LOS ANGELES | It took Chris Rusin some time to adjust from the bullpen to the starting rotation this season.
On Wednesday night, the Colorado Rockies left-hander finally broke through for the win he had been desperately seeking.
Rusin combined with four relievers on a four-hitter as the Rockies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0 on Wednesday night in the rubber match of their three-game series.
Rusin (2-4) allowed three hits in six innings for his first win since April 13. It was also his first win in seven starts this year since moving to the rotation April 30.
“It wasn’t about me being comfortable in the rotation or the bullpen or whatever,” Rusin said. “It was just me trying to find my arm slot and rhythm and timing with all my pitches. I’ve been working hard at it and it paid off tonight.”
The 29-year old walked one and struck out three.
Chad Qualls and Boone Logan combined for a hitless seventh, Carlos Estevez struck out the side in the eighth and Jake McGee pitched a perfect ninth for his 15th save.
The victory gave the Rockies their first road series win in their last seven tries. They were 0-5-1 in their previous six road series coming in.
“We had to really fight for it, we usually do on the road,” manager Walt Weiss said. “Any time you win a series on the road, especially in division, it’s really important. That’s a big win. It ranks up there.”
Kenta Maeda (5-4) took the loss for the Dodgers despite a career-high nine strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. He gave up five hits and took a shutout into the seventh before Daniel Descalso broke a scoreless tie with a two-out RBI single.
“Kenta threw the ball great,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “To go six-plus, punch out nine, give up one earned run, we’ve got to win that game.”
Rusin retired 12 of the first 14 batters he faced, including 10 straight at one point. He worked around his lone jam of the night, a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the fifth, with a strikeout of Kike Hernandez and a groundout from Justin Turner.
“Kike is an aggressive hitter who can let the crowd get to him a little bit so I tried to use that to my advantage,” Rusin said. “With Turner I was able to get it in enough on him so he couldn’t hit it hard.”
That would be the Dodgers best chance of the night. They stranded eight men on base and were held to one run or less for the third time in a week.
Rockies: SS Trevor Story (rest) received a day off after going 0 for 4 with four strikeouts on Tuesday.
Dodgers: RHP Brandon McCarthy (Tommy John surgery) will make his first rehab start at Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Saturday and pitch three innings, manager Dave Roberts said. McCarthy last pitched on April 25, 2015.
WHO’S ON FIRST?
A Rockies fielding blunder in the fifth allowed the Dodgers to load the bases with one out. Both the first baseman Descalso and second baseman DJ LeMahieu covered first base on Maeda’s sacrifice bunt attempt to third, and third baseman Nolan Arenado threw in the direction of first base hoping one of them would catch it.
LeMahieu stepped off the bag but reached out and snatched the throw in front of Descalso, allowing Maeda to reach first safely.
The miscue ended up not costing the Rockies. Rusin followed the flub with his strikeout of Hernandez and got Turner to ground out for the final out of the inning.
NEWCOMBE TURNS 90
The Dodgers honored former pitcher Don Newcombe on his 90th birthday before the game.
Newcombe is a four-time All-Star who pitched for the Dodgers in Brooklyn and Los Angeles from 1949-58.
He was serenaded with a rendition of “Happy Birthday” at home plate prior to first pitch, and a Newcombe bobblehead was given to fans in attendance.
Rockies: RHP Chad Bettis (4-5, 5.58) opens a three-game home series against Pittsburgh on Thursday. He is 0-3 with an 11.48 ERA in his last three starts.
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (8-1, 1.47 ERA) takes the mound in the opener of a three-game series at San Francisco on Friday. He is 9-3 with a 1.23 ERA in 16 career games at AT&T Park.