|L.A. Dodgers «||1||0||4||1||1||0||0||0||x||7||12||1|
LOS ANGELES -- If this is the Los Angeles Dodgers' playoff push, it's probably a little too late.
Jeff Weaver won for the seventh time in eight decisions, pitching a three-hitter for his fifth career shutout and leading the Dodgers over the Colorado Rockies 7-0 Monday night.
"We've waited until the last minute here, but we're playing good baseball now," Weaver said. "We just have to grind out each game, one by one."
Los Angeles closed within five games of the NL West-leading San Diego Padres, who lost 4-3 at San Francisco. The Dodgers have sliced three games off the Padres' lead in three days.
"We know our margin for error is very, very slim," manager Jim Tracy said. "But that's not to say that with 19 games left, you cannot come out here and collectively play very good baseball and put together a nice streak. And if we can do that, who knows what can happen?
"We still have three games left with the Padres, and there's several games in between. So the important thing is that we keep trying inch closer to them between now and the last three days of the season."
Rookie Willy Aybar went 3-for-5 with an RBI single, and Jayson Werth drove in two runs for the Dodgers, who tied a season high with six doubles.
"I don't feel a sense of urgency," second baseman Jeff Kent said. "We've been trying to gain ground almost all year, but I don't see guys acting any different than earlier. And if they are, then they weren't doing a good enough job before."
Weaver, Derek Lowe and Brad Penny have combined to allow four runs in 24 2/3 innings over the last three games, giving the Dodgers hope.
"They have veteran experience and they've been able to pitch consistently," Kent said. "Yeah, they've had their ups and downs, but I think our rotation has been more stable than any other team in our division, which is a benefit -- especially down the stretch."
Weaver (14-9) established a career high for victories, striking out nine and walking one. He won 13 games for 2001 with Detroit and matched that total last season, his first with the Dodgers.
"It's a lot easier when you have some runs to work with because there's less pressure, so you just have to worry about going out there and throwing strikes," Weaver said. "Sometimes when you get a big lead, you just go through the motions. But I just focused and told myself it was a 0-0 ballgame each inning, and it worked."
The complete game was the 12th in 206 career starts for Weaver and his second this season, including a five-hit shutout on April 17 against San Diego. He became the first pitcher to throw a complete game against the Rockies since Tom Glavine of the New York Mets on May 23 last year.
"I couldn't be happier for Jeff Weaver, looking at the job that he's done here over the last two years, being the workhorse of the staff and pitching deep into games more times than not," Tracy said. "To see this guy grow into what he's becoming now, you feel awfully good about that."
Rookie Jeff Francis (12-12) allowed six runs -- five earned -- and nine hits in four innings. He has yielded 111 earned runs in 30 starts, second-most in the NL to the 122 off Cincinnati's Eric Milton.
"He really struggled to get any strikes on the close side. And every time he went away, he elevated the ball," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "It's just part of a long season. But fatigue's not a factor and there's a lot of fight left in him. He's a part of our future, and this is an excellent challenge for him that he can turn into a great learning experience."
Los Angeles went ahead on first-inning doubles by Aybar and Kent, who needs one RBI to reach 100 for the eighth time. The Dodgers made it 5-0 in the third as Olmedo Saenz and Jose Cruz Jr. each doubled home a run, and Werth hit a two-run double.
Aybar and Kent singled in the fourth and executed a double steal, with Aybar scoring on catcher J.D. Closser's wild throw past third baseman Garrett Atkins - Colorado's league-high 106th error. Aybar had a run-scoring single in the fifth against David Cortez, his first major league RBI.
Atkins went 0-for-2 and was hit by a pitch, ending his hitting streak at 16 games. It was the longest this season by a rookie, and tied Juan Pierre for the longest by a rookie in the Rockies' 13-year history.
|Players of the Game|
|Aaron Miles, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||2||0||.279|
|Cory Sullivan, CF||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.276|
|Todd Helton, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.303|
|Matt Holliday, LF||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.300|
|Brad Hawpe, RF||3||0||0||0||1||1||2||.280|
|Garrett Atkins, 3B||2||0||0||0||0||2||1||.285|
|Omar Quintanilla, SS||3||0||0||0||0||1||2||.231|
|J.D. Closser, C||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.221|
|Jeff Francis, P||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.115|
|a- Larry Bigbie, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.243|
|David Cortes, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Mike DeJean, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Jorge Piedra, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.294|
|Brian Fuentes, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-struck out for Francis in the 5th|
|b-grounded out for DeJean in the 8th|
|SB - Aaron Miles (4, 2nd base off Weaver/Navarro)|
|CS - Cory Sullivan (3, 2nd base by Weaver/Navarro)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|E - J.D. Closser (7, Wild throw)|
|Jeff Francis (L,12-12)||4||9||6||5||2||4||0||5.99|
|HBP - Werth (by David Cortes)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Francis 90-57, David Cortes 30-21, Mike DeJean 15-10, Brian Fuentes 10-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Francis 1-7, David Cortes 1-4, Mike DeJean 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Jeff Francis 23, David Cortes 9, Mike DeJean 4, Brian Fuentes 3|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Willy Aybar, 3B||5||2||3||1||0||0||1||.467|
|Oscar Robles, SS||5||0||0||0||0||2||4||.280|
|Jeff Kent, 2B||4||1||2||1||1||0||0||.299|
|Olmedo Saenz, 1B||4||1||1||1||0||1||1||.279|
|Jose Jr. Cruz, RF||3||1||1||1||1||1||1||.243|
|Mike Edwards, LF||4||1||1||0||0||2||2||.254|
|Jason Repko, CF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.216|
|Dioner Navarro, C||4||1||3||0||0||0||2||.282|
|Jayson Werth, CF-LF||3||0||1||2||0||0||2||.243|
|Jeff Weaver, P||4||0||0||0||0||1||5||.250|
|2B - Willy Aybar (2, Francis), Jeff Kent (34, Francis), Olmedo Saenz (23, Francis), Jose Jr. Cruz (16, Francis), Dioner Navarro (5, Cortes), Jayson Werth (19, Francis)|
|RBI - Willy Aybar (1), Jeff Kent (99), Olmedo Saenz (61), Jose Jr. Cruz (46), Jayson Werth 2 (37)|
|2-OUT RBI - Willy Aybar (1), Jayson Werth 2 (16)|
|SB - Willy Aybar (1, off Francis/Closser), Jeff Kent 2 (6, 2nd base off Francis/Closser, 3rd base off Francis/Closser)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|E - Oscar Robles (6, Wild trow)|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Jeff Weaver (W,14-9)||9||3||0||0||1||9||0||4.32|
|HBP - Atkins (by Jeff Weaver)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Weaver 116-80|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Weaver 10-8|
|Batters Faced - Jeff Weaver 32|
|Attendance - 33255|
|Game Time - 2:33|
|Temperature - 66|
|Umpires - Home - Greg Gibson, First Base - Brian Knight, Second Base - Tom Hallion, Third Base - Angel A. Hernandez|