Jhoulys Chacin got the system down. He became the first Colorado pitcher since June 4 to complete seven innings, throwing 74 pitches, 53 strikes, and surrendering only only one run on 5 hits with 2 walks and 4 strike-outs in the Rockies 9-1 thrashing of the San Diego Padres on Saturday night at Coors Field in Denver. Dexter Fowler started in center-field for the Rockies and looked rusty at the plate in his first four appearances since spraining his ankle on August 22 in New York. He looked better on the last pitch he saw, a 90 mph fastball from reliever Miles Mikolas that he drove into the Colorado bullpen for a grand slam.
Chacin was sharp from the start, using 8 pitches to retire San Diego in the first. He gave-up consecutive 2-out singles to Yonder Alonso and Cameron Maybin in the second, but escaped on 11 throws. He used 6 to get the Padres in-order in the third, and 10 to get through the fourth. Alexi Amarista walked on 4 pitches with one-out in the fifth and moved-up on a passed-ball by Wilin Rosario with San Diego starting pitcher Edinson Volquez trying to bunt, but Everth Cabrera grounded to DJ LeMahieu on a 2-2 count and Chacin exited the inning at 49 pitches. Will Venable homered on the second pitch of the sixth, and Chase Headley worked the right-hander for walk no.2 on 5 tosses, but Carlos Quentin popped-out on the next one and Yasmini Grandel grounded into a double-play on pitch 10 of the inning. Chacin’s evening came to a close after he threw 15 pitches to 4 San Diego hitters in the seventh.
The Rockies scored single runs off Volquez in the first and second. Carlos Gonzalez doubled with 2-out in the first and came home on Rosario’s single. Tyler Colvin homered on the first pitch of the second. Volquez’ night ended in the fifth after Josh Rutledge, who was 3 for 5, singled with one out and Rosario walked with two. Colvin delivered both with a double then followed them home after Jordan Pacheco walked and Chris Nelson singled. Nick Vincent came-on for Volquez, and on his second pitch Nelson took-off for second and got himself picked-off. 2nd-baseman Amarista ran Nelson back toward 1st, then fired to the plate where Pacheco slid into the third out. Colorado sealed matters in a sloppy eighth. Pacheco led-off with a single. LeMahieu reached when Cabrera booted a sure double-play grounder in back of 2nd-base. Jason Giambi, back from 37 days on the disabled list for a viral infection, dumped a Texas Leaguer into right field to load the bases, then Fowler delivered his slam. It was Colorado’s shortest game of 2012, completed in 2 hours and 30 minutes.
The two teams will battle for the series on Sunday afternoon, with Colorado sending lefty Jeff Francis to the mound to oppose right-handed rookie Casey Kelly, who will make his second major league start after shutting-out Atlanta over six innings on Monday. First pitch at Coors is 1:10 pm MDT, with ROOT Sports and KOA 850 am doing their usual broadcast magic.