DENVER (AP) - The 37,419 fans at Coors Field stood and cheered as Colorado Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer came to bat with two outs in the ninth inning.
He had one last chance to extend his hitting streak, a feat he pulled off Sunday with an eighth-inning single against the Giants.
No such luck against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Not with Clayton Kershaw pitching his best game since opening day.
Kershaw tossed a four-hitter for his second shutout of the season and rookie sensation Yasiel Puig had three more hits, including a solo homer, to lead the Dodgers to an 8-0 win over Colorado.
The 22-year-old Puig also added a double and a single to raise his average to .443 this season.
Kershaw (7-5) kept the Rockies off balance all night, even Cuddyer, who had his franchise-record 27-game hitting streak halted after going hitless in four plate appearances. Cuddyer flied out to Puig in right to end the game.
``If it was going to end, might as well end against the best pitcher in the league,' Cuddyer said.
Cuddyer failed to get a hit for the first time since May 27. His streak was the longest in the majors this season.
He didn't reach base, either, bringing his club-record streak of 46 straight games with a hit, walk or being plunked by a pitch to an end. He hit .372 with six home runs and 19 RBIs during the streak despite nearly going on the disabled list with an abdominal injury three weeks ago.
Instead, he talked his way out of the trainer's room and into the team's record book.
``I'm proud of it. No question,' Cuddyer said. ``It's a long time, longer than I've ever gone.'
Roy Oswalt (0-3) was roughed up in his first start at Coors Field this season. He allowed five runs and nine hits in five innings.
Adrian Gonzalez broke open the game with a two-run homer in the third and Juan Uribe added a pair of RBI singles. Hanley Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a single in the second.
``I think I'm trying to be too fine. Trying to throw that nine-inning shutout with 70 pitches instead of being aggressive like I've always been,' Oswalt said. ``After the home run, pretty much went all out. Threw a lot better after that. First couple of innings, trying to be too fine with the fastball, too fine with the off-speed pitches.'
Kershaw found himself in a rather unfamiliar position - with a big early lead. He entered the game with the second-lowest run support of any NL starter.
But the Dodgers gave Kershaw an early four-run cushion, more than enough in his third complete game of the year. He held San Francisco without a run in his first start of the season April 1.
Yorvit Torrealba, who singled twice, was the only Rockies batter to have any measure of success against Kershaw.
``He had his `A' game, no question tonight,' Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. ``It was going to be tough to score off of him. He was at the top of his game and when he is, you have to scratch and claw for everything.'
Kershaw might have had the play of the game - or at least the most comical - when he lost his glove trying to field a bunt.
No matter, he picked it up barehanded and threw out Josh Rutledge.
Fans showed up early to watch Puig send one monster shot after another into the stands during batting practice.
Puig was even more impressive once the game began.
These days, it's hard not to take notice of Puig. His 44 hits in June were a Dodgers rookie record for a month.
He carried it over into July with a single in the first and a double off the right-field scoreboard in the third. After taking a called third strike, Puig sent a pitch from reliever Adam Ottavino over the fence in the deepest part of the park for his eighth homer this season.
Puig wasn't done there. He also made a running catch in foul territory, veering right for the seats before suddenly turning to avoid a collision. He then trotted into the dugout as if it were just another routine play.
``Exciting player. Big guy with a lot of athleticism,' Weiss said. ``Brought a lot of excitement to that club.'
Before the game, Cuddyer said he had taken his career-long hitting streak in stride, not stressing out about it.
``I'm not scared to talk about it because it's going to end eventually,' he said. ``There's no reason to act different.'
He couldn't even begin to fathom hitting in 56 straight games like Joe DiMaggio.
``That's ridiculous,' he said. ``It's one of those records, for me, that's unattainable.'
NOTES: Colorado placed OF Dexter Fowler (bruised right hand) on the 15-day disabled list. The move is retroactive to June 26. RHP Edgmer Escalona was reinstated from the DL to take his place. ... RHP Tyler Chatwood (4-1) will pitch for Colorado on Wednesday, while the Dodgers counter with RHP Zack Greinke (5-2). ... Torrealba is hitting .377 at home this season.
The Associated Press News Service
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