SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies right-hander Chad Bettis celebrated Wednesday's one-year anniversary of his final testicular cancer treatment with a quiet dinner with his wife, Kristina. He extended the celebration Thursday by doing what he does best -- and, actually, doing just a little more.Bettis held the Giants to three runs
SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies right-hander Chad Bettis celebrated Wednesday's one-year anniversary of his final testicular cancer treatment with a quiet dinner with his wife, Kristina. He extended the celebration Thursday by doing what he does best -- and, actually, doing just a little more.
Bettis held the Giants to three runs and five hits in six innings -- and was one pitch away from even better results -- and even drove in a run. He didn't figure in the decision, but he was able to celebrate Colorado's 5-3 victory in 12 innings at AT&T Park.
"It's unbelievable, just from all the guys in our clubhouse that have been with me for a whole year now, every step of the way," Bettis said. "From being diagnosed twice to being on the other side of it now, it means a lot to me of how tight-knit of a group we really are.
"There are a lot of relationships I have developed -- not because of what I've gone through, but how strong they were, and being able to lean on them."
Bettis was diagnosed with the disease on Nov. 29, 2016 -- his first wedding anniversary. After surgery, Bettis prepared for last season. But during a Spring Training checkup, doctors determined the disease had spread to his lymph nodes, which meant 21 chemotherapy sessions over nine weeks. The first session was March 20, and nine days later, he and Kristina had their first child, daughter Everleigh Rae.
In his return last Aug. 14, Bettis pitched seven scoreless innings against the Braves at Coors in a Rockies victory. Thursday was another happy chapter to the story, even though it was like the game against the Braves last year in that Bettis didn't figure in the decision.
Bettis' RBI was the fifth of his career and first since last Sept. 4, also against the Giants. The hit gave him a career single-season high of three.
"I've just learned to swing more," Bettis said, smiling.
Bettis seemed headed for a win until two outs in the sixth. He issued his first walk to Buster Posey, then yielded a Brandon Belt fly to the high wall in deep-right field. It took a replay review to determine the ball had hit the railing above the concrete lip at the top of the fence, which meant Belt had tied the game with a two-run homer.
Beyond the personal significance, Thursday was a a bounce-back outing from giving up seven runs and 10 hits in five innings, while not figuring in the decision, in the Rockies' wild, 11-10 home loss to the Brewers in his last start.
"The only hiccup was a borderline decent pitch that a hot hitter hit for a homer," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "But he was very efficient. The ball-strike ratio was great. He pitched aggressively, both sides of the plate. If he gets Belt out, it's six innings of one-run ball."
Bettis has benefited from everything that he has put in the past. It's not just the cancer. He has moved beyond his old style of blowing away hitters with velocity, back when a mid-to-upper 90s mph fastball was his weapon, rather than his changeup. He has embraced being process-oriented, rather than results-oriented. He knows good outings are good, but good outings while understanding why are even better. It's fitting, considering one of his favorite hobbies.
"I'd rather play chess in baseball than trying to overpower guys," Bettis said.
And he can celebrate cornering and capturing his health and life from a difficult opponent.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.