Dodgers lose for just second time in eight games thanks to Stewart, Rockies

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Ian Stewart enjoyed quite a homecoming Tuesday night.

Stewart, who set season records in nearby Orange County for home runs (16) and RBIs (61) as a senior at La Quinta High five years ago, homered and drove in a career-high five runs, and the Colorado Rockies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-3 for their fourth straight victory.

The loss was the second in eight games for the Dodgers, who dropped one game behind NL West-leading Arizona. Brad Hawpe and Matt Holliday also homered for the Rockies, who are eight games back.

Stewart, taken by the Rockies with the 10th overall pick in the 2003 draft, has spent most of his six professional seasons in the minors.

Those days appear to be in the past.

"It feels good to come home and do well," the 23-year-old infielder said. "I know a lot of [family] were watching on TV. I didn't have a lot [of family and friends] here tonight, just my dad and my agent. I'll have a lot more the next two games."

Stewart ranks second in the NL in on-base percentage since being recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs on July 19, trailing only Holliday, who had four hits to match a career best.

"When I was up earlier, I struggled," Stewart said. "When I got called up, I felt prepared.

Stewart hit a two-out, two-run single in the first off Hiroki Kuroda (7-9) and added a three-run homer off Hong-Chih Kuo in the eighth to cap a four-run rally that gave the Rockies a five-run lead. Holliday opened the inning with his 24th homer off Jason Johnson.

Stewart, a left-handed hitter, is 14-for-33 against left-handers this year, and five of his last 12 hits have been homers. Overall, he's hitting .293 with nine homers and 37 RBIs in 47 games.

"Opportunities present themselves," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "He's definitely embraced this one and run with it."

Stewart made his big league debut last season, hitting .209 in 35 games.

Ubaldo Jimenez (9-11) earned the victory despite working a shaky five innings. He allowed eight hits and three runs with one walk and seven strikeouts before being relieved by Luis Vizcaino to start the sixth. Colorado relievers blanked the Dodgers on three hits the rest of the way.

"They're obviously better than their record indicates," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "They have that lineup that we have trouble getting through, in the middle. Those guys have beaten us up a little bit -- and looking at Holliday's numbers, he's beaten a few people up. And Hawpe, too. I mean, we're capable of shutting them down, but we just weren't able to do it tonight."

The Rockies have hit at least one homer in 12 of their last 13 games, and have a total of 20 during that time.

Willy Taveras and Holliday singled and Garrett Atkins walked before Stewart's first-inning single.

Matt Kemp doubled to open the bottom of the first and scored on a ground-rule double by Jeff Kent -- the first of his three hits.

Hawpe hit his 22nd homer in the third on the first pitch after Holliday's shot up the middle glanced off Kuroda's left ankle into short right field for a one-out single.

The Dodgers scored twice in the fourth to draw within one run after Jimenez retired the first two batters. Nomar Garciaparra singled, took third on a double by Casey Blake and scored on Yorvit Torrealba's passed ball. Jimenez walked Kuroda, who came to the plate hitting .100, before Kemp hit an RBI double. Andre Ethier then struck out for the third time.

Kuroda, who had given up one run in each of his previous three starts, retired his last nine batters before being lifted for a pinch-hitter. He allowed six hits and four runs in six innings while walking one and striking out three.

With the Rockies leading 4-3, the Dodgers loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh against Manny Corpas on singles by Kent and Manny Ramirez and a walk to James Loney before Russell Martin flied to right.

"We had enough hits and some opportunities, but then the bullpen wasn't able to keep us close, which is uncharacteristic," Torre said. "Jason [Johnson] had a good seventh inning, but in the eighth inning the wheels came off. We get so spoiled, knowing what to expect with Kuo, and then when things like that happen, you're very surprised by it. I hope it's another month before we're surprised again."

Game notes
The game was played before an announced crowd of 46,687, lifting the season total at Dodger Stadium to 3,038,674 -- the 13th straight year the Dodgers have drawn over 3 million fans at home. ... The Rockies (19-12) and the Dodgers (18-12) have been two of the NL's better teams since the All-Star break. ... The win was the 500th for Hurdle, enabling him to become the 81st manager in history to earn 500 wins with the same team according to the Elias Sports Bureau. ... Kent's first-inning double was the 560th of his career, tying him with Hall of Famer Eddie Murray for 20th on the all-time list. ... After their three-game series with the Rockies concludes Thursday, the Dodgers will have an NL-high 23 road games remaining on their schedule along with 12 home games. ... Tanyon Sturtze worked a scoreless inning for the Dodgers -- his first appearance in a big-league game since May 13, 2006, when he was pitching for the New York Yankees.