Bettis flirts with perfecto, then no-no in Rox's win
PHILADELPHIA -- Rockies right-handed pitcher Chad Bettis took a perfect game into the seventh and no-hitter into the eighth as the Rockies defeated the Phillies, 4-1, at Citizens Bank Park on Friday.
Bettis (2-0), who took a shutout into the ninth inning Sunday, but gave up two runs in a win over the Giants was even more special Friday -- allowing two hits in eight scoreless innings, with seven strikeouts. For a while, he was bidding to join ex-Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez as the only Rockies members of the no-hit club. Jimenez threw his on the road against the Braves on April 17, 2010. Bettis finished with 66 strikes in 104 pitches.
Bettis faced the Phillies on May 19, gave up three runs in six innings, and didn't figure in the decision.
"There were some at-bats that when I did pitch against the Phillies the first time that I wanted to do differently, and [Nick Hundley] and I accomplished that tonight," Bettis said.
But with one out in the eighth, Phillies left fielder Cody Asche rolled a single through the shortstop hole, which was vacated in an infield shifted to the right.
"I'm the one that aligns the defense, and sure there were thoughts going through my mind," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "But you can't go down that road. We stole some outs with the shift tonight, too."
Carlos Ruiz singled with two down. Weiss, who had relievers Boone Logan and Rafael Betancourt warm, visited the mound, but let Bettis finish as he fanned pinch-hitter Darin Ruf on a check-swing.
"I told him with two outs in the eighth, 'You need to empty the tank right here,'" Weiss said. "That's what he did."
Bettis had a perfect game until shortstop Troy Tulowitzki ranged to the middle for a grounder from speedy Ben Revere but had the ball kick off the heel of his glove. The play was close, but it was ruled an error. But Tulowitzki had a four-hit night and was responsible for Bettis' lead, thanks to his solo homers in the first and third innings off Phillies starter Cole Hamels (5-4), whom the Rockies barely touched otherwise in eight innings. The Rockies opened the lead on Ben Paulsen's two-run homer off Luis Garcia in the ninth.
Hamels fanned nine and held the Rockies to five hits. The Phillies nearly suffered their second straight shutout, but left fielder Brandon Barnes dropped a Chase Utley fly ball against the wall and Revere scored from second. Revere had reached on a strikeout-wild pitch with John Axford on the Rockies' mound.
"[Bettis'] off-speed stuff and his changeup I think was exceptional tonight compared to 10 days ago," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "I think he obviously pitched better tonight. We just saw him basically last week and that makes it a little bit surprising, but I thought his off-speed stuff in fastball counts really seemed to bother us."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Wall ball: Bettis had been on base in the top of the fifth, courtesy of a Hamels walk. The first batter in the bottom of the inning, Ryan Howard, skied one just left of center, but Barnes, who started in center, chased it down and caught it against the fence. It was one of at least three balls Barnes had to show range to catch.
Over-the-wall ball: Tulowitzki had gone 91 at-bats -- 96 plate appearances -- between his last homer, on April 25 off the Giants' Tim Hudson, and his first at-bat against Hamels on Friday. He took Hamels deep again in the third.
"Cole's a great pitcher, one of the best in the game, so to get an early lead was great," Tulowitzki said. More >
Glove save: Tulowitzki's error on seventh-inning leadoff man Revere's grounder to the middle ended Bettis' perfect game bid. But Charlie Blackmon -- inserted that inning so Barnes could move to left defensively -- made a sliding grab of a Freddy Galvis liner to keep the no-hit bid alive temporarily.
Hamels hammered deep: Early in the season, Hamels was a frequent victim of the long ball. The lefty gave up seven home runs in his first 18 innings this season, but coming into Friday's start, he had only allowed one since and none in his last 34 1/3 innings pitched. That changed in the first inning with Tulowitzki's first homer. Hamels had previously dominated Tulowitzki over his career, as before Friday's contest the shortstop was just 2-for-16 versus Hamels. More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Before Friday's special outing, Bettis was 0-3 with a 4.82 ERA in 17 career games, including six starts, away from Coors Field.
Sandberg was ejected in the top of the ninth inning by home-plate umpire Angel Hernandez. Sandberg was arguing a called ball on a pitch thrown by Garcia that he believed to be strike three to Nolan Arenado. The questionable nature of Arenado's check swing, or lack thereof, came because Ruf, pinch-hitting for Hamels, was rung up on a questionable check-swing to end the previous inning. Sandberg could be seen asking Hernandez, "What was the difference?," before leaving the field.
"I thought it was the same exact type of a check swing, same situation, in the top of the eighth," Sandberg said. "It was a chance for us to come back and it looked like an identical call to me. In my opinion, the umpires down the lines have the better view. I know that they have the right as the home-plate umpire to make the calls, but it just seemed both of them went against us."
Rockies: Jorge De La Rosa starts for the Rockies on Saturday at 3:05 p.m. ET/1:05 p.m. MT. He was scratched from his last scheduled start due to a cut on his throwing hand that was aggravated when he last pitched against the Phillies two weeks ago. De La Rosa comes into Saturday's game with a 1-2 record and a 6.51 ERA.
Phillies: Aaron Harang will take the mound for the Phillies starting against the Rockies for the second time in three starts. Harang has been stellar at Citizens Bank Park this season, as the 6-foot-7 right-hander is 2-1 with a 0.61 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 29.1 innings pitched.
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