Kendrick picks up elusive first win at Coors
DENVER -- Rain arrived at the right time for Rockies starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick on Tuesday night. The D-backs had hit consecutive homers in the second inning to add to Kendrick's rising total yielded, and Colorado trailed by two when the grounds crew rolled out the tarp in the third.
When play resumed after 38 minutes, Kendrick pitched much better. Yes, he yielded another homer to bring his total to a Major League-most 21, but he held the damage to four runs over six innings for his first Coors Field win,a 10-5 Rockies victory.
"I felt more loose, I don't know what it was, but I felt better after the delay," Kendrick said. "My velocity was better. My stuff was better. I would've liked to have pitched deeper. I know my pitch count was pretty low, but the rain delay was long.
"I always want more. I always want to be better. But the 'W' is the main thing."
That elusive first win happened seven home starts in -- way later than he or the Rockies would've liked. But in a sense, Tuesday's homer-filled game was a fitting way for Kendrick (3-9) to win at Coors.
Kendrick yielded three -- a two-run shot to Welington Castillo and, immediately thereafter, a solo shot to Nick Ahmed in the second; and a solo shot to A.J. Pollock in the fifth. The D-backs had eight total hits, but the homers were their only runs. Kendrick held on until his teammates broke out for five homers -- two by Nolan Arenado.
"Shoot, the other guy [the D-backs' Chase Anderson] didn't make it past five," Kendrick said. "You've got to battle. That's where I'm at with it. You've got to outpitch the other guy, and hopefully our offense scores more than theirs.
"I'm never going to give up. I'll tell you that. Keep making your pitches, have a short memory."
If anything, Kendrick can withstand giving up homers. He yielded 20 or more in four of his seasons with the Phillies, before signing for one year and $5.5 million with the Rockies during the winter. For a guy who was already homer-prone, signing with the Rockies struck even his friends as curious. Kendrick pitched in tight Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, but even he admits the atmosphere in Denver was more homer-friendly than he thought.
"It's not just that the ball flies, it's the way the ball moves," Kendrick said. "A sinker doesn't sink as much here. Sometimes your changeups cut. That's just the way it is.
"Today was one of my better days of my sinker moving here. It was pretty good. I still had some balls that cut."
Kendrick threw 49 fastballs, mostly sinkers, seven cut fastballs and five breaking balls. His key, though was a changeup he used 21 times. The changeup hits on his arm side, inside to right-handed hitters, while all his other pitches go the other way. But when the change isn't working, it can become a souvenir.
"I was proud of 'K.K.,' they hit a few longballs on him, but he hung in there, and the rain delay made it even tougher, but he did exactly what we needed him to do," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.