De La Rosa's gem lifts Rockies over Cards
DENVER -- After a 14-run, 24-hit affair in the series opener Monday night, Coors Field served up an old-school pitcher's duel on Tuesday night, with Colorado coming away with a 4-3 win over the Cardinals.
The game got underway after a one-hour, seven minute rain delay, and the starting pitchers combined for 18 strikeouts, hurling scoreless ball for four innings and knotting it at 2-2 after six. The Rockies finally touched Cardinals starter Michael Wacha with a pair of runs in the sixth and chased him with two more in the seventh. Colorado took the series and set up a potential sweep.
"It was tough to string hits together tonight off of Wacha, but we got some big hits when we needed to," said Colorado manager Walt Weiss, whose Rockies are out of last place for the first time since May 3.
DJ LeMahieu broke a 2-2 tie with a two-out, run-scoring double in the seventh, his third hit of the day. Carlos Gonzalez followed with an RBI single to give the Rockies a 4-2 lead, which loomed large after Peter Bourjos cranked a solo homer off Boone Logan in the eighth.
Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa (3-2) retired 12 of the first 14 batters and didn't surrender a hit until the fifth. He gave up just two runs and three hits over seven frames -- his only blemishes coming on a fifth-inning RBI single from Bourjos and a sixth-inning solo homer from Jhonny Peralta.
Wacha (8-2) gave up four runs over 6 2/3 innings, matching his career high of 10 strikeouts. He lost for the first time in seven road starts this season, and his nine hits were the most he's allowed since the last time he pitched at Coors Field on Sept. 19, 2013.
"I was keeping it down in the zone, where I needed it to be, and I got a lot of swing-and-misses on it," Wacha said of his changeup. "It's probably not the certain pitch, it's the location of the pitch in this ballpark. You have to keep the ball down in this ballpark. I wasn't able to do that with the [Nolan] Arenado pitch [resulting in a sixth inning game-tying two-run homer]. It was supposed to be down and away."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Nifty Nolan: With a man on first and one out in the second, Randal Grichuk popped one up in shallow left field. But Arenado took off with his back facing the infield and ran down the ball with a over-the-shoulder basket catch. Arenado then fired back to first and nearly doubled up first baseman Mark Reynolds.
Small ball: The Redbirds struck first in what was a taut pitcher's duel, pushing a run across in the fifth frame. Grichuk singled to left and advanced on a wild pitch. Jon Jay, playing left field for the injured Matt Holliday, followed with a 6-5-4-1 fielder's choice that eliminated Grichuk from the basepaths, but left Jay at second with one out. Bourjos plated him with a single up the middle for the game's first run.
"I was just trying to drive him in and not do too much," Bourjos said. "I tried to keep it simple up there, since he was obviously throwing a lot of cutters down and in to the righty."
No relief: After seven dominant innings from De La Rosa, the Cards got to Logan instantly as Bourjos rocketed the first pitch Logan threw into the center field seats to pull the Cards within one. Logan then walked a man and hit a batter before recording an out and yielding the mound to Scott Oberg.
"I don't think I ever faced him, I've just seen him from watching video," Bourjos said. "I was just trying to get something out and over that I could hit."
Lord Oberg to the rescue: Logan left a first-and-second, one-out mess for Oberg. He struck out Peralta but then issued a walk to cleanup man Reynolds, which loaded the bases and put the go-ahead run in scoring position for Yadier Molina. But Oberg got ahead of Molina and then threw him an 84-mph slider, which turned into a harmless flyout to center fielder Charlie Blackmon.
"We had the winning run on base, and in this park that's just a ball in the gap away from us taking the lead," Matheny said. "We've got guys that can do that. It just didn't happen."
"It feels really good to be tied with Aaron Cook. He was a really good pitcher for this franchise, and I'm glad to be there." -- De La Rosa on tying Cook Tuesday for most wins in Rockies history (72)
"There's times when it comes pretty easily, and other times when you have to figure out how to make it work. Right now we're just trying to figure out how to make it work." -- Matheny on the Cardinals offensive struggles
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Rockies' win was just their 10th over the Cardinals in the last 32 meetings and signaled Colorado's first series victory over St. Louis since July 6-8, 2010.
The Rockies' eighth-inning rally was cut short by a Cardinals double play with Michael McKenry at the plate and Ben Paulsen on first. Reliever Matt Belisle struck out McKenry and catcher Molina rifled the ball to Reynolds at first, catching Paulsen before he could get back to the bag safely. The Rockies called for a replay, and though it appeared to show Paulsen beating the throw back to the base, there was not a conclusive angle that showed him touching the bag before Reynolds swiped him with a tag. The review confirmed the call, clearing the bases and giving the Rockies two outs. Belisle followed with another strikeout to end the inning.
Cardinals: Carlos Martinez (6-2, 2.94 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Cards Wednesday. Martinez is fresh of a 21 1/3-inning scoreless streak, spanning three starts from May 20-31. He has a three-game winning streak going, capped by a career-best 11 strikeouts in seven innings against the Dodgers Friday. He has faced Colorado four times in relief, allowing seven runs in 4 1/3 innings.
Rockies: Chad Bettis gets the nod in Wednesday afternoon's series finale, and he'll be pitching on a couple extra days of rest. Bettis is 1-1 with a 7.63 ERA in 13 career day games (four starts), but he was extremely effective in his only other day-game outing this season. Bettis gave up just two runs over 8 1/3 innings in a Sunday-afternoon win over the Giants last month.
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