At long last, Flande lands in the win column
CHICAGO -- Left-hander Yohan Flande knows all about waiting, and he doesn't make a big deal about it.
Flande's pro career began with four seasons in the Dominican Summer League before he ever set foot in the U.S., then nine-plus seasons with the Phillies and Braves organizations before his first Major League game, last season with the Rockies. Finally, on Tuesday night, in his 24th big league appearance, he found himself in the win column after pitching five workmanlike innings in the Rockies' 7-2 victory over the Cubs.
Flande, 29, whose previous seven appearances this season had come in relief, held the Cubs to one run on four hits, struck out four and pitched around three walks -- not that he minds a little toil.
Flande is working on his English the way he has worked to make his fastball and slider passable enough to battle Major League hitting. Teammate Rafael Betancourt, serving as interpreter, said Flande "thanks God for his first Major League win."
As for Flande going so long without a victory, Betancourt relayed that it was "not something he was really worried about. Every time he went out there, he was trying to do his best."
But the Rockies were aware, and tweeted a congratulatory message to their starting pitcher that read "CONGRATULATIONS to Yohan Flande on his first Major League win!"
Called up amid injuries and poor starting pitching last season, Flande struggled the second time through batting orders and finished 0-6 with a 5.19 ERA in 16 games, including 10 starts. Then, after the Rockies signed several pitchers with more Major League experience, Flande began this season in the Double-A New Britain rotation and has moved up and down between the Rockies and Triple-A Albuquerque.
The inflammation in Chad Bettis' right elbow opened a spot for Flande. After the Rockies gave him a four-run lead in the top of the first, he walked two and gave up an RBI single to Jorge Soler but escaped with no further scoring.
Flande seemed to be in trouble when Soler doubled to open the fourth, and again when Dexter Fowler doubled with one out in the fifth, but each time he made enough pitches to prevent runs.
Righty Gonzalez Germen, a former Cub, labored at times in his 1 1/3 innings and gave up a run, but lefty Boone Logan locked down two key outs in the seventh -- one courtesy of a leaping catch by Daniel Descalso of a Kris Bryant line drive.
Justin Miller, a former Tiger who could have a chance to gain big league footing now that LaTroy Hawkins has been traded to the Blue Jays, struck out three in two spotless innings, and Flande had his first win.
"He's certainly a favorite on this team. His teammates love him, and it's a great story," manager Walt Weiss said. "He's done a nice job for us over the last couple seasons stepping in in a variety of roles. It's great to see him get that 'W.'"