inside with his fastball and then mixing in his slider.
“The ball would be there and it dropped at the last second. It had late movement,” the Rockies’ Nolan Arenado said. “I would say he is a pretty darn good pitcher.”
The Dodgers’ deep pitching staff has been complemented by the team’s depth among position players, which was tested again in the absence of Puig, who was rested a day after aggravating a right knee strain. He remains day to day.
Crawford went 3 for 5 and Nick Punto added four singles to help bolster the offense.
“We have tons of talent in this room,” Nolasco said. “Veterans, young guys, to be able to give a couple guys breathers and have other guys step up is huge. Everybody comes in ready to play and when you have depth like that, it’s huge for the team.”
Jhoulys Chacin (13-8) allowed four runs in seven innings in losing to the Dodgers for the first time in four starts this season.
Down two runs, the Rockies pulled within one when pinch-hitter Josh Rutledge, batting for Carlos Gonzalez, led off the eighth with a drive off reliever Paco Rodriguez that reached the bleachers in left. Rodriguez walked Dexter Fowler and was relieved by Ronald Belisario.
After D.J. LeMahieu sacrificed, Belisario got Troy Tulowitzki to line out to short and Fowler was doubled off second when he was caught off the bag.
The Dodgers came back to load the bases with two outs in the ninth against reliever Rex Brothers. Mark Ellis hit a fly ball that kicked off the glove of retreating left fielder Charlie Culberson for an error leading to three unearned runs.
“I was expecting to be closer to the ball,” Culberson said. “I got there quicker than expected and missed it.”
Chris Withrow got the final out for his first save.
The Dodgers opened a 3-0 lead in the second, loading the bases on Andre Ethier’s double, Ellis’ walk and Skip Schumaker’s infield single. Tim Federowicz drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly and after Nolasco moved the runners up with another sacrifice, Crawford came through with a two-run single to left.
Adrian Gonzalez put the Dodgers up 4-0 with a sacrifice fly in the fifth.
Nolasco had allowed only one hit before Charlie Blackmon doubled with two outs in the fifth. Chacin followed with an RBI single to right.
The Rockies pulled within two after LeMahieu doubled to start the sixth, took third when left fielder Crawford bobbled LeMahieu’s liner for an error and scored on Tulowitzki’s groundout.
REDS 1, CARDINALS 0
CINCINNATI — Speedy Billy Hamilton got his first major league steal and came around on Todd Frazier’s double in the seventh inning, sending Cincinnati to the victory.
Hamilton made his big league debut as a pinch runner for Ryan Ludwick, who led off the seventh with a single against Seth Maness (5-2).
NATIONALS 9, PHILLIES 6
PHILADELPHIA — Wilson Ramos hit a three-run homer and Corey Brown also went deep to back Gio Gonzalez, leading Washington to the victory.
Still clinging to postseason hopes, the Nationals overcame a sloppy all-around effort that included three errors, four unearned runs and four wild pitches. They remained 7½ games behind Cincinnati for the second wild-card spot.
BRAVES 3, METS 1
ATLANTA — Kris Medlen pitched seven strong innings to help Atlanta get another win at home.
PADRES 3, GIANTS 2
SAN DIEGO — Chris Denorfia hit a go-ahead RBI single in the seventh inning to lift the Padres to the victory.
Nick Hundley drew a leadoff walk in the seventh from rookie reliever Jake Dunning, who was called up earlier in the day from Triple-A Fresno. Ronnie Cedeno followed with a single to send Hundley to third and bring on Javier Lopez.
MARLINS 6, CUBS 2
CHICAGO — Donovan Solano had three hits, including a two-run double, and the Miami bullpen combined for 4 2-3 hitless innings.
BLUE JAYS 10, DIAMONDBACKS 4
PHOENIX — Edwin Encarnacion, Rajai Davis, Adam Lind and Moises Sierra homered in Toronto’s fifth win in six games.
Tiger denied No. 20
BOSTON — Jon Lester outdueled Max Scherzer and Boston beat Detroit 2-1, ending the Tigers right-hander’s chance to become just the second pitcher to open a season with a 20-1 record.
Lester (13-8) lowered his ERA to 1.71 in his past six starts. He allowed one earned run and eight hits with a season-high nine strikeouts and no walks.
Scherzer (19-2), who won his first 13 decisions, lost for the first time since July 13 when Texas beat him 7-1.
YANKEES 6, WHITE SOX 4
NEW YORK — Eduardo Nunez’s two-run double capped a five-run eighth inning for New York.
Pinch-hitter Curtis Granderson tied the score with an RBI single off reliever Donnie Veal and New York went on to win for the 12th time in 14 home games.
INDIANS 4, ORIOLES 3
CLEVELAND — Ubaldo Jimenez pitched six shutout innings while Yan Gomes and Asdrubal Cabrera drove in two runs apiece, and Cleveland survived a shaky ninth inning.
Jimenez (10-9) has allowed three earned runs or less in eight consecutive starts. The right-hander allowed four hits.
ROYALS 4, MARINERS 3
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Salvador Perez drove in Mike Moustakas with two outs in the eighth inning for Kansas City, which survived after blowing a three-run lead.
Billy Butler grounded into a double play against reliever Yoervis Medina (4-4) when Moustakas legged out a double to center in the eighth. Perez followed with a single to left, and Moustakas had just enough time for a headfirst slide ahead of Endy Chavez’s throw to home.
TWINS 9, ASTROS 6, 12 INN.
HOUSTON — Clete Thomas scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch in the 12th inning and Darin Mastroianni added a two-run double for Minnesota.
RAYS 7, ANGELS 1
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Matt Moore pitched into the sixth inning in his return from the disabled list, and Tampa Bay got home runs from Desmond Jennings and Yunel Escobar.
RANGERS 5, ATHLETICS 1
OAKLAND, Calif. — Martin Perez allowed one run over seven innings to win his sixth straight start and Mitch Moreland homered to move Texas back into sole possession of first place in the AL West.