Missed chances abound in opener vs. Phils
Rox go 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position amid Chacin's solid start
PHILADELPHIA -- A frustrated Troy Tulowitzki tossed his bat toward the Rockies' dugout after a strikeout to end the seventh inning with two aboard. But the bat flipped awkwardly skyward and landed close to Tulowitzki's feet.
It was not so different from the Rockies misfired on offense in Monday evening's 9-0 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in front of 27,289. Intentions were furious and powerful, but results were weak.
Tulowitzki's strikeout on a 3-2 pitch from reliever Mike Adams was one of several unfulfilling at-bats for the Rockies, who went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position while experiencing their second straight shutout.
The Rockies (27-25) dropped to 1-3 on what will be a nine-game road trip and are in a stretch that looks more like the end of last year's last-place finish than the first month of this season, when they looked like surprise National League West challengers. The Rockies are hitting .195 (25-of-128) -- and are 1-for-27 with runners in scoring position -- on this trip, and they will have to turn things around or risk dropping below .500 by the time they return to Coors Field.
"It's just one of those points where things don't go your way," left fielder Carlos Gonzalez said. "It's tough because what hurts the most is I feel like we're not helping the club win ballgames. But that stuff's going to happen. We were swinging the bat well early in the year. Every team goes through adjustments. All we've got to do is just make adjustments, show up tomorrow and execute."
Manager Walt Weiss has used several lineup options throughout the season -- at times because of injury, at times simply because it seemed any lineup he used worked. He said Monday he may look at the options but was not panicking.
"You just keep grinding away," Weiss said. "We've got to look at it as one game here, an ugly one. We shower it off and come back and work on winning the series tomorrow."
The Rockies' offense has looked powerful at Coors Field, though not so much on the road. Often away from home, as in Sunday's 7-0 loss to the Braves, the culprit was strong pitching -- Julio Teheran escaped trouble in the first before giving the Rockies next to nothing.
But on Monday, chances were plentiful in 6 2/3 innings against Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick (1-5), who had lost 10 straight decisions and won for the first time since Aug. 6.
"I don't think it should've been a shutout," Gonzalez said. "We just can't get hits with runners on. We had a couple of opportunities where we should've scored a run. He executed pitches to get out of a jam."
The Rockies put a runner on base in each of the seven frames in which Kendrick pitched, and five times that runner was the leadoff man. But pitches in good locations resulted in popups or weak contact. Kendrick gave up six hits and walked four, yet the Rockies could not score against him.
"I didn't have my best command," Kendrick said. "I had a lot of guys on early and made some pitches when I had to. Just had to battle and keep us close, and our guys swung well."
Charlie Blackmon led off the game with a single but was erased on Michael Cuddyer's line-drive double play. But most of the time the rally-ending at-bats were not that close to hits. In the second, Wilin Rosario grounded into his fourth double play in eight appearances since returning from the disabled list after a bout with the flu.
Blackmon popped up and Cuddyer lined to center after Rockies pitcher Jhoulys Chacin (0-4) drew a one-out walk in the third. Josh Rutledge flied out to center with two on to end the fourth. Kendrick gave up a Tulowitzki single and walked Gonzalez to open the sixth but struck out Rosario and induced a groundout from Justin Morneau and a pop foul from Rutledge.
Chacin, still trying to reach sharpness in his fifth start after missing the first month with a right shoulder strain, was competitive for most of his five-plus innings. He gave up seven hits to a Phillies team that was no-hit by the Dodgers and Josh Beckett on Sunday, struck out five and walked one.
Chacin was down, 2-0, when he began the sixth by yielding a Chase Utley single followed by Ryan Howard's eighth home run this year.
"I didn't execute a good pitch to Howard today or the last two hitters," Chacin said. "My arm feels better, and my pitches were much better today, especially my sinker and slider were better today."
Adams' strikeout of Tulowitzki ended the Rockies' last threat.
"Adams, that was big, real big at the time," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "That was a big spot in the game to put the fire out in that part of the order."
The Phillies expanded the lead against the Rockies' bullpen, which included their ending Rex Brothers' scoreless streak at nine games on John Mayberry Jr.'s two-run, pinch-hit homer.