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Rox edge Padres in Anderson's superb debut

June 12, 2016

DENVER -- Tyler Anderson twirled a gem in his Major League debut and Mark Reynolds homered to lead the Rockies to a 2-1 rubber-match win over the Padres on Sunday at Coors Field.Anderson, the Rockies' 2011 first-round Draft pick, held the Padres to six hits over 6 1/3 innings, striking

DENVER -- Tyler Anderson twirled a gem in his Major League debut and Mark Reynolds homered to lead the Rockies to a 2-1 rubber-match win over the Padres on Sunday at Coors Field.
Anderson, the Rockies' 2011 first-round Draft pick, held the Padres to six hits over 6 1/3 innings, striking out six. San Diego's only run came after Alexei Ramirez's seventh-inning leadoff double. Jon Jay singled Ramirez home off reliever Gonzalez Germen, who held the Padres to two hits to earn a win.
"That was Tyler Anderson's day," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "To step up like that, talk about a tough assignment. Come in here and pitching like, that's big-time stuff. He pounded in the zone, I don't think he walked a guy, and the changeup was a difference-maker. The fastball-changeup combination mixed in with the cutter, he had all his weapons working. Great command. What a debut."
Padres starter Christian Friedrich, another Rockies first-rounder in 2008, struck out nine and sprinkled two hits over six frames. His bases-loaded walk of Ryan Raburn pushed across an unearned run. But on the first pitch the Rockies saw from a pitcher other than Friedrich, Reynolds stroked a home run to right field off Kevin Quackenbush.

"I was playing too cute with [Nolan] Arenado," Friedrich said of his walk that loaded the bases in the sixth. "Then I couldn't really find that slot to get back into it. Definitely wasn't happy about that [walk to Raburn]. The other guy's throwing up zeros, and doing a [great] job. I have to try to keep them off the board."
This was the Rockies' first series win of the season against the Padres after dropping their first three. They have now won two straight series overall after dropping the previous six.
Escaping trouble:
 Anderson only allowed two of seven leadoff batters to reach base, and the first one spelled trouble. After Ramirez reached on an infield single that Trevor Story caught diving to his right, he advanced another base when Anderson balked attempting to pick him off. However, Anderson got out of the jam, inducing a flyout to left and a groundout before striking out Friedrich to end the inning.
"Once it comes down to runners on and getting in a scoring situation, it becomes more important that you really focus on executing because that's the time you can start not trusting and you can get away and try to overthrow things," Anderson said. "But [catcher Nick] Hundley came out and talked a little bit and just, you know, 'Trust what you do and really focus on executing.'" More >
Friedrich strikes: In the midst of recording 15 consecutive outs from the first through sixth innings, Friedrich was never sharper than when he faced the middle of the Rockies order in the fourth inning. Facing Nolan Arenado, Carlos Gonzalez, and Raburn -- who combined had 38 home runs and 101 RBIs -- Friedrich summoned his best stuff and struck out the side on 14 pitches, getting the heart of the order swinging with a curve, a slider, and a two-seam fastball, respectively.
"We went up and down a few times," Friedrich said of his approach in the inning. "The pitch I got [Arenado] on was a back-up slider. If it did what it was supposed to do, who knows what would have happened. It was definitely a fun inning. It's always fun when the ball doesn't leave, just between me and the catcher." More >

Patience pays off: The Rockies weren't able to get much going offensively against their former teammate Friedrich, but they finally broke the scoreless tie in the sixth inning. Charlie Blackmon led off the inning with an infield single, DJ LeMahieu reached on an error by Ramirez, and Arenado worked a four-pitch walk. Raburn brought in the first run of the game on Friedrich's third and final walk of the game, the sole blemish on an otherwise stellar outing.
"He did a good job, man," Raburn said of Friedrich. "He kept us at bay, and we really didn't have many good at-bats against him, but right there I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit and make him throw one over the plate. I was able to work the walk there and put us on the board, so you take whatever you can get."

Big little inning: The one run scored off Friedrich was indicative of his dominance on the day. Seven batters came to the plate, and not one hit the ball out of the infield. The rally consisted of an infield single to shortstop Ramirez, then a tailor-made double-play grounder that went through Ramirez' legs for an error that put runners on first and third and set up the pair of walks to Arenado and Raburn, bookending a bases-loaded strikeout of Gonzalez. The inning ended with Friedrich striking out Story, the last batter he would face.
"The Arenado walk in that inning was a very intelligent walk, living outside the zone, trying to get him to chase," Green said. "And then punching out CarGo. I'd much rather go after Rayburn in that situation than Arenado. He handled that whole thing perfectly.
"He deserved to be out of that sixth inning with a double-play ball we didn't pick up for him. If he'd had that picked up for him, he's probably realistically pitching into the eighth, the way he threw the ball today. He was unbelievable."

"We've thought highly of this kid for a long time. The way he handles himself, he thinks at a different level. He always has. He prepares at a different level. All of that stuff is paying off." -- Weiss, on Anderson
"I don't know if it's on purpose, but every once in a while it will cut. It's like the old backup slider that everyone seems to swing and miss at that guys throw. Every once in a while, it looks like maybe they're right on it, and they thought they were going to be right on it, and it cuts and surprises everybody." -- Anderson, on his changeup
"The right direction is winning baseball games. You play plenty of close baseball games all season long. We were just fighting out there, trying to get the big hit. You looked up and you had [Derek] Norris hit that ball in right-center and you think it's going to clear his head and Charlie Blackmon makes a great catch. Some things didn't go our way. You're not going in the right direction unless you get over the hump." -- Green, on his team's 1-20 record in series finales and 0-10 record on Sundays
Who says you can't pitch at Coors Field? Anderson and Friedrich were both former first-round Draft picks for the Rockies, in 2011 and 2008, respectively. They joined Colorado's starter from Friday night, Jon Gray (2013) for a showcase of first-round picks pitching in the weekend series. The three combined for an 0.93 ERA, They pitched a total of 19 1/3 innings and allowed five runs (two earned) on 12 hits and three walks while striking out 22 and throwing 285 pitches.
The Rockies have decided to skip lefty Chris Rusin's next start, which would have been Friday at Miami. Gray is listed instead. Rusin was more sore than usual after he held the Dodgers to three hits in six scoreless innings in a 1-0 victory Wednesday night, and is being evaluated.
Padres: The Padres return home for a seven-game homestand that starts Monday at 7:10 p.m. PT as they take on the Marlins. Colin Rea (3-2, 4.74) climbs the hill for San Diego. Rea pitched seven strong innings in a game the Padres went on to win against Atlanta Tuesday. He allowed three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out five, needing only 90 pitches to spare the 'pen.
Rockies: Making his first start since being demoted to the bullpen nearly three weeks ago, Jorge De La Rosa will face the Yankees on Tuesday at 6:40 p.m. MT. De La Rosa has been excellent in three relief appearances, owning a 1.13 ERA and 0.38 WHIP, including four perfect innings with five strikeouts in his last outing. However, he has struggled as a starter this season with a 11.41 ERA over six starts.
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Owen Perkins is a contributor to and covered the Padres on Saturday.

Ben Weinrib is a reporter for based in Denver.