Milton gives up 1 run in 5 innings for first win since August 2006

DENVER -- Eric Milton was finally rewarded after a drawn-out, difficult rehabilitation.

The left-hander allowed one run in five innings for his first win in nearly three years and Casey Blake hit a three-run double in the fifth, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 7-1 win over the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night.

"It was a long time coming," said Milton, who fought back from Tommy John surgery. "I always had confidence. I just told myself, 'This is where I belonged, in the big leagues,' and I was going to do everything I could to get back here. Hopefully, I can stick around."

Milton (1-0) gave every indication that he could, striking out three and walking none in helping the Dodgers to their seventh win in eight meetings with the Rockies. He hadn't won since beating St. Louis on Aug. 8, 2006, for the Cincinnati Reds.

"It's got to mean a lot to him," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "This kid worked very hard to get back here."

A former All-Star who pitched a no-hitter a decade ago for Minnesota, Milton had reconstructive surgery on his left elbow in June 2007 and missed all of 2008 before joining the Dodgers as a free agent in February. Making his second start for the Dodgers after beginning the season with Triple-A Albuquerque, Milton scattered seven hits, including Clint Barmes' leadoff homer in the fifth inning.

"He made some good pitches," Barmes said. "He kept us off balance with his slider and changeup and then pounded us with his fastball."

Dodgers catcher Brad Ausmus said that Milton helped himself by getting ahead of hitters and spotting his curveball.

"That was very effective for him today. He was getting some popups and quick outs," Ausmus said.

Juan Pierre had three more hits, including a triple and a two-run single to continue a torrid pace since stepping into the lineup earlier this month in place of the suspended Manny Ramirez. He has hit .410 (32 for 78) in 18 games since May 7.

Orlando Hudson chipped in by going 2 for 3 with an RBI and a pair of walks, extending his career-best hitting streak to 16 games for the Dodgers, now a season-high 17 games over .500 with the major league's best record (32-15).

"Offensively, we're continuing to live up to our billing," Ausmus said. "When we lost Manny, a lot of the naysayers thought we would have trouble scoring runs but apparently, that isn't true."

Aaron Cook (3-2), who threw his second career shutout in his last outing, allowed five runs in six innings in taking the loss, which dropped the Rockies (18-27) to a season-low nine games under .500 for the third time this season.

The Dodgers went up 4-0 in the fifth inning. Ausmus singled and Cook issued successive two-out walks to Hudson and Andre Ethier to load the bases before Blake drove them home by doubling to the warning track in center field.

"When you make a couple of bad pitches after two walks, that's what kills you," Cook said. "I didn't pitch that badly except for that sequence of pitches."

Pierre singled to open the first and scored an unearned run on Blake's double-play grounder.

He tripled and scored on Hudson's single in the seventh and added a two-run single in the eighth.

Game notes
Franklin Morales, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left shoulder since mid-April, pitched a simulated game earlier Tuesday and could soon be sent out on a rehab assignment, Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. ... The Rockies fell to 9-15 against NL West rivals this season. ... Hudson, the only Dodger to start all 47 of the team's games this season, is batting .377 (26 for 69) during his hitting streak. ... In 13 games since May 10, Blake is batting .451 (23 for 51).