The Colorado Rockies ran their season opening record to a franchise best 13-4 with their 8th straight victory, a 4-3 nail-biter versus the Arizona Diamondbacks on a cool Saturday evening at Coors Field in Denver. Jorge De La Rosa (2-1, 2.82) continued his renaissance after Tommy John surgery with 6 scoreless innings of 2-hit, 4-strikeout pitching, and the over-paid Michael Cuddyer hammered a 6th inning solo home run that provided enough cushion for Colorado to overcome a shaky 9th from closer Rafael Betancourt.
Cuddyer’s homer put the Rockies up 4-0 on the first pitch Trevor Cahill (0-3, 3.60) delivered after De La Rosa’s day was through. Edgmer Escalona followed the left-hander to the mound and logged a 1-2-3 7th, but in the 8th he surrendered a 1-out single to former Rockie Wil Nieves, and pinch-hitter Eric Chavez drilled a 2-run shot into the right-field seats. Rex Brothers finished the inning and Betancourt came-on to close it in the 9th.
AJ Pollock turned El Deliberado’s second offering into a gigantic double, and the drama was on. Martin Prado grounded to 2nd and Pollock could not advance, but Paul Goldschmidt singled, moving Pollock to 3rd. Gerardo Parra, in for Cody Ross, who had been tossed for throwing his bat, worked Betancourt for a 6-pitch walk to load the bases. Miguel Montero pinch-hit for Alfredo Marte and worked the right-hander for 8 pitches before grounding sharply to Cuddyer at 1st, who took the out at the bag while Pollock scored from 3rd and Goldschmidt and Parra moved-up. Nieves, who had a tough night, popped to Eric Young in right and Colorado remained undefeated in Denver for 2013.
The Rockies got on the board first in the 2nd when Josh Rutledge walked and advanced around 3rd on a long single by Reid Brignac. Rutledge went too far however, and was caught in a rundown. As Nieves ran him back to 3rd, the catcher and 3rd-baseman Prado got too close to one another and Nieves’ 6-foot toss to Prado skittered into left-field allowing Rutledge to score. Colorado added 2 more in the 3rd. Eric Young Jr, robbed by center-fielder Pollock on a moon shot in the 1st, hit a nearly identical drive, but more up the middle and beyond Pollock’s reach for a lead-off triple. Dexter Fowler was hit by a pitch and stole 2nd, then Carlos Gonzalez grounded-out, plating Young and pushing Fowler to 3rd, where he scored on a Troy Tulowitzki sacrifice fly. It looked like it would be enough until Betancourt’s troubles in the 9th.
The Rockies will be looking to stay perfect at home by sweeping the series tomorrow afternoon behind the big right-hander Juan Nicasio (2-0, 5.63). He’ll match-up with Arizona’s Brandon McCarthy (0-2, 7.47). Game-time is 2:10 pm MDT at Coors Field.