Back from Heart Scare, Jansen Saves Dodgers’ Win at Rockies
DENVER (AP) — Kenley Jansen took a brief moment to catch his breath when he stepped on the mound.
Then, he did what he does best — his past heart scare in Denver’s high altitude pushed from his mind.
“Feels great to be out there again,” Jansen said.
The Los Angeles closer earned a four-out save and Alex Verdugo homered as the Dodgers kept up their early power surge Saturday night in a 7-2 win over the Colorado Rockies.
The Dodgers have gone deep in all nine games this season, piling up 22 home runs. Los Angeles had four through nine games last year when the team set a franchise record with 235.
“This is an unbelievable team with unbelievable talent,” Verdugo said. “We’ll get on these kinds of runs with the talent we have.”
Jansen was called upon with two outs in the eighth inning. It was his first appearance in the Mile High City since the All-Star reliever had surgery in the offseason to address an irregular heartbeat that surfaced again while in Denver for a series last August. He didn’t travel with the team back to Colorado in September as a precaution.
“I’m glad I got this one,” Jansen said. “I feel amazing.”
Jansen did lobby for one thing — to hit in the ninth. But manager Dave Roberts gave him the take sign and he struck out before returning to the mound.
“He’s a closer and hasn’t taken any swings in probably six months or a year,” Roberts said. “There’s not a whole lot of upside with that.”
Hot-hitting Cody Bellinger delivered a double and an RBI triple to help the Dodgers win their seventh straight over Colorado dating to last season. Verdugo also tripled home a run in the ninth.
Walker Buehler (1-0) allowed one run over five solid innings as he bounced back from a rough opening outing. He was on a pitch count after a limited spring training.
“This is still a little bit of a work in progress, but I threw some pitches I liked today,” Buehler said.
It was another rough outing for Jon Gray (0-2), who allowed five runs in six innings. Gray has served up a homer in 14 straight appearances, a Rockies record.
Gray was in trouble in the first three innings, but escaped each time thanks to three double plays. In the fourth, Los Angeles capitalized as A.J. Pollock had an RBI single and Max Muncy brought in another run with a sacrifice fly.
“I could tell today with it being a tough lineup that I had to be on,” Gray said. “I tried to grind but I just didn’t have it.”
Dodgers: LHP Rich Hill (strained left knee) threw a 20-pitch bullpen. “Felt his knee injury a bit, but it didn’t limit him,” Roberts said. … LHP Clayton Kershaw (shoulder inflammation) will soon make a second rehab start. Roberts said Kershaw will decide if it’s with Triple-A Oklahoma City or Double-A Tulsa.
Rockies: RHP Antonio Senzatela (infected blister on right heel) threw five innings for Triple-A Albuquerque.
ALL IN THE FAMILY
The Rockies recalled infielder Josh Fuentes from Triple-A Albuquerque after placing first baseman Ryan McMahon on the injured list with a sprained elbow. Fuentes is the cousin of third baseman Nolan Arenado and made his major league debut as a pinch hitter in the eighth with a sharp single.
“I went in the cage and I was pacing back and forth like, ‘Man, I’m about to get an at-bat in the big leagues,'” Fuentes recounted. “I was looking at the crowd and the field and just taking it in for a second. Right when I got in the box it was go time. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
Arenado was proud.
“It was a rough night but it feels good knowing your family did something good,” said Arenado, who was 0 for 4. “It took a long time for him to get here, but it’s an amazing accomplishment.”
David Dahl homered for a second consecutive day, launching a fastball from Buehler into the second deck in right field. Dahl also had a run-scoring single in the eighth.
Dodgers LHP Julio Urias (0-0) has an 8.18 ERA in three career games against the Rockies heading into his start Sunday. Rockies RHP Chad Bettis (0-1, 9.53 ERA) tries to rebound from his last start at Tampa Bay in which he allowed six runs over 5 2/3 innings.