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Kenta Maeda baffles Rockies, leads Dodgers to 4-1 win

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DENVER (AP) Kenta Maeda held Colorado hitless into the sixth inning, A.J. Ellis lined a two-run homer and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Rockies 4-1 on Saturday night.

Maeda (3-0) allowed three hits – all in the sixth – no runs and struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings as the right-hander from Japan lowered his ERA to 0.36.

With a wind-up reminiscent of countryman Hideo Nomo, Maeda was cruising along until one out in the sixth when DJ LeMahieu singled for Colorado’s first hit. Nomo remains the only pitcher to throw a no-hitter at Coors Field – on Sept. 17, 1996.

Ellis hit his first homer of the season in the second to help the Dodgers end a five-game slide in Denver. Kenley Jansen threw a perfect ninth for his eighth save.

Tyler Chatwood (2-2) allowed three runs before exiting after the fourth with an elevated pitch count. He missed last season after undergoing his second Tommy John surgery.

Maeda was untouchable most of the night by keeping the Rockies off balance with a nasty breaking ball mixed in with a pinpoint fastball.

Early on, the Dodgers defense did their part to keep the no-hitter intact with left fielder Enrique Hernandez making a full-sprint, over-the-shoulder catch to rob Tony Wolters of an extra-base hit in the fifth.

An inning earlier, third baseman Howie Kendrick shifted over to shallow right field with Carlos Gonzalez at the plate. Gonzalez sent a hard liner that Kendrick easily caught.

So dominant most of the night, Maeda ran into trouble in the sixth after LeMahieu’s single. He gave up another to Trevor Story and then an infield single to Gonzalez to load the bases. But he retired Nolan Arenado and Gerardo Parra to get out of the inning.

The 28-year-old Maeda faced one batter – striking out Ryan Raburn – in the seventh before turning it over to the bullpen. The shutout was spoiled later in the inning on an RBI double from Brandon Barnes.

Maeda signed a $25 million, eight-year contract in January that could be worth $106.2 million if he stays healthy.

The 28-year-old received his first taste of Coors Field, which requires a pitcher to keep his pitches down and stay in command – all of which Maeda does, anyway.

“When he does that, he can pitch on the moon,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Dodgers: RHP Yimi Garcia (biceps soreness) was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Righty Zach Lee was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City. … LHP Scott Kazmir is dealing with a sore left thumb/wrist, but is still scheduled to start Wednesday against Miami. … INF Justin Turner wasn’t in the lineup after having his big toe stepped on by Rockies catcher Tony Wolters on Friday.

Rockies: C Nick Hundley (concussion) will play two rehab games in Las Vegas with Triple-A Albuquerque as he tests a new mask with more padding. He may be activated Monday, “if all goes well,” manager Walt Weiss said. … OF Charlie Blackmon (turf toe) could be sent out on a rehab assignment as soon as next week.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: LHP Alex Wood (1-2) tries to bounce back after allowing six runs – three earned – in four innings during an 8-1 loss to Atlanta last Tuesday.

Rockies: RHP Jordan Lyles (1-1) is 0-3 with a 6.85 ERA in his career against Los Angeles.

Report: David Price to pay each Dodgers minor leaguer $1,000 out of his own pocket

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Francys Romero reports that, according to his sources, Dodgers pitcher David Price will pay $1,000 out of his own money to each Dodgers minor leaguer who is not on the 40-man roster during the month of June.

That’s a pretty amazing gesture from Price. It’s also extraordinarily telling that such a gesture is even necessary.

Under a March agreement with Major League Baseball, minor leaguers have been receiving financial assistance that is set to expire at the end of May. Baseball America reported earlier this week that the Dodgers will continue to pay their minor leaguers $400 per week past May 31, but it is unclear how long such payments would go. Even if one were to assume that the payments will continue throughout the month of June, however, it’s worth noting that $400 a week is not a substantial amount of money for players to live on, on which to support families, and on which to train and remain ready to play baseball if and when they are asked to return.

Price’s generosity should be lauded here, but this should not be considered a feel-good story overall. Major League Baseball, which has always woefully underpaid its minor leaguers has left them in a vulnerable position once again.