05/30/10 1:04 AM ET
Gonzalez, Smith spark Rockies' rout
First two hitters combine to go 4-for-8 with three runs
By Joey Nowak / MLB.com
The two outfielders, who head Colorado's lineup, helped spark the club's 11-3 win over the Dodgers on Saturday night at Coors Field.
"They've done a terrific job up there," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "The way they're working together has been terrific."
The front men combined to go 4-for-8 with three runs, and Gonzalez homered in the second to extend the Rockies' streak of games with a long ball to 11.
"Seth's doing great things behind me," Gonzalez said. "Every time I'm on base, he gets a single and I'm trying to get an extra base and get to third with no outs or one out so it's a better chance for us to score first."
The two lefties are a combined 6-for-15 in the first two games of the series against the Dodgers, which ends Sunday afternoon, and have scored five runs and driven in four more. Both have scored in the first inning in each game. Gonzalez also made a spectacular diving catch to rob Manny Ramirez of a hit and an RBI in the third.
"They not only put runs up, but they made great play after great play tonight and allowed me to get into rhythm and keep throwing strikes," Rockies starter Aaron Cook said.
Colorado's win, its sixth in the past seven games, was Tracy's 100th since he took over the club one year ago. Sunday's rubber match will give the Rockies an opportunity to win a series against the Dodgers for the first time in the past two seasons.
"I know much has been made about what's been taking place since back when," Tracy said. "I was asked to start managing this club on the 29th of May a year ago and I know for a fact we have played them competitively in games that I've been involved in."
The Rockies chased Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda (5-3, 3.55) after 81 pitches in four-plus innings, as he surrendered 10 hits and seven runs.
"They punished our mistakes," Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said. "We weren't able to get away with anything. We were behind in the count and that's tough to do against a good, aggressive-hitting ballclub. They hunt the fastball, and when we were forced to throw one, they make you pay."
Meanwhile, Cook (2-3, 4.97) turned in a strong outing, minimizing damage from a Dodgers lineup that has given the Rockies heaps of trouble lately. He finished with three runs allowed (one earned) in 6 1/3 innings.
The Rockies got to the Dodgers' pitchers early and often after Gonzalez and Smith scored off a fielder's choice and a sacrifice fly, respectively, in the first inning.
After Gonzalez's homer, the Rockies tacked on two more in the third when an error from Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal gave second baseman Clint Barmes and Cook opportunities for RBI singles.
"What happens after that point is 13 extra pitches [Kuroda] has to throw and two runs we scored," Tracy said. "It becomes a 5-0 game. If you want to be a really good team like we want to be, little things like that mean an awful lot."
Smith drove in two more runs in the fifth before a triple from catcher Miguel Olivo and a single from third baseman Ian Stewart in the eighth put the game out of reach.
The Dodgers' only offense came in a three-run seventh, which included runs from Matt Kemp, James Loney and Blake DeWitt, who scored on three singles.
"We're really beginning to show our wear like we're supposed to," Tracy said. "And we have another chance to win a series tomorrow."
Joey Nowak is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.