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Capuano's gem leads LA to fifth straight win

Dodgers lefty fans eight Rockies; M. Ellis has four RBIs

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers continued their assault on the National League West on Thursday night.

Mark Ellis had three hits and drove in four runs, Chris Capuano pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings and the Dodgers beat the Rockies, 6-1, at a sold out Dodger Stadium for their fifth straight win. Los Angeles is 16-3 since June 22, the best record in the Major Leagues, and 13-2 over its past 15 games against division opponents.

At 46-45, the Dodgers are above .500 for the first time since they were 7-6 nearly three months ago.

"It's been a lot of fun, things have turned around," said Ellis, who tied a career high in RBIs. "We're playing better baseball. Any time you can play good baseball and win games and do the right things it's going to be a lot more fun."

On the downside, Yasiel Puig was removed from the game after seven innings after aggravating the bruised hip that has bothered him since he collided with the right-field fence in Colorado on July 3. Puig was 2-for-4 before Andre Ethier took over in center field, his 18th multihit performance in 36 games. He is day to day.

Capuano, who was moving to the bullpen until Stephen Fife went down with a shoulder issue earlier in the week, scattered six hits and struck out eight to earn his third win of the season and first since June 19. The left-hander's deepest outing since May 18 helped ease the burden on a 'pen that picked up nine innings in Wednesday night's 14-inning win in Phoenix.

"It was really just what we needed after the game last night," said manager Don Mattingly. "He got us deep into the game, which really set the tone for what we were doing today."

With six days off between starts, Capuano had extra time to make a mechanical adjustment that he said helped keep the ball down.

"I just tried to take advantage of those extra two days and get as sharp as I could," Capuano said. "I think tonight was probably the best I've felt this season so far just with command of the pitches and the action on them."

Capuano fared much better in this one than he did on the Fourth of July in Colorado, when he was charged with six runs over 4 1/3 innings. He didn't allow multiple baserunners until the seventh, and made it past the sixth for the first time in seven outings.

"Capuano had a great game, he did a good job keeping us off balance," said Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.

Coming off a productive road trip, Juan Uribe had two hits and scored twice. He even turned back the clock and looked like Puig on the basepaths. The veteran third baseman scored from first with one out on double down the left field line by Jerry Hairston Jr. to give the Dodgers a lead in the second.

Uribe drew a rare walk to lead off the fourth and stole his second base of the season. Hairston and Tim Federowicz also walked to load the bases before Ellis delivered a two-run single through the left side of the infield.

Ellis added another two-run single as the Dodgers sent eight to the plate in a three-run eighth inning.

"Guys are coming through in spots that maybe we weren't earlier in the season," Ellis said.

Ronald Belisario, who pitched a scoreless inning on Wednesday, relieved Capuano with two on and one out in the seventh. He needed one pitch to induce a double play and came back out for a 1-2-3 eighth. Belisario has allowed just one unearned run over his past 10 innings, covering 12 appearances.

"When he's on, he just wears guys out," Mattingly said.

Colorado outfielder Carlos Gonzalez took an extra-base hit and an RBI away from Hanley Ramirez in the first, crashing into the left-field wall after a leaping grab in front of the Dodgers bullpen to strand Adrian Gonzalez. The Rockies' All-Star made another nice play in the fourth on a sinking line drive from Gonzalez that would have added to the Dodgers' lead.

Gonzalez belted a solo home run to right off Brandon League to lead off the top of the ninth. But League settled in, struck out two and didn't allow another hit.

The Rockies intentionally walked Ramirez twice, even in the eighth inning with the Dodgers ahead, 6-0. Ramirez is hitting .402 on the season and has hit safely in 20 of his past 22 games.

"They don't want any part of Hanley," Ellis said.

Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for
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