Arenado, Butler deliver as Rockies top Phillies
PHILADELPHIA -- Eddie Butler may not have expected to start Saturday, but his performance proved he was ready.
Thanks in large part to the efficient work of Butler, who was a last-minute substitution for scheduled starter Jorge De La Rosa, the Rockies continued their winning ways Saturday, defeating the Phillies 5-2.
Butler settled down after allowing a run in the first inning and hurled five shutout innings to finish what was statistically his most effective start of the season. He needed just 78 pitches to dispatch the Phillies in a six-inning, four-hit, one-run performance that brought the rookie to 3-5 and dropped his ERA from 4.60 to 4.22.
"I attacked the zone, got early contact and let the guys make some plays," said Butler, who accumulated 11 outs on grounders, including one double play.
The Rockies homered three times for the second straight game, scoring their first three runs via home runs from Nolan Arenado, Michael McKenry and Ben Paulsen. The team has won six of its last seven and seven of 10. Colorado also clinched its first regular-season series win at Citizens Bank since Aug. 9-12, 2004.
"When you hit the ball out of the park and get good starting pitching, usually you're in good shape," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.
For the Phillies, the loss extended their losing streak to six games for the second time this season. The team is now a season-high 13 games below .500. Starting pitcher Aaron Harang threw six quality innings, only allowing two runs on four hits and striking out seven, but his offense was unable to back him up after the first inning.
"That was a quality start for Harang," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "Threw 109 pitches and gave up two runs. He pitched well with men on base. We struggled out of the bullpen with command and leaving pitches up in the zone and gave some runs up. On the offensive side of things we had men left on base and couldn't get the big hit."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Not even Harang can keep them in the park: After scoring all of their runs on homers in a 4-1 victory Friday night, the Rockies went deep twice in the second against the usually homer-stingy Harang. Arenado parked his 11th homer of the year and McKenry hit his third. McKenry is hitting .367 with three homers and eight RBIs in 30 career at-bats at Citizens Bank Park. Harang had given up just two homers in his 10 previous games.
"When things aren't going right, it's just tough," Harang said. "It's tough because I thought I made two good pitches there. I went back and looked at them. They were down. They were able to stay through it and get a pretty good bat on it." More >
Overcoming Howard: The last time he faced Butler, Ryan Howard hit a mislocated curve for a prodigious homer, and he doubled in a first-inning run Saturday. But with two on and two out in the third, Butler challenged Howard with three fastballs in the strike zone. The last was a hard grounder to shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, already shifted behind second base.
Aching eighth innings: Just one day after the Phillies stranded runners on first and third down two runs in the eighth inning, the team found itself in nearly the same scenario and came up with same result. Saturday the Phillies trailed the Rockies by three runs with runners on first and second and one out in the eighth but came out of the situation empty thanks to a Howard strikeout and a Maikel Franco groundout.
"For a stretch there a couple of weeks ago, we were getting the big hit and the timely hit and we had a winning streak, and we blanked out in this cold streak with men on base," Sandberg said. "It's keep knocking at the door, keep having runners out there and somebody needs to come up with the big hit." More >
Extra! Extra! On Friday night with the Rockies holding a 2-0 lead, Paulsen homered for two runs off Phillies reliever Luis Garcia in the ninth. On Saturday, Paulsen homered again off Garcia to lead off the seventh. More >
"When 'Raffy' walks a hitter, we tend to think something's wrong." -- Weiss on reliever Rafael Betancourt, who gave up a Cesar Hernandez home run and a walk in the eighth before leaving with what the team called flu-like symptoms.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Butler's performance left the Rockies' rotation 5-0 with a 2.55 ERA in the last seven games, with 26 strikeouts and 10 walks.
In the top of the seventh inning, Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis made a no-look flip behind his back to Chase Utley on a sliding stop to force Rafael Ynoa out at second base. Utley collected the ball cleanly and threw to Howard, who was unable to make the catch to execute the double play. Galvis' play was met with cheers across the stadium and multiple replays on the Phillies video board.
With two out in the eighth, the Phillies' Jeff Francoeur launched a fly ball to deep left against Rockies reliever Scott Oberg. A fan reached over the wall with his glove but failed to make the catch. Francoeur was awarded a double, and an umpire crew chief check of the replay confirmed the call.
Rockies: Rockies right-hander Jordan Lyles (2-5, 5.10 ERA) left his last start with a sprained left big toe, but is in line to start Sunday at 1:35 p.m. ET against the Phillies and righty Jerome Williams (3-4, 5.33).
Phillies: Williams will make the start for the Phillies Sunday. Williams is tied with Arizona pitcher Josh Collmenter for the National League lead in hits allowed with 70 this season. This will be the right-hander's last start of a rough May where he has allowed 22 runs in 30 1/3 innings for an ERA of 6.53.
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