Colorado Rockies Sweep Los Angeles Dodgers, Claim Sole Possession of First Place

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Colorado Rockies Sweep Los Angeles Dodgers, Claim Sole Possession of First Place
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Rockies first baseman Todd Helton watches the ball as he hits a three-run home run in the 3rd inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during their game on April 6th, 2011.

The Colorado Rockies completed a two-game sweep of their division rival Los Angeles Dodgers Wednesday afternoon to take a half-game lead in the NL West over the San Diego Padres.

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki hit a two-run shot in the fourth and first baseman Todd Helton added a solo bomb to right field, driving in three combined runs.

Tulowitzki now has two homers in as many nights, while Helton's home run was his first of the year.

Left fielder Carlos Gonzalez added another two hits, including a double and an RBI. Chris Iannetta, Jose Lopez and Ryan Spilborghs each added base hits of their own, while Seth Smith had a double. 

Jason Hammel recovered from shaky outings in the second and third innings to throw five quality innings, allowing the Dodgers to only four runs on five hits.

Reliever Matt Lindstrom gave up one run in his inning of work, while Franklin Morales and Huston Street both pitched clean innings. Morales gave up one hit and Street gave up two, but kept any Dodger runs from crossing the plate.

The Rockies offense worked the count well against Billingsley, chasing him after four innings. Billingsley ended up taking the loss, while Hammel earned the win and Street took the save. 

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Carlos Gonzalez swings at a pitch during the Colorado Rockies' game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 6th, 2011. The Rockies won 7-5 to complete a two-game sweep of the Dodgers.

While the Rockies earned their first series win and sweep of the 2011 season, the day didn't come without bad news. 

Ace Ubaldo Jimenez was placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Rockies to aid in the recovery of his ailing thumb.

He will miss his scheduled starts against the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets during the Rockies upcoming road trip. 

In a pregame interview with the Denver Post's Troy Renck, Ubaldo noted that while missing time is tough, this is the right decision. 

"It's never good to go on the DL, but I need to be able to help the team," Jimenez said. "It's getting better, but I still feel pain when I grip the ball."

Jimenez has a cut on the cuticle of the thumb on his pitching hand, which is causing him to lose most of the command on his pitches.

Right-handed pitcher Greg Reynolds was called up from the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, the Triple-A affiliate of the Rockies. He was scheduled to pitch the Sky Sox's Opening Day matchup against Tucson, but will now pitch on April 9 against Pittsburgh. 

The Rockies will take on the Bucs in a four-game set before traveling to New York to face the Mets.

First pitch for tomorrow's Pirates home-opener is set for 11:35 am Mountain time. Esmil Rogers will take the hill for the Rockies and face Pirates' starter Paul Maholm. 

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