- Mark Saxon, ESPN Staff Writer
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LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers continued their roll, but the man most often credited for starting it left the game with an injury.
Yasiel Puig was lifted after he hurt his right knee sliding into third base in the sixth inning of the Dodgers’ 10-8 win over the Colorado Rockies on Monday at Coors Field. He briefly stayed in the game and scored a run, but was replaced by Skip Schumaker when the Dodgers went out to play the field.
The Dodgers described the injury as a mild strain and Puig's status is viewed as day to day. He has tended to return quickly from minor injuries this season.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers won again and they now lead the Arizona Diamondbacks by 12½ games, their largest division lead since September of 1977.
Their magic number for clinching the National League West is now just 14. The race has now become for the best record in the NL and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. They trail the Atlanta Braves by two games for that spot.
Meanwhile, as Matt Kemp continues to languish in his minor league rehab assignment, Andre Ethier is cementing his case for a starting center-field job regardless of Kemp’s health. Ethier launched a two-run home run off reliever Jeff Manship in the sixth inning, finally giving the Dodgers a quasi-comfortable lead in a typical Coors Field event.
Clayton Kershaw had pitched well at Coors Field this season, but like a lot of pitchers, it has never been his favorite place to work. He came into Monday’s start with a 4.98 ERA pitching at mile-high elevation.
That number got a bit worse after one of the shakiest starts of Kershaw’s career. He gave up 11 hits in five innings and allowed five runs. When the Dodgers rallied to take a 5-3 lead in the fifth inning, Kershaw gave the lead right back and it could have been worse if not for some loud outs in the inning. Nolan Arenado had an RBI double and Jordan Pacheco singled home Arenado.
The 11 hits were the most Kershaw had ever allowed.
The Rockies took a 3-0 lead in the first inning, but the Dodgers had action in their half of the inning. Puig interfered with second baseman DJ LeMahieu while trying to field an Adrian Gonzalez grounder and that cost the Dodgers a run. The next inning, LeMahieu leaped to snare a Puig liner that started an inning-ending double play.
3dBrian Heyman, Special to ESPN.com