DENVER (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers are reaping the benefits from the most productive run of Ricky Nolasco's career.
Nolasco pitched six strong innings, Carl Crawford had a two-run single among three hits to spark the offense in the absence of injured catalyst Yasiel Puig, and the NL West-leading Dodgers beat the Colorado Rockies 7-4 on Tuesday night for their sixth straight win.
"Being in this chase right now, to be able to pitch my best, at this time, is big for me and for the team," Nolasco said.
Nolasco (12-9) allowed two runs and five hits in improving to 7-1 with a 2.27 ERA in his 11 starts since coming to the Dodgers on July 6 in a trade with Miami. He struck out five and walked one.
"He's been great because he's pitched well pretty much every time out," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "He's kind of solidified that fourth guy for us and that's where we had been searching. Ricky came in and basically gave us another guy."
Nolasco kept the Rockies off balance by pitching inside with his fastball and then mixing in his slider.
"The ball would be there and it dropped at the last second. It had late movement," the Rockies' Nolan Arenado said. "I would say he is a pretty darn good pitcher."
The Dodgers' deep pitching staff has been complemented by the team's depth among position players, which was tested again in the absence of Puig, who was rested a day after aggravating a right knee strain. He remains day to day.
Crawford went 3 for 5 and Nick Punto added four singles to help bolster the offense.
"We have tons of talent in this room," Nolasco said. "Veterans, young guys, to be able to give a couple guys breathers and have other guys step up is huge. Everybody comes in ready to play and when you have depth like that, it's huge for the team."
Jhoulys Chacin (13-8) allowed four runs in seven innings in losing to the Dodgers for the first time in four starts this season.
Down two runs, the Rockies pulled within one when pinch-hitter Josh Rutledge, batting for Carlos Gonzalez, led off the eighth with a drive off reliever Paco Rodriguez that reached the bleachers in left. Rodriguez walked Dexter Fowler and was relieved by Ronald Belisario.
After D.J. LeMahieu sacrificed, Belisario got Troy Tulowitzki to line out to short and Fowler was doubled off second when he was caught off the bag.