LOS ANGELES - Fresh from the minors, Juan Nicasio focused on being efficient with his pitches and throwing strikes.
It worked, with Nicasio scattering three hits over seven innings to outduel Clayton Kershaw in the Colorado Rockies' 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night.
"That's as good of a win as we've had if not all year," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.
Nicasio (5-4) struck out three and walked one after being recalled from the minors. The right-hander was 0-3 with a 6.43 ERA in his last seven outings before being sent down on June 27. He was 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA in two starts at Triple-A Colorado Springs.
"I'm working on my command, down in the zone, away, sinking," Nicasio said. "I'm not thinking too much. I know they have good hitters. You show the hitter you can throw inside."
The Dodgers' five-game winning streak ended as they fell back to .500.
"That was a clutch performance," Weiss said. "To set down a team like that when they're rolling like they are is impressive."
Nicasio earned his first win since May 19, a span of seven starts. His seven innings were the most since he tossed one-hit ball over seven innings against the Dodgers on May 12, 2012, at Dodger Stadium.
"To get through (the seventh) was a huge step for him," Weiss said. "We talked about being really aggressive and attacking the strike zone with his stuff. We told him to keep it simple and attack, attack, attack."
DJ LeMahieu went 3 for 4 with an RBI for the Rockies, who were 3-8 in their previous 11 games, including a 6-1 loss in the series opener Thursday. He tied a season high with three hits for the fourth time.
"We didn't play very well last night so to come back was big," he said. "Juan was unbelievable. For this to be his first start back says a lot about him."
Rafael Betancourt pitched the ninth to earn his 14th save in 15 chances.
Kershaw (8-6) struck out 10, walked one, and allowed three runs and six hits.
"They just put some good at-bats on me, and that just happens sometimes," he said. "You keep battling and try to limit the damage the best you can."
The left-hander had been 4-0 with a 1.21 ERA in his seven previous home starts against the Rockies, all victories. Kershaw came in with a 3.25 run support average, and didn't get any help.
"It feels like we run into a good pitcher every time Kershaw throws," outfielder Skip Schumaker said. "It would be nice to give him a five-spot every now and then, but it just seems like more times than not we're not doing that. It's frustrating because we want to give our boy the win."
Typical of Kershaw's up-and-down night was Charlie Blackmon's at-bat in the second. He fouled the ball off eight times before doubling on the 12th pitch.
Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez struck out all four times up, and Troy Tulowitzki went 0 for 3 with a walk. But the Rockies pieced together enough offense to stop the surging Dodgers, who were 16-3 in their previous 19 games.
Colorado took a 2-0 lead in the first on Tulowitzki's sacrifice fly to center that scored Dexter Fowler, who singled to lead off. Wilin Rosario followed with a two-out single up the middle that brought home LeMahieu, who singled.
LeMahieu's RBI single scored Nolan Arenado in the fifth for a 3-0 lead.
The Rockies loaded the bases in the eighth before Blackmon grounded out to end the threat. In the bottom of the inning, they turned a double play.
Dodgers’ rookie sensation Yasiel Puig wasn't able to finish the game for the second time in two nights. He was removed after four innings for precautionary reasons due to a sore left hip, going 0 for 2.
"It feels a lot better today, but there are a lot of games left in the season," Puig said through an interpreter. "I'll rest, get some treatment and see how it feels tomorrow."
Rockies LHP Drew Pomeranz, who lost Thursday's start, was optioned to Triple A. Dodgers CF Matt Kemp is debuting his own line of Big League Chew Bubble Gum called "True Blue Original." It is available for a limited time at select Los Angeles stores, and he is donating a portion of his proceeds to his charity, Kemp's Kids. "I've been chewing that since I was a kid," he said.