Tulo has epic night with five RBIs, three-run homer
Rockies score 12 to support strong outing from Chatwood
DENVER -- Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki had never faced young Phillies starter Jonathan Pettibone before Friday night. So Tulowitzki turned his first plate appearance into a 14-pitch get-to-know you session.
The next time up was short and sweet. Tulowitzki blasted the second pitch for a 432-foot, three-run homer to the deepest reaches of right-center field for the biggest swing of his three-hit, five-RBI night in a 12-1 victory at Coors Field in front of 35,705.
"I hit that ball about as well as I could hit a ball," Tulowitzki said.
Right-handed pitcher Tyler Chatwood (1-0) held the Phillies hitless until two were out in the fifth and gave up one unearned run on two hits and one walk, while striking out six and forcing 14 groundball outs in seven innings. Drew Stubbs, in his best game of the season, and Charlie Blackmon added three hits apiece as the Rockies.
But Tulowitzki, who lifted his batting average 41 points to .360, was the key reason the Rockies pulled to .500 (9-9). Tulowitzki's power was part of an 18-hit Rockies night in the opener of a three-game series and six-game homestand. This came after the Rockies went 3-4 on a road trip to San Francisco and San Diego that featured five one-run and two two-run decisions.
"He had a big night, Tulo did," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "He had the big home run. He had the great at-bat."
It touched off a night when every starting position player had at least one hit.
"We show up today and score seven runs in the first two innings, and it gave our pitchers a chance to go out there and do their thing," the Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez said.
Tulowitzki's 14-pitch plate appearance, which resulted in a walk to load the bases and set up a four-run inning, was the longest of his career. Justin Morneau doubled in two runs, Wilin Rosario added a run scoring fielder's choice, and Nolan Arenado singled in a run for a 4-0 lead.
The homer, Tulowitzki's second of the season, made it 7-0. It came after Pettibone went 3-0 to Gonzalez then put him on base intentionally. Tulowitzki added an RBI double off Pettibone (0-1) in the fourth inning and an RBI single off Mario Hollands in the sixth.
But it all stemmed from the first impression Tulowitzki gained his first time at the plate.
"More than anything, that at-bat set up my day," he said. "I saw so many pitches from him that I knew everything he had. It helped my second and third at-bat.
"If you look back at that at-bat, and he would say the same, he made good pitches that I fouled off, and he made bad pitches that I fouled off. It was a little bit of both."
Pettibone, who was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley after the game with Cole Hamels about to return from biceps tendinitis, gave up eight runs in four innings. Just 21 starts into his Major League career, he can call Coors a place he dislikes. He also started there last June 15. Now he is 0-2 with an 18.00 ERA and a .514 Rockies batting average.
Pettibone said it's more "just making pitches" than the park. He couldn't make a pitch good enough to Tulowitzki.
"I mean, I literally threw everything I could at that point," Pettibone said of the first-inning walk. "At the same time I didn't want to give in. That was a big situation, first and second, one out. I didn't want to walk him or give him something to drive.
"I just kept battling and battling. I tip my hat to him. He's a heck of a hitter and he did his job today."
Chatwood (1-0) attacked with his fastball low in the zone and watched the Phillies beat the ball into the grass. After missing his first two turns with a left hamstring injury, Chatwood -- who worked quickly and well, in concert with catcher Rosario -- threw 88 pitches before Weiss removed him.
"The first inning, it [the fastball] was kind of running a little too much arm-side, but once I saw that I was able to control the ball more," Chatwood said.
He controlled Phillies bats even better.
"When I see his fastball down and I see the hitters pounding it into the ground, that's when you know it's probably going to be a good night for him," Weiss said.
The hitting was welcome after the road trip to parks favorable to pitchers.
Stubbs, who played because Michael Cuddyer is nursing a lower left hamstring that cramped on him Thursday in San Diego, had played sporadically in the season's first 2 1/2 weeks. Friday, he showed glimpses of the player the Rockies expected when they acquired him in an offseason trade from Cleveland.
"The key is to stay patient," Stubbs said. "This is such a long season, you can't let the first couple weeks of the season put you in a rut. You have to realize you're going to get your opportunities."