Wheeler homers, relief trio steps up vs. Tribe
Prospect has third blast as three scoreless innings follow De La Rosa's start
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Indians bested Rockies Opening Day starter Jorge De La Rosa for nine hits and five runs in three innings of a 14-3 victory on Friday at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in front of a sellout crowd of 12,603.
The hitting didn't stop after De La Rosa left. The Indians, who started a lineup mostly of regulars, finished with 16 hits. Michael Brantley was 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs, and Elliot Johnson had a double among his two hits. For the most part, the Indians patiently knocked pitches over the plate for hard singles.
De La Rosa, who will make one more Spring Training start before the regular-season opener March 31 at Miami, said he would find his form. The performance left him with an 8.44 Cactus League ERA.
"Everything was bad today," he said. "My fastball location was really bad. I threw a couple breaking [balls] up, and they hit them good."
Indians right-hander Justin Masterson, who at Oakland on March 31 will make his third Opening Day start, struck out six in six innings and held the Rockies to two runs and five hits.
"I felt OK," Masterson said. "I didn't really have the best fluidity within my motion and everything. I was just kind of fighting myself a little bit, but we were still able to be in the zone with some sinkers here and there and some four-seamers. I didn't necessarily feel the most comfortable today, but it worked out pretty well."
The outing came a day after talks on a multi-year contract with the Indians did not yield a deal, so they're off for now. Masterson is eligible to be a free agent at season's end.
"It's just for right now," he said. "There's still time. The season doesn't end hopefully until the World Series is over. Although we talked, while it's not going to be probably talked about within the next few months or something, there's still always potential to make something happen.
"Even though it didn't happen right now, I'm not overly disappointed. It's kind of like, 'All right, we'll just push it back a little bit.' We'll go out and slice and dice and have some fun."
The Indians also touched Rockies lefty Rex Brothers, who hadn't given up a run all spring, for four runs on two hits, two walks and a hit batsman in the sixth inning.
But Rockies righty Chad Bettis, a hard-throwing prospect making a bid to break with the big league club, pitched a scoreless seventh with a strikeout and a double-play grounder. Bettis has had seven scoreless outings this spring.
Tommy Kahnle, a Rockies Rule 5 pick from the Yankees, threw a scoreless inning with a strikeout and he has a 1.17 spring ERA. Prospect Bruce Kern added a scoreless ninth for Colorado.
The Rockies' Tim Wheeler hit his third homer of the spring, a seventh-inning solo shot off Chen-Chang Lee. Jordan Pacheco, who served as designated hitter but is trying to lock up the backup catcher role, went 2-for-2 with a double and a walk.
Up next: Righty Jordan Lyles will continue his bid to earn a rotation spot on Saturday afternoon against the Indians at 2:05 p.m. MT in Goodyear, Ariz., on Gameday Audio. At Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, lefty Brett Anderson will try to add to his impressive spring against the Mariners at 2:10 p.m. MT on MLB.TV. Righty reliever Chad Bettis, who has had seven scoreless appearances including one Friday against the Indians, will be among the relievers.