DENVER -- Brad Hawpe saved Byung-Hyun Kim with his strong right arm and his power at the plate.
Hawpe threw out Kenny Lofton at home to thwart a big first inning and then hit a three-run homer and tied a career high with four RBI to help Kim overcome his shaky start in the Colorado Rockies' 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night.
"You don't get to throw a lot of guys out, so it's really exciting when you do. Then again, to jog around the bases is really fun, too," Hawpe said.
Kim (2-1) allowed one earned run on four hits in seven innings, but that line didn't begin to tell the story of his night, which began with a 29-pitch first inning.
He walked the first three batters he faced and sent three straight pitches sailing past catcher Danny Ardoin, two of which were scored wild pitches.
"It was nice to have a brick wall behind the plate in the first inning," Ardoin said.
And Hawpe's strong arm in right field, too.
Despite his wildness, Kim allowed only one run, on Kent's RBI single to right on a play that Lofton was thrown out at the plate by Hawpe, who has four outfield assists already.
"We had a pitcher out on the mound that was trying to self-destruct and we let him get out of that inning with just one run. That was the difference in this game," Los Angeles manager Grady Little said.
Kim, who said his pitching thumb has been sore from hitting ever since his first start April 30, "basically ditched the slider and went with the fastball," after the first inning, Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said.
"In the first I was like, 'Oh, my God,"' Ardoin said. "You get three pitches that go all the way to the backstop, but my job is to stay settled down back there and let him see that I'm settled. BK did a great job, he is a big-league pitcher, and he showed why by making big-league adjustments tonight."
With Kim throwing heat almost exclusively over the next six innings, he allowed just three harmless singles before Jose Mesa and Scott Dohmann finished up.
"The offspeed was more just for show," Ardoin said. "And we just used fastballs in and out for the out pitches. BK did a wonderful job by making that adjustment. That just speaks volumes about BK and his character. He didn't shut it down right there, and a lot of guys would have crumbled."
Hawpe broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth when he sent the first pitch he saw from Derek Lowe into the left-field bleachers, 422 feet away for a three-run shot, his 10th. It proved a double whammy for the Dodgers when center fielder Lofton injured his left hamstring chasing down the ball and had to leave the game after the inning was over.
Hawpe also had an RBI single in the second. He's 6-for-8 lifetime against Lowe with two homers and six RBI.
Matt Holliday, who tied his career high with four hits, added a run-scoring single in the fifth after the Dodgers had made wholesale defensive changes, which included pulling Lofton and second baseman Jeff Kent (stiff lower back). Little said both are day-to-day but are unlikely to play Wednesday afternoon.
After the Dodgers went up 1-0, Hawpe's RBI single to center an inning later tied it at 1-all when Lofton had trouble with the first ball hit to him for the second straight night. He couldn't transfer the ball cleanly and that hesitation allowed Hawpe to score easily. On Monday night, Garrett Atkins got an RBI single when the ball bounced off Lofton.
Lowe (1-3) allowed five earned runs on nine hits in six innings. He didn't walk a batter nor did he strike one out in his first loss in six career games against the Rockies.
"This was as good as I can do here," Lowe said.
Dodgers closer Eric Gagne (right elbow) threw a 25-pitch bullpen session Tuesday and reported no soreness. His next step is to throw batting practice Friday in Los Angeles. ... Hawpe's seven homers against the Dodgers are the most he has against any opponent. ... LA fell to 8-2 in games started by C Russell Martin.