Chacin cruises in dominant day to deliver series win
Right-hander notches 26 outs before giving up a run, departing
DENVER -- Jhoulys Chacin came just an out away from pitching the Rockies' first shutout in nearly two years. But a fly ball off the bat of Jimmy Rollins dropped in over the head of right fielder Michael Cuddyer, scoring the first of the Phillies' two ninth-inning runs in a 5-2 victory for the Rockies at Coors Field on Sunday afternoon.
Cuddyer admitted a recent rib injury kept him from trying to make a miraculous grab. But Cuddyer said even at full health, he's not sure he could have made the catch and preserved a historic day for Chacin.
"I was pretty close, but I'll be honest with you. With my ribs, I got scared, scared of the wall," Cuddyer said. "No question about it."
After the Rockies scored 17 runs and raked 31 hits in the first two games of the series, the rubber match of the series turned to the mound -- and Chacin stole the show. He surrendered only six hits, not walking a single batter. He dominated not by overpowering -- he finished with only three strikeouts -- but subsisted on efficiency.
After Rollins' double, Ryan Howard singled for the Phillies' only other run. That convinced Rockies manager Walt Weiss to reluctantly pull the plug on Chacin, who needed just 86 pitches to get through 8 2/3.
"I was pulling for a complete game as much as anybody, believe me," Weiss said.
Chacin still walked off to a standing ovation from the announced Coors Field crowd of 45,186, tipping his cap to the crowd as he stepped into the dugout after the longest outing for a Rockies pitcher this year. Closer Rex Brothers needed only four pitches to strike out the final batter and secure his third save.
"I was really pumped up," Chacin said of his emotions heading into the ninth. "I wanted to finish the inning, and I remember last time pitching in the ninth was like 2011. … But it's nice to win and give the fans this last game before we're gone for a little bit."
The Father's Day victory handed the Rockies the series win, their first over Philadelphia in almost six years, and gave them an even 5-5 record on their 11-day homestand. The Rockies' second straight win armed them with some much-needed momentum ahead of a nine-game road trip, which includes two Interleague matchups, starting Monday in Toronto.
Chacin threw more than 80 percent of his pitches for strikes, an incredible ratio, using his fastball to land first-pitch strikes. As the game progressed, Chacin said, he mixed in sliders and changeups to keep the Philadelphia's sluggers off-balance.
"What he was doing wasn't hard to figure out," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He was throwing first-pitch strikes. He was getting ahead of us and then we were chasing balls out of the strike zone. That's how you pitch when you don't have 95 or 94."
Nearly matching Chacin pitch-for-pitch for much of the game was the Phillies' Cole Hamels. Hamels used a mid-90s fastball, along with a cutter, sinker and changeup, to limit Colorado to two hits through six innings.
"His changeup is absolutely great," said left fielder Carlos Gonzalez, who finished 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs. "I think it's one of the best changeups in the league, and it's hard to pick it up. All you got to do against guys like that is just, of course, have an ace pitching for you, too. And Chacin, he stepped it up."
Staked to a one-run lead on Wilin Rosario's homer in the second, the Rockies showed more life in the seventh after being limited through the first six innings. It started when Philadelphia second baseman Kevin Frandsen bobbled a hard-hit ball from Gonzalez and allowed him to reach first safely on a single. Cuddyer then snuck a double into the right-field gap before Jordan Pacheco made it 2-0 with a soft grounder to score Gonzalez.
Nolan Arenado, a star in Saturday's win, doubled into center with two outs to give the Rockies a 3-0 lead.
Hamels stranded Arenado at third and survived the inning, allowing six hits, three earned runs, two walks and striking out seven in seven innings.
Rosario sent the first pitch of the bottom of the second -- a 91-mph fastball from Hamels -- several rows into the left-field bleachers. Rosario's bat continues to heat up, as he had his first three-extra-base hit game Saturday with two doubles and a triple.
Gonzalez put the Rockies' final two runs on the board in the eighth, blasting a two-run homer 402 feet into the home bullpen off Phillies right-hander Justin De Fratus.