LOS ANGELES -- Spoiler alert: The Rockies are not in contention as the stretch run unfolds, but they're certainly not going to make things easy for those that are.
After shutting out the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium for the first time since 2008 on Monday, the last-place Rockies beat them again Tuesday, clinching their first series win in Chavez Ravine since 2010 with a 3-1 win, dropping the Dodgers 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Giants in the National League West.
The Rockies, with their injury-riddled pitching staff, might have seemed an unlikely choice to derail the recently bolstered Dodgers lineup from its bid to gain a firm hold on the division race. But thanks to four shutout innings from starter Alex White and a similarly solid piggyback effort from Josh Roenicke, Colorado played the role of spoiler perfectly for the second straight night.
White battled through his four innings. Although he held the Dodgers to just one hit, he walked five, forcing the Rockies' bullpen to take over earlier than he and manager Jim Tracy might have hoped. But Roenicke (4-0) followed White with three strong innings, also giving up just one hit.
Their efforts, and those of shortstop Josh Rutledge, spoiled what was otherwise a stingy outing from Dodgers starter Aaron Harang (7-7), who gave up just one run in his first six innings before giving up two more in the seventh.
Rutledge, who was promoted from Double-A Tulsa in July, drove home all three of those runs, the first on a fifth-inning double and the others on a seventh-inning two-bagger. The 23-year-old, filling in at short for Troy Tulowitzki, also hit a double in the first inning and a single in the ninth to give him a career-high four hits and seven total bases.
"Rutledge just had a terrific game tonight -- two huge hits, drove in all the runs ... he has played tremendously, that's all you can say," Tracy said. "This guy squares a ball up and there's a little bit different sound to it."
Tracy also gushed about his leadoff man, Eric Young, who has embraced his role as utility man, providing energy off the bench and a reliable option for starts all over the field. Young was on base for all three of Rutledge's doubles, and four times total, thanks to his three singles and walk.
"What else can you ask Eric Young Jr. to do?," Tracy said. "What else could you ask a player that you give responsibility to in Spring Training, have him embrace it as he as, day in and day out and do his thing -- whether it's as a pinch-hitter, a pinch-runner, spot starter ... he's been fabulous."
Also stellar Tuesday was Roenicke, who spoiled several Dodger scoring chances, as Los Angeles went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position while stranding nine. One of those chances came in the seventh inning, when an A.J. Ellis walk and Shane Victorino single gave the Dodgers two men on with two outs, and Jerry Hairston the only man between the limited remaining options in the Colorado bullpen and the powerful heart of the L.A. order. Roenicke fell behind 3-1 before battling back to induce a fly ball, ending the threat.
"Had Hairston reached with two outs in the seventh inning we'd have been in a sticky spot with the bullpen we had available," Tracy said. "We'd have to match [Matt Belisle] up with Matt Kemp, and Matt Kemp's had some success against him, and then you've got Ethier behind him. That's probably the biggest out of the game as far as we're concerned."
That out helped the Rockies' pitching staff finish off its second straight impressive performance, notable for a group that has struggled to string them together this season. It also added up to a rough night for the Dodgers.
"Anytime you're playing a division rival you want to give them the best you can," Young said. "Whether we're knocking someone out ... that all depends on the standings. We just want to make sure we're playing sound baseball."
"[The Rockies] are playing well. They are battling us," Harang said. "I've been on teams like that ... you have nothing to lose, but you destroy everything else for other teams. They are coming out hard."
Chelsea Janes is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.