Phillips a spark as Team USA falls to Rockies
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Taking advantage of pitching that they loaned to Team USA, the Rockies knocked seven straight ninth-inning singles to win a World Baseball Classic exhibition game, 8-7, on Wednesday night at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.
Rockies Minor League catcher Lars Davis, a Canadian, singled off Logan Kensing to drive in the winning run.
"That was the first time I've ever pulled for a pitcher and a hitter at the same time," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.
The Rockies struggled in the early innings, managing just one hit off Team USA pitching and trailing 5-0 before loaner players began appearing in Team USA uniforms. The big ninth occurred against Minor League pitchers Nick Schmidt and Kensing.
Before the late Rockies rally, Team USA's Brandon Phillips went 4-for-4. It was the second of two exhibitions for Team USA, which plays Mexico in the Classic '13 opener on Friday night at Chase Field.
"It was a nice diversion from a typical Spring Training game," Weiss said. "It was a night game -- playing against Team USA. There was a little different feel to the start of that game."
Rockies left-hander Drew Pomeranz, who had not appeared in six days because he needed time to work on his mechanics and was ill, labored for 2 2/3 innings against a loaded lineup and came out of it with just one run charged to him, on three hits and two walks. Pomeranz struck out one.
Phillips doubled off Pomeranz to open the third. Pomeranz left with two out, and David Wright singled off reliever Edgmer Escalona to drive in the game's first run.
"I feel bad showering and leaving after three innings," Pomeranz said. "It feels like a real game, kind of. I threw some good pitches and they were fouling them off. They were tough. Of course, they're going to be tough."
Team USA would score four times and knock eight hits in three innings against Chris Volstad, a non-roster candidate for the Rockies' rotation. Phillips had an RBI single in the fourth, and Adam Jones added an RBI single and Jonathan Lucroy doubled in two runs in the fifth. Just one of the runs off Volstad was earned because of a fifth-inning throwing error by first baseman Tyler Colvin.
The Rockies' lineup included expected regulars Dexter Fowler, Troy Tulowitzki and Michael Cuddyer, as well as hot-hitting prospect Nolan Arenado. Yet they managed just one hit against Team USA relievers David Hernandez, Vinny Pestano, Jeremy Affeldt and Craig Kimbrell, who threw the first four innings. The Rockies' Jonathan Herrera ended the shutout bid with a run-scoring single in the fifth, after Jordan Pacheco had doubled off Jeff Manship, a Rockies non-roster pitcher who was used by Team USA.
Team USA manager Joe Torre was satisfied with his team's effort.
"We got what we wanted," Torre said. "We all pitched well. The spirit is good. We'll have a good workout tomorrow and get ready for the real action."