Milton, Blake lead Dodgers past Rockies
Lefty goes five-plus innings for first win since August 2006
DENVER -- Dodgers left-hander Eric Milton didn't know where the ball was going in his last start. He sure knew where the ball was going Tuesday night to beat the Rockies, 7-1, at Coors Field in front of 25,384.
Making his second start since missing most of the past two years because of Tommy John elbow-ligament replacement surgery, Milton (1-0) threw 58 of 82 pitches for strikes. He gave up seven hits, including Clint Barmes' fifth-inning homer, and no walks in five innings for his first win since Aug. 8, 2006, for the Reds.
"It was like getting back on a bike," Milton said. "Tonight was my game. I was just throwing strikes, getting ahead of hitters and was able to come out with a win."
When Milton signed with the Dodgers in the offseason, he had an escape clause in his contract if he wasn't on the Opening Day roster. However, Milton agreed to pitch for Triple-A Albuquerque and made seven starts.
"I didn't want to leave the game with a bitter taste in my mouth, trying to pitch when I was hurt and not pitching to my capabilities," Milton said. "I wanted to come back healthy and show what I can do. Hopefully, I can get on a routine now, throw every five days and be a little sharper."
In his first start, a no-decision in the Dodgers' 6-3 loss at Florida on May 16, Milton threw 84 pitches in four innings and gave up two runs on two hits and four walks.
Milton's teammates were happy for him Tuesday.
"That's baseball, you're never out of it," outfielder Juan Pierre said. "He battled his butt off to get back to this point and to help him get a win, it's awesome. That's what it's all about."
Catcher Brad Ausmus, who had two hits and scored twice, said, "I don't remember him having all four pitches and [being] willing to throw his pitches at any time. You couldn't have asked for any more."
The Dodgers also couldn't have asked for any more out of the offense again.
They have averaged more runs per game without star slugger Manny Ramirez (5.94) than before he was suspended under baseball's performance-enhancing drug policy (5.55). The Dodgers have won 10 of the past 13.
With two outs in the top of the fifth, Casey Blake drilled a 91-mph fastball from Rockies starter Aaron Cook (3-2) into the left-center-field gap for a bases-clearing double to give the Dodgers a 4-0 lead.
The Dodgers knocked out Cook in the seventh with Pierre's leadoff triple followed by Orlando Hudson's RBI single. Pierre's two-run single in the eighth pushed the lead to 7-1.
"They're a really patient team, and when they get mistakes, they don't miss them," Cook said. "I felt like I made about four bad pitches, and the four bad pitches, they hurt us. When a team's doing that, it makes it real tough. You've got to be so precise."
Cook gave up five runs, four earned, on eight hits in six innings.
Hudson went 2-for-3 and extended his hitting streak to a career-high 16 games. Pierre added three hits, two runs and two RBIs.
Cheng Sio is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.