LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — Michael Cuddyer tuned up for his first Home Run Derby with a two-run shot, the kind of boost that he’s been giving Colorado in the first half of the season.
Cuddyer also drove in another run to help the Rockies defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1 Sunday in the teams’ last game before the All-Star break. The right fielder made his second All-Star team as an NL reserve, and will compete in the Home Run Derby on Monday.
He had a career-best and club-record 27-game hitting streak from May 28-June 30, going .372 with 19 RBIs, six homers and 17 runs scored.
“I hope I bring a lot to the table,” Cuddyer said. “The whole first half individually was a lot of fun, and the fact that we’re still in it made it even better.”
The clubs split their four-game series, leaving Colorado with a 46-50 record. The Rockies are in third place in the NL West, 4 1/2 games back of first-place Arizona.
“We’re healthy again, and we’ve weathered this last road trip, so I think that we’ve got some momentum going into the second half,” said Cuddyer, who snapped an 0-for-7 skid that included four strikeouts in two previous games in the series.
His 16th home run with two outs in the fifth extended Colorado’s lead to 3-0. DJ LeMahieu grounded out to start the inning before Carlos Gonzalez got hit by a pitch from Ricky Nolasco and Troy Tulowitzki popped up. Cuddyer homered into the right-field pavilion.
He had an RBI single with two outs in the first for Colorado’s first run.
“We held the Dodgers to just two runs in the last three games, and that’s a team that’s been going better than anybody in the game,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “So it’s a big win and a nice way to end the first half.”
Jhoulys Chacin (9-4) allowed one run and six hits in six innings, struck out six and walked three to win for the sixth time in his last seven starts. The right-hander improved to 8-5 in his career against the Dodgers, his most wins against any one team.
“It was a very impressive outing by Jhoulys,” Weiss said. “In the sixth inning when they had runners at first and second, I just went out there to tell him `This is your game. If you get through this inning, we win the game.’ And that’s exactly what he did.”
Chacin’s nine victories at the break are the most for a Rockies pitcher since Ubaldo Jimenez’s 15-1 record in the first half of 2010. Chacin succeeded at the plate, too, going 2 for 2 with a walk.
“Before I was just trying to just throw it hard,” he said, “but now I’m just trying to make my pitch, get them to hit it and get themselves out and get out of the inning with the least amount of damage.”
Rafael Betancourt pitched the ninth to earn his 15th save in 16 chances.
“The Dodgers had been on a real offensive tear prior to this series, so it was nice to see our pitchers be pretty successful against them,” Tulowitzki said. “That’s what it’s going to take if we’re going to make any noise in the second half. It’s going to be a big factor. The pitching’s got to be good, and they were this series, that’s for sure.”
The Dodgers fell back to .500 at 47-47 after winning 17 of their last 22 games to climb into second place, 2 1/2 games back.
Dodgers rookie Yasiel Puig wasn’t in the starting lineup, but he entered as a pinch-hitter in the fifth. He singled and then scored on Adrian Gonzalez’s single with two outs.
“We’re in position and kind of have it in our hands,” manager Don Mattingly said.
Nolasco (6-9) gave up three runs and eight hits over five innings of his home debut with the Dodgers. The right-hander struck out four and walked three while pitching in front of a large contingent of family and friends from his nearby hometown of Rialto.
“It was a little bit of a battle,” Nolasco said. “Just had a little bit of control issues. Wish I could have that one pitch to Cuddyer back.”
The club will open the second half of the season on Friday against the Nationals in Washington.
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