Murphy collects milestones in Rockies' rout
Rookie catcher gets first hit, homer on Saturday
DENVER -- In a game that might otherwise have been a forgettable footnote for two teams fighting for bragging rights to the basement, Rockies catcher Tom Murphy peppered his performance Saturday night with a series of exclamation marks -- getting his first Major League hit and homer, and ushering a young bullpen through 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball to earn the 10-2 win and secure a series victory over San Diego.
Murphy made his big league debut a week ago in Seattle after being called up when starting catcher Nick Hundley went on the 60-day disabled list with a cervical strain. He was 0-for-8 with three strikeouts in three previous games, but his 3-for-5 Saturday night was the kind of turnaround he was looking for.
"That's something I'll never forget for sure," Murphy said of his fifth-inning leadoff homer -- a highlight that quickly eclipsed his first big league hit in the first frame. "He threw me three sliders in a row. The third one -- I sat on it, and he just left it up with 0-2. I thought off the bat it was [going out]. I knew I hit it pretty well."
Murphy's first-inning single to left capped a four-run Rockies rally with his first career RBI.
"After the first hit, I kind of relaxed and got a little more comfortable," Murphy said. "Each game here I get a little more comfortable. I thought my approach the whole time I've been here has been pretty good, but tonight it came together."
He nearly had a second round-tripper in the sixth inning, sending a long fly to the warning track in deep center field before Melvin Upton Jr. snared it with an inning-ending catch.
"I knew I'd just missed it," Murphy said of the long out. "I just hoped all the stories about Colorado air might help me out."
Murphy also lent stability behind the plate in a game that saw four relievers combine for 6 1/3 stellar innings after starter Yohan Flande was hit in the knee by a hard comebacker in the third inning.
"That's an area that can't get overshadowed, the job the bullpen did in coming in tonight in an awkward situation," Murphy said. "You don't ever expect a starter to go out as fast as he did. But [Christian] Bergman came in and did an unbelievable job, getting ready quick, executing in a big situation, second and third, two outs. For that to be your first pitches of the game for a long relief guy is not an easy situation. He did a great job."
The win was the Rockies' 63rd of the season, ensuring they will not hit the 100-loss milestone. The Rockies and Angels are the only MLB teams to have never lost 100 games.
"Ever since I've been here, team morale and the way we go about the game has been very good," Murphy said. "You wouldn't realize from being here that there's a chance for 100 losses. Every day they're talking one day at a time and going out there and doing it."