DENVER -- Pat Valaika's ability to square up the ball has earned him the nickname "Patty Barrels" from his Colorado Rockies teammates.
That talent was on full display Sunday when Valaika hit two home runs and drove in a career-high four runs, helping the Rockies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-6 to gain a split of a four-game series.
Nolan Arenado added a two-run homer and had a season-high tying three RBIs as the Rockies completed their longest homestand of the season with a 6-4 record.
With Trevor Story on the 10-day disabled list, Valaika started his fifth straight game at shortstop. He hit a two-run homer off Dodgers starter Julio Urias in the fourth inning to give the Rockies a 5-4 lead and a three-run shot off Chris Hatcher in the eighth that completed the scoring. It was the first multi-homer game of Valaika's career.
"Coming off the bench is tough. Everyone knows that," said Valaika, 25, who made his major league debut in September and was recalled April 18 from Triple-A Albuquerque. "Playing every day, it's nice to get consistent at-bats, and you get to see a lot of pitches there during the game. So just trying to take advantage of it while I can."
Pat Valaika went yard twice today! pic.twitter.com/l0I6l0FVRZ— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) May 15, 2017
With Colorado having a day off Monday, Rockies manager Bud Black made heavy use of his bullpen, using six relievers to pitch the final four innings. Closer Greg Holland struck out the side in the ninth and picked up his 16th save in as many chances, setting a franchise record for consecutive saves at the start of a season.
The Mother's Day start was emotional for rookie Antonio Senzatela, whose mother Nidya died of cancer in July.
"Too many emotions in my heart now," Senzatela said. "I didn't do a really good job. I just try and keep it in the game there. We got the win. That's the most important."
Senzatela (6-1) bulled his way through five innings after yielding three runs in a 25-pitch first inning. He left after giving up seven hits and four runs in his shortest start since he went the same distance in his major league debut on April 6.
Senzatela trailed after the first two batters he faced, walking Joc Pederson and giving up a two-run homer to Corey Seager. Senzatela surrendered two more singles in the inning, but with one out and runners at first and third, the Rockies turned Chris Taylor's safety squeeze into a double play that went 1-2-6-5, squelching the rally.
Senzatela allowed four homers in 44 innings in his seven previous starts but yielded two on Sunday and gave up runs in the first three innings.
With his pitch count rising, Senzatela was able to finish the fifth by getting Taylor to fly out on his 95th and final pitch and strand runners at first and second.
"Without having his best control and command, he was able to navigate through a really good lineup," Black said. "His secondary pitches didn't really come into play today."
Dodgers left-hander Julio Urias (0-1) left after hitting Charlie Blackmon with a pitch to open the fifth, the shortest of his four starts this season. Sergio Romo came on and gave up a two-run homer to Arenado, putting the Rockies ahead 7-4.
Urias was charged with six runs and seven hits in four-plus innings.
"He was getting behind and really didn't have anything to go to or command of anything," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
After Yasiel Puig tied it at 3 in the second inning when he hit his seventh homer of the year, a solo shot, the Dodgers went ahead 4-3 in the third on Yasmani Grandal's single. The hit put runners at the corners, but second baseman DJ LeMahieu saved a run when he made a diving stab of Chase Utley's liner and doubled Grandal off first base.
In the eighth, Jake McGee relieved Adam Ottavino with runners on first and second and no outs. McGee retired the first two batters he faced, but Justin Turner floated a run-scoring single into center to make it 7-5 and put runners on the corners. That brought up Cody Bellinger, who homered off McGee on Friday.
Bellinger made it a one-run game when he lined an opposite-field single to left. However, McGee stranded runners at first and third by getting Grandal to ground out. Valaika then connected off Hatcher to give Holland more breathing room.
"Pat has been given an opportunity here this week and he's responded," Black said. "Does it surprise me? No. This guy's a good player. This guy has a good heartbeat. He"s got a competitive head on his shoulders. He's a clear thinker, doesn't rattle. Gives you good at-bats."
NOTES: The Rockies are scheduled to play 22 of their next 29 games on the road, beginning Tuesday at Minnesota. ... Rockies C Tony Wolters (concussion) completed a three-game rehab assignment with Triple-A Albuquerque at Nashville, going 1-for-4 and catching the entire game. He is scheduled to be reinstated Tuesday. ... Dodgers RHP Brandon McCarthy (dislocated left shoulder) will be reinstated Monday for a start at San Francisco. ... Dodgers LHP Rich Hill (blister left middle finger) will be reinstated Tuesday and will start against the Giants.