Wade Miley walked Dexter Fowler 3 times. In the 1st he walked Fowler, Jordan Pacheco, Troy Tulowitzki, and Michael Cuddyer. He did however, throw a first pitch strike to Carlos Gonzalez, which prompted the All Star to swing at the next two, rapping the second to Arizona Diamondbacks 2nd-baseman Josh Wilson, who turned it into a 4-6-3 double play. 10 of Miley’s next 16 pitches were balls, but he struck Wilin Rosario-out on the 17th and Arizona went-on to defeat the Colorado Rockies 3-2 in 10 innings on a warm spring night at Chase Filed in Phoenix.
There was big news in the aftermath of the Rockies frustrating and poorly played defeat. 3rd-baseman Nolan Arenado, who had torn it-up in early Spring Training and was hitting .364 with 3 homers and 21 whopping RBI at AAA Colorado Springs got the call to The Show, and long-time farm-hand Chris Nelson was designated for assignment. The 98-loss 2012 Colorado squad had three glaring weaknesses to shore-up, starting pitching, road offense, and overall defense. The jury is still out on the former, but the defense has been considerably improved in 2013, with the exception of 3rd base, where Nelson, Reid Brignac, and Ryan Wheeler have committed 7 of the Rockies’ 15 errors. Two lousy throws Friday night may have sealed Nelson’s fate.
Speculation now is where Arenado will hit. Nelson had been working primarily out of the 8-hole, a tough spot for a rookie to break-in. Josh Rutledge has struggled batting 2nd, but has a big swing and strikes-out frequently. Pacheco, hitting 2nd recently with Todd Helton on the Disabled List, profiles as an exceptional candidate, as, blasphemy aside, does Helton.
Chris Nelson is no-doubt bitterly disappointed, but the move may in fact prove a relief. It has clearly been only a matter of time before Arenado would be promoted, and neither Nelson nor Brignac had remaining options.
Gonzalez is now 4 for his last 34. He laid-down a bunt single in the 3rd, but popped-out with runners on 1st and 3rd in the 5th, and with a runner on 3rd in the 7th. He grounded-out to short with one out in the 10th. The Rockies left the bases loaded in the 1st and 5th. In the 8th Michael Cuddyer and Wilin Rosario led-off with singles, but Cuddyer was picked-off 2nd when Miguel Montero made a lucky snag of a David Hernadez pitch in the dirt, then Rosario got doubled way-off 2nd base on a Josh Rutledge line-drive to right-fielder Gerardo Parra.
Jeff Francis started for Colorado and turned in 5 competent innings on the heels of 3 consecutive bad outings. He surrendered a 1-out solo homer to AJ Pollock in the 1st, and got burned for another run three batters later when Cody Ross sliced a soft triple down the right field line with Montero, who had singled, on 1st. Francis exited after 83 pitches (55 strikes), allowing 4 hits and 2 bases-on-balls with 2 strike-outs. Miley lasted only 4-1/3, eventually walking 7. He threw 98 pitches (52 strikes), but left without giving-up a run.
The Rockies scored one in the 6th on a Rosario homer, and one in the 7th when Tulowitzki knocked in Fowler, who had led-off with a double.
Adam Ottavino followed Francis and contributed 5 outs, Rex Brothers got one, and Wilton Lopez and Matt Belisle 3 each before Pollock led-off inning 10 with a single off Edgmer Escalona (1-1, 3.14). Pollock stole 2nd and moved to 3rd when Rosario’s throw was wild. Ross ended it with a deep fly to center. JJ Putz
(2-0, 4.09) picked-up the win for the D’backs.
Colorado will look to salvage a split when the Division rivals meet for a fourth game on Sunday afternoon, a 2:10 MDT start in the desert, where it’s expected to break 100° for the 1st time in 2013. Jon Garland
(2-1, 4.68) will go for the Rockies against Arizona’s Patrick Corbin (2-0, 1.71).