LOS ANGELES (AP) - Jorge De La Rosa pitched pain-free in his third start since elbow-ligament replacement surgery and Rafael Ortega singled twice in his major-league debut. Mired in a nine-game road skid, the Colorado Rockies have to take consolation where they can find it.
They lost 7-1 to Josh Beckett and the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday.
De La Rosa (0-2) gave up four runs and five hits in four innings, struck out three and walked none. He had been sidelined for nearly 16 months following the surgery.
``I'm going to be stronger next year and win a lot of games for this team,' he said. ``I'm so glad to be back in the majors, but at the same time, I have to make better pitches to get big league hitters out. I'm going to work hard in the off-season to get right back to where I was before.'
De La Rosa said his legs feel tired, which he attributed to working hard for nearly two years to get back.
``I thought Jorge started out great,' Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. ``His tempo, his mechanics and his delivery looked as good as I've seen in the three times he's been out there. He made a couple of bad pitches, and he paid for him.'
Matt Kemp, Luis Cruz and A.J. Ellis hit two-run homers as the Dodgers remained two games behind St. Louis for the second NL wild card. The Cardinals beat Washington 10-4.
``They scored six of their seven runs hitting the ball out of the ballpark three times, and you can't catch balls when they're hit over the fence,' Tracy said.
Andrew Brown's homer leading off the fourth was the Rockies' only run in the three-game series. Until he homered, Colorado had gone 26 innings without scoring.
Ortega reached base four times, including an infield single in his first at-bat against Beckett, while starting in center field a day after being told he was joining the big-league club.
``I'm sure that's not what he anticipated,' Tracy said.
Ortega was hit by a pitch from John Wall in the ninth.
``That hit him right on the bone,' Tracy said. ``That's why I told him, even with defensive indifference, to just stay right there where he was at because he was really sore.'
Beckett earned his first victory in his last five starts and the Dodgers won their fifth in a row.
The Dodgers have their first five-game winning streak in more than two months. They end the regular season at home with a three-game series against the NL West champion San Francisco Giants starting Monday.
Beckett (2-3) allowed one run and six hits in six innings, struck out five and walked three for his first victory since Sept. 1 against Arizona. The right-hander had received two runs or fewer in five of his previous six starts with the team, which acquired him in a trade with Boston.
Shane Victorino opened the fourth with a single before Kemp's 23rd homer and third in two days cleared the wall in right field, putting the Dodgers ahead for good, 2-1. After Adrian Gonzalez singled and Hanley Ramirez flied out, Cruz homered to make it 4-1.
Los Angeles loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth against Rob Scahill. Ramirez's RBI single scored Victorino, who had three hits. Kemp was thrown out at the plate trying to score right behind Victorino.
Ellis homered in the sixth after Andre Ethier walked with one out, extending the Dodgers' lead to 7-1.
NOTES: The Dodgers last won five in a row from July 18-23. ... Los Angeles swept Colorado for the second time this season, with the first coming at home from May 11-13. ... De La Rosa fell to 0-7 in nine career starts against the Dodgers, and Colorado has lost all 13 games in which he's appeared vs. LA. ... The Rockies lost the season series 10-8 and have not won a season series against the Dodgers since 2007. ... Ellis received the club's Roy Campanella Award before the game from Campanella's daughter Joni. He was chosen by his teammates and coaches as the Dodgers' most inspirational player this season.
The Associated Press News Service
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