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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Clayton Kershaw had to wait five starts before earning his 100th victory. And after he got it, his milestone was overshadowed by teammate Kenley Jansen.
Kershaw had to sweat it out while the Dodgers' struggling bullpen nearly imploded again. But Jansen and Juan Nicasio came to the rescue to help preserve a 6-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night.
This was the first victory for the reigning NL MVP and three-time Cy Young winner since April 17, when Kershaw struck out 12 in a 7-3 decision against the Rockies at Los Angeles.
"It's cool. I don't know if it means a whole lot, but it's something to celebrate, I guess," Kershaw said. "Hopefully, I'm just getting started."
Jansen, reinstated from the disabled list after recovering from surgery on his left foot in February, struck out four in the eighth inning on 14 pitches. Carlos Gonzalez, the first of the four strikeouts, reached base on a passed ball by Yasmani Grandal.
"I didn't cross him up. It's just that my ball was supposed to go a different way on the two-seamer, so I just had to keep focused and try to get the next three outs," Jansen said. "It was an amazing inning. That won't happen that often."
Jansen was the first big leaguer to accomplish the feat since Arizona's Oliver Perez last Sept. 20 at Colorado. And it couldn't have come at a better time, after the Rockies scored four runs in the seventh against relievers Paco Rodriguez and Yimi Garcia.
"It felt great to come back and get that first one over with," Jansen said. "It's just a relief after 12 weeks. When I was warming up, I just treated it like it was the ninth."
Kershaw (2-2) was charged with three runs, four hits and three walks in 6 2-3 innings and struck out 10 before leaving with a 6-1 lead. He is 7-0 with a 2.28 ERA and 71-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his last eight starts against the Rockies, including a no-hitter last June at Dodger Stadium.
Rookie Adam Liberatore gave up a pair of one-out singles in the ninth, before Nicasio got the final two outs for his first save in five big league seasons after being used primarily as a starter by the Rockies. Nicasio struck out Wilin Rosario to end it after a two-out double-steal by Charlie Blackmon and Daniel Descalso.
Jimmy Rollins, who had his first four-hit game with the Dodgers, opened the scoring in the first when he drove a 3-2 pitch from Eddie Butler (2-4) into the right-field bullpen for his fourth homer. He added his 900th regular-season RBI in the fifth with a single off reliever Yohan Flande, increasing the margin to 6-0.
DJ LeMahieu ignited Colorado's rally with a two-out RBI single in the seventh. Kershaw faced one more batter, walking pinch-hitter Michael McKenry with his 110th pitch.
"We've put together a couple of good games against Kershaw. He's the best out there, but we were able to get something going in the seventh and get him out of there," Descalso said. "But you know with him, he's going to make quality pitches, so you've just got to battle him. We could have rolled over down 6-0, but the guys kept fighting, and that's a good sign."
Blackmon greeted Rodriguez with a single that loaded the bases, and Descalso cleared them with a double off the right field fence.
Descalso entered the game in the third inning at shortstop after Troy Tulowitzki left because of tightness in his left quadriceps as tried to beat out a bouncer over the mound that Kershaw was able to field.
"It just got tight when I was running down the line, so we felt it was better to play it safe and not turn this into a bigger problem," Tulowitzki said. "I threw some ice on it, and we'll see how I feel tomorrow."
Butler threw 83 pitches in just 2 2-3 innings and was charged with four runs — three earned — and six hits along with four walks. The right-hander is 0-3 in three starts against the Dodgers this season alone, including a rain-shortened 2-1 loss seven days earlier at Coors Field.
Rockies: Bench coach Tom Runnells filled in for manager Walt Weiss for the third straight game following Weiss' emergency appendectomy Wednesday. ... 1B Justin Morneau was not in the lineup for the second game in a row because of neck stiffness, the result of a diving attempt he made on a ground ball during Wednesday night's loss to the Angels. Friday was his 34th birthday.
Rockies: LHP Jorge De La Rosa (0-2) will face the Dodgers for the second time in seven days, after issuing six walks and five runs over four innings in a no-decision at Coors Field.
Dodgers: RHP Zack Greinke (5-0) had a no-decision his last time out despite allowing one run over seven innings against the Miami Marlins.
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