DENVER (AP) — Jorge De La Rosa has fashioned a pretty good comeback story that could soon get even better.
De La Rosa pitched six strong innings to win his sixth consecutive decision, Todd Helton homered and the Colorado Rockies snapped the Los Angeles Dodgers' six-game winning streak with a 7-5 victory on Wednesday night.
De La Rosa (16-6), pitching his first full season since returning from reconstructive elbow surgery that sidelined him for a year-and-a-half, allowed two runs and six hits to match his career high for wins in a season. He tied Washington's Jordan Zimmermann for most wins in the National League. De La Rosa went 16-9 in 2009 for the Rockies and is one win from tying teammate Jeff Francis for most wins in a season by a Colorado left-hander. No Rockies pitcher has ever led the league in wins.
"It's pretty amazing, missing a year-and-a-half and coming back and pitching like he has," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "That's really difficult to do, just to come back and pitch and be effective. His changeup was really good. I think even when hitters know they're going to get it, they still swung and missed, so his changeup has been outstanding this year."
De La Rosa said he's a better pitcher now, benefiting from all the down time by watching tapes of other pitchers and honing his craft.
"I've learned more about pitching by watching other guys," he said. "It's helped me."
He's also fought through a left thumb bruise that has been bothering him for the past couple of months.
"It's still sore, but I want to pitch," De La Rosa said. "It's not worse. It's not better. It's the same. It just needs rest to get better."
And that, he said, can wait until the offseason.
Colorado built an early lead off Edinson Volquez, who was making his first start for Los Angeles after being signed last week by the Dodgers following his release by San Diego.
Volquez (9-11) allowed four runs and six hits in four innings in falling to 0-5 in six starts against Colorado this season. But he felt encouraged by his start and the tweaks in his delivery made by pitching coach Rick Honeycutt.
"I was doing everything they wanted me to do," Volquez said. "I just missed a spot today. A lot of pitches out of the strike zone. Two-strike singles. So I got to execute the pitches now, keep the ball down, especially in this ballpark."
Rockies rookie third baseman Nolan Arenado left after the fourth inning with a right thumb contusion. The team characterized his availability as day to day.
After the Dodgers pulled to 4-2 on Scott Van Slyke's bases-loaded double play grounder in the sixth, the Rockies extended their lead to 7-2 in the seventh on an RBI single by Josh Rutledge, a sacrifice fly by Troy Tulowitzki and a balk by Carlos Marmol that brought Rutledge home from third.