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Dodgers vs. Rockies: Dodgers sweep Rockies with 7-1 win

The Los Angeles Dodgers won their fifth straight game Sunday, knocking off the Rockies 7-1.

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Dodgers look for 5th straight win

The Los Angeles Dodgers know that every game is a must-win. So that's what they're doing -- winning them.

The Dodgers will go for their fifth-straight win on Sunday against the Colorado Rockies as their recent string of wins has pulled them within two games of the St. Louis Cardinals for the final Wild Card spot in the National League. The Dodgers have four games remaining in order to close the gap and need some help, like they got from the Washington Nationals on Saturday as they knocked off the Cardinals in 10 innings.

The Dodgers will hand the ball to Josh Beckett on Sunday. Beckett is 1-3 with a 3.16 ERA since being traded to the Dodgers.

Beckett will face Rockies lefty Jorge De La Rosa, who is 0-1 with a 9.45 ERA. This will be his third start since returning from Tommy John Surgery.

Game Time: 1:10 p.m. PT

Television Coverage: Prime, TWC 858

Radio Coverage: 570 Fox Sports LA, KTNQ 1020

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Matt Kemp homers twice, Dodgers now 2 GB of Cards

Matt Kemp hit two home runs, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 3-0 win over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. With the win, the Dodgers now trail the St. Louis Cardinals by two games with four games to play, for the second wild card spot in the National League.

Kemp has three home runs and three doubles in his last four games, shaking off a horrendous slump that saw him hit .159 (13-for-82) in 20 games since crashing into the center field wall at Coors Field in Denver on Aug. 28.

"It feels good to hit balls that hard," Kemp said. "Hopefully I can do that for the next four or five days."

Manager Don Mattingly said he liked what he saw in Kemp's swing and approach the last few days, that the slugger hasn't swung at too many pitches out of the strike zone. And despite dealing with injuries, that hasn't stopped Kemp.

"Matt looked good. We know Matt's banged up," Mattingly said. "Banged up doesn't mean that every swing you take hurts. You have trouble getting loose, you get stiff in the morning, you have stuff going on. It doesn't mean you can't play and still do some things."

Joe Blanton pitched six shutout innings to earn the win, his 10th of the season and second in 10 starts as a Dodger. He struck out six and walked none.

The Dodgers have won four straight games, including two straight shutouts, and have outscored their opponents 27-6 during that span.

Third baseman Luis Cruz left the game after the seventh inning as a precaution. He was hit in the head by his own batted ball while taking batting practice in the Dodgers' indoor batting cage. Cruz said after the game that he felt fine and expcted to pay on Sunday in the series finale against Colorado.

"I just felt a little headache. They told me if I don't feel 100% to tell them, and I came out as a precaution," Cruz said.

Josh Beckett starts for the Dodgers on Sunday, facing Jorge De La Rosa for Colorado.

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Kershaw's next start likely depends on race

Clayton Kershaw, who has been battling a right hip impingement, has one more regular season start scheduled, for next Wednesday, Oct. 3. If the Dodgers are still in the National League wild card race, that is.

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Dodgers vs. Rockies lineups: LA still in it

The Los Angeles Dodgers are still alive in the playoff hunt, but every game they play is a must-win. Joe Blanton takes the hill on Saturday to try to keep things going for Los Angeles, facing off with Tyler Chatwood for the Colorado Rockies. The Dodgers are three games out of the wild card with only five games remaining, but they've won their last three games and carry that momentum into Game 2 against the Rockies.

The lineup for the Dodgers:

1. Nick Punto (S) 2B
2. Andre Ethier (L) RF
3. Matt Kemp (R) CF
4. Adrian Gonzalez (L) 1B
5. Hanley Ramirez (R) SS
6. Shane Victorino (S) LF
7. Luis Cruz (R) 3B
8. A.J. Ellis (R) C
9. Joe Blanton (R) P

The lineup for the Rockies:

1. Josh Rutledge (R) SS
2. Charlie Blackmon (L) LF
3. Jordan Pacheco (R) 1B
4. Wilin Rosario (R) C
5. Tyler Colvin (L) CF
6. Chris Nelson (R) 3B
7. Andrew Brown (R) RF
8. DJ LeMahieu (R) 2B
9. Tyler Chatwood (R) P

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Dodgers vs. Rockies: LA faces must-win games

The Los Angeles Dodgers face exceptionally long odds in making the 2012 playoffs, but they've won three in a row to keep themselves alive. They look to keep things going in Game 2 of their series against the Colorado Rockies.

Joe Blanton (9-13, 4.86 ERA) will be throwing for Los Angeles, facing off against Tyler Chatwood (5-5, 5.49 ERA) for Colorado. Blanton is 1-4 with a 5.57 ERA in nine starts since his acquisition by the Dodgers, but his only win is against the Rockies. He threw 7⅓ innings on Aug. 29, giving up 10 hits but only three runs in a 10-8 Dodgers win.

The Dodgers have shown some offense in their last-second playoff push. 26th in the league in runs scored, Los Angeles has scored eight runs in each of their last three games. Matt Kemp is 6-for-13 and Adrian Gonzalez is 5-for-13 across that stretch, with both men collecting five RBI.

First pitch is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. PT.

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Kershaw takes mound with L.A. desperate for a win

The Los Angeles Dodgers will look to make it three wins in a row Friday night with the Colorado Rockies coming into town to face a hobbled Clayton Kershaw.

Kershaw (12-9, 2.68) has been nagged by painful right hip injury lately but managed to labor through five innings of one-run ball this past Sunday against the Reds. Kershaw will be trying to put a stranglehold on the National League ERA lead while cutting into the wild card deficit with the Dodgers back three games on the Cardinals.

Jeff Francis (5-6, 5.54 ERA) will be on the bump for Colorado as he looks to get through at least five innings with his strict pitch count limit. Francis turned in a two-run, five-hit performance through four innings against the Diamondbacks at home this past Sunday.

Here are the complete Friday night lineups for both teams:

Colorado Rockies:

  1. Josh Rutledge - SS
  2. Tyler Colvin - CF
  3. Jordan Pacheco - 1B
  4. Wilin Rosario - C
  5. Chris Nelson - 3B
  6. Matt McBride - RF
  7. Andrew Brown - LF
  8. D.J. LeMahieu - 2B
  9. Jeff Francis - SP
Los Angeles Dodgers
  1. Mark Ellis - 2B
  2. Luis Cruz - 3B
  3. Matt Kemp - CF
  4. Adrian Gonzalez - 1B
  5. Hanley Ramirez - SS
  6. Andre Ethier - RF
  7. Shane Victorino - LF
  8. A.J. Ellis - C
  9. Clayton Kershaw - SP
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