Ubaldo wins 19th as Rox close to 1 1/2 in West
Timely hitting gets job done as Tulo rips 12th homer in 14 games
LOS ANGELES -- It may not have been pretty for Ubaldo Jimenez on Friday night, but he did exactly what the Rockies needed -- he got his 19th win of the season.
Thanks to 6 1/3 innings from Jimenez and some timely hitting, the Rockies beat the Dodgers, 7-5, to move within 1 1/2 games of the National League West-leading Giants.
"They are all big. The bottom line now is that it is a 15-game season. I don't think any win is bigger than the others," said Rockies manager Jim Tracy. "We don't have to look behind or to the side of us, all we have to do is stare straight ahead."
Troy Tulowitzki got the Rockies on the board in the first inning with a two-run home run, belting the first pitch he saw off Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda for a laser down the left-field line -- his 24th jack of the season.
"I couldn't have picked a better time," Tulowitzki said. "A lot of people talk about how I started the season, but I am going to finish strong and that is what the team needs the most."
The Rockies' shortstop now has 12 home runs in his past 14 games, a span in which he is hitting .357 with 27 RBIs.
"Tulowitzki got things started for us in a big-time way, as he has been doing for the better part of the last two to three weeks," Tracy said. "I don't know if you can hit a home run any harder or have it leave the ballpark any quicker than that one did."
Jimenez gave both runs back in the second, when Matt Kemp tripled to right field, scoring Jay Gibbons, and A.J. Ellis singled to center, scoring Kemp.
The Rockies gave Jimenez ample run support -- particularly in the fourth inning, when the hot-hitting Carlos Gonzalez singled and scored on a single by Melvin Mora. They tacked on another two runs when Seth Smith and Miguel Olivo hit RBI singles to garner the lead.
The Rockies strung together four straight hits (all singles) and tallied five in the inning. Before it, Colorado had managed only one hit off Kuroda -- Tulowitzki's home run.
Kemp was the catalyst again in the fourth when he singled, stole second and then advanced to third on a wild pitch before Ellis hit a double down the right-field line to plate him and make the score 5-3.
Jimenez gave up another run in the fifth, when a groundout to second scored Ryan Theriot.
"We took Ubaldo as far as we could take him," Tracy said. "Nothing was easy for him the first six innings of the game. He just chipped away and had a lot of traffic to deal with."
Through it all, Jimenez gave up four runs on six hits while striking out six. He said that he struggled most with his fastball command and keeping his breaking ball up to hitters.
While the right-hander won his career-high 19th game -- which ties him for the Major League lead -- he is more concerned about the team making the playoffs than getting to the 20-win mark.
"When the season is over and we have made the playoffs, I will have time to think about what I did," Jimenez said. "But right now, I don't worry about winning 20, and I want to be there for my team and am happy every time we win."
Tacking on two more vital runs in the seventh, after the Dodgers cut the Rockies' lead to a solitary digit, Todd Helton and Mora hit RBI singles to regain a three-run advantage
Helton tallied four hits for only the second time this season. Helton's prior four-hit game came Aug. 23 against Atlanta.
"This is something that we haven't done at the rate you would like to see it consistently on the road," Tracy said. "It started on our previous road trip, and we picked it up again tonight."
After Jimenez departed with one out in the seventh inning, the bullpen made it interesting when Matt Reynolds walked Andre Ethier and gave up singles to James Loney and Gibbons. Yet, Matt Belisle was able to shut the door, getting Casey Blake to strike out and Kemp to ground out to shortstop with the bases loaded to end the inning.
"The two outs recorded by Belisle were the two biggest outs of our season," Tracy said. "They were two tremendous outs."
Huston Street gave up another run in the ninth, but he converted his 20th save of the season.
"I love our chances. We have been here before and are starting to smell it," Tulowitzki said. "We get a huge win on the road. I like our chances."
Quinn Roberts is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.