Casey Blake grand slam carries Dodgers past Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies

DENVER -- Casey Blake's patience gave the Dodgers a much-needed win on their uphill climb for the postseason.

He hit a grand slam on a full count in Los Angeles' five-run eighth inning Friday night, and the Dodgers beat Ubaldo Jimenez and the Colorado Rockies 6-2.

Jimenez (17-5) made his fourth unsuccessful attempt for a franchise-record 18th win.

"It just seems we're not as tentative," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "That's a big part of it, and I credit the top of the order."

The top four hitters in the Dodgers' order went 7-for-17 with three walks. Leadoff hitter Scott Podsednik began the eighth with a single and stole second, and Ryan Theriot walked before Andre Ethier doubled to the gap in right-center to tie the game at 1.

Matt Belisle, who had not given up an earned run in 16 games since July 24, got Matt Kemp to ground out, and left-handed hitting James Loney was walked to get to Blake.

"Bases loaded, I knew he was going to try to come right at me, maybe induce a ground ball," Blake said. "I just wanted to be aggressive. Got into some hitters' counts, laid off a couple tough pitches. I got a piece of the first 3-2 pitch barely. It was a pretty good pitch, kind of low and away. Then finally got a good one to hit."

Blake drove Belisle's 3-2 pitch into the stands in left-center for his 14th homer of the season and fifth career grand slam.

The Dodgers are 7-3 against the Rockies this season and 21-7 dating to the start of the 2009 season. The loss ended Colorado's four-game winning streak and was just its third defeat in its past 13 games at Coors Field, where it is 41-21 (.661).

Jimenez retired the Dodgers in order just once but took a 1-0 lead into the eighth thanks to Todd Helton's fifth homer of the season and the first in his career off left-hander Clayton Kershaw.

"I don't even think about No. 18," Jimenez said. "I want to find a way to keep the game close. I just want to win. I still had my velocity. They were able to hit some balls. I walked Theriot and then I tried to throw a fastball away to Ethier and the ball caught too much of the plate. I thought I would face Ethier. They gave me a chance to continue. I was all right."

Helton, a left-handed hitter, came to bat in the second inning 4-for-18 with no RBIs and seven strikeouts lifetime against Kershaw, who walked two and struck out six in six innings before giving way to Jonathan Broxton (5-4).

He gave up a run-scoring single to Melvin Mora with two outs in the eighth and was relieved by Hong-Chih Kuo. The left-handed Kuo threw a called third strike past a disbelieving Helton to end that inning and worked the ninth to earn his sixth save.

Jimenez remains tied with Kevin Ritz, who won 17 games in 1996, Pedro Astacio (1999) and Jeff Francis (2007). Since winning his 17th game on Aug. 4, Jimenez has gone 0-3 with a 3.21 ERA in four starts.

Torre was unsurprised that Jimenez started the eighth.

"I certainly didn't expect him to come out of the game if he feels good enough and obviously he did," Torre said. "Jimenez, even if it's 80 percent of him, that's still better than 100 percent of a lot of people."

Jimenez pitched seven innings Aug. 10 at New York and lost 1-0. Jimenez left with a 5-3 lead against Milwaukee on Aug. 15, but closer Huston Street blew a save in the ninth before the Rockies won 6-5 in their half of the inning. And Jimenez gave up three runs in six innings Sunday at Arizona in a 3-1 loss.

His ERA rose slightly to 2.71, approaching his season-high of 2.75 on July 24 after he was knocked out in the third inning at Philadelphia.

The Dodgers added a run in the ninth when Franklin Morales issued consecutive two-out walks and Kemp followed with a run-scoring single off Samuel Deduno, who was making his major league debut.

Game notes
Dodgers SS Rafael Furcal (low back strain) ran in the outfield. He will take ground balls Saturday and possibly be sent on a rehab assignment Monday. ... Rockies RHP Aaron Cook is scheduled to throw about 85 pitches Saturday on his second rehab start for Double-A Tulsa. If he comes through that fine, Cook will start Sept. 2 against Philadelphia in a makeup game at Coors Field. ... Francis (left biceps soreness) threw a 39-pitch bullpen session. He will throw again in the bullpen before facing hitters in a simulated game. ... Dodgers RHP Vicente Padilla (bulging disc, neck) threw a bullpen session.