Fogg stellar as Rox win streak hits 10
Right-hander tosses 6 2/3 shutout innings in blanking of LA
LOS ANGELES -- Rockies right-hander Josh Fogg leaped from the pitcher's mound, shaking both fists Wednesday night, celebrating not awesome work, but incredible fortune.
Fogg fanned the Dodgers' Andre Ethier, on a pitch that wasn't exactly where Fogg wanted it, with the bases loaded to end the sixth inning to key the Rockies' seventh shutout of the season, 2-0 at Dodger Stadium in front of 45,036.
By winning a club-record 10th straight, the Rockies remained a game behind the National League Wild Card-leading Padres, tied with the Phillies. They've even rekindled an NL West title dream -- they're two games behind the first-place Diamondbacks, who finish the season at Coors Field against the Rockies starting Friday night.
"I said jokingly that if we go out and run the table, we've got a chance to win it all," said Fogg, who laughed even though the team is playing as if his quip were an order.
It could have slipped away in the fifth, when Fogg (10-9) retired the first two hitters but walked Delwyn Young, James Loney and Andy LaRoche. In an inning full of bad pitches, it would have been nice to say he saved his best pitch to retire Ethier.
But all that was important was Ethier swung through an 88 mph pitch.
"It's hard to go up there and hit," Fogg said, laughing. "That's why guys get out seven out of 10 times. You've got to throw strikes, make them get themselves out."
Fogg, who went 6 2/3 innings, struck out five, most with pitches he liked and defeated the Dodgers for the first time since 2002. But a better measure of how he can succeed came in the fact that he faced baserunners in all but one inning.
He gave up a two-out triple to Young in the first, but Loney grounded out. Ethier led off the fifth with a double but was called out for running into shortstop Troy Tulowitzki on Chad Moeller's grounder.
A typical fifth starter, Fogg usually relies on grit more than talent.
But he had huge performances on June 19 against the Yankees (seven innings, four hits, one earned run), July 17 at the Pirates (7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER), and Aug. 6 against the Brewers (7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER). And he has been stellar this month, going 3-0 with a 2.78 ERA in five starts. Last year, he had a two-hit, road shutout against the Mariners when he faced the minimum 27 batters.
Wednesday night's performance was another sprinkled gem.
When such performances are coming is something not even teammates know. It's not as if there's a special look in his eyes. There's not even an extra jump on his fastball or dip on his curve.
"I think he throws the same stuff," said catcher Yorvit Torrealba, whose double keyed a two-run second inning against Derek Lowe (12-14). "He's just effective when he keeps the ball down. Sometimes, it's not there and he leaves a couple balls up, but this is a guy who battles and keeps us in the game like tonight."
Torrealba's one-out double -- his eighth extra-base hit in his last 13 hits -- in the third inning set up RBI singles by Kazuo Matsui and Matt Holliday against Dodgers starter Derek Lowe (12-14), who gave up two runs on five hits in seven innings.
Fogg, Jeremy Affeldt, Brian Fuentes and Manny Corpas (18th save) made the lead stand. Corpas overcame two infield hits by working Juan Pierre into a game-ending fielder's choice.
Through five games of this road trip, the Rockies have trailed just once, after the bottom of the fifth against the Dodgers on Tuesday before immediately regaining the lead.
With the exception of a Tulowitzki play in the eighth -- he went far to his right to backhand a ball hit by Young and make a high-difficulty throw across his body for an out -- the victory was Fogg-like, more workmanlike than spectacular.
That was fine with manager Clint Hurdle.
"There's an urgency to play well," Hurdle said. "They're just playing to win."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.