Philadelphia catcher Carlos Ruiz hit a 3-run first inning home run off Colorado starter Jeremy “Gopher Ball” Guthrie and Phillies’ starter Vance Worley slapped a 2-out, 2-strike, 2-run double in the sixth to lead Philadelphia to an 8-5 victory over the Rockies on Saturday night at Coors Field in Denver. Worley pitched 6 2/3 innings of 2-run, 8-hit baseball to even his record at 5-5. Colorado scored its 2 runs off Worley in the third and added 3 more in the eighth against Phillies’ relievers Jake Diekman and Brian Sanches, but Matt Belisle and Rex Brothers gave Philadelphia 2 back in the top of the ninth to push the game out-of-reach.
Guthrie found trouble right out of the chute. After Jimmy Rollins grounded-out leading-off, Shane Victorino doubled to right on a 2-strike fastball and scored on Chase Utley’s single to left. After Ryan Howard walked Ruiz lifted a huge 3-run homer into the center-field bench seats that ran Philly out to a 4-0 lead. Guthrie recovered for 3 2/3 additional scoreless innings, but the Rockies never surmounted the early lead.
Colorado rookie shortstop Josh Rutledge walked leading off the third against Worley. Guthrie tomahawk-bunted Rutledge to second for a sacrifice and Dexter Fowler drove him in with a looping single to left. After a Mario Scutaro ground-out Fowler scored as Carlos Gonzalez doubled over the head of center-fielder Victorino. With Gonzalez at second Rockies first-baseman Michael Cuddyer lined a shot down the left-field line that Philadelphia third-baseman Mike Fontenot picked out of the sky for the third out.
The Rockies committed some slop on offense in the fourth and defense in the fifth. Tyler Colvin had reached leading-off in the fourth on a catcher’s interference call against Ruiz. As Jordan Pacheco flied to Victorino, Colvin sauntered down toward second, stopped to observe the catch, then retreated to first in a jog as Victorino fired the ball to first-baseman Howard, nailing Colvin by an inexplicable six feet. Wilin Rosario grounded-out to shortstop Rollins. In the fifth with Rollins on first and two-outs, Utley singled to center-fielder Fowler who whiffed on the pick-up, allowing Rollins to advance all the way to third. Matt Reynolds came-on for Guthrie at that point and quashed the threat, getting Howard on a grounder to Cuddyer.
The reprieve was short-lived. In the sixth, with Adam Ottavino on for Colorado, former Rockie Juan Pierre, who went 3 for 3 with a walk, singled to center with two outs. After Pierre stole second Ottavino intentionally walked Fontenot to get to pitcher Worley. The strategy went bust as Worley served the double into the right-field corner to score Pierre and Fontenot and push the lead back to four.
The Rockies were not done, however. In the eighth, with Philadelphia making several defensive changes, Colvin was hit with a pitch after Cuddyer grounded-out, then Pacheco walked. Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel replaced Diekman, who had come-on for Worley with two outs in the seventh, with Sanches. Sanches faced-off against Rosario, who drove an 88 mph fastball into the visitors’ bull-pen to bring Colorado back within one.
A Rockies come-back was denied, however as Philadelphia got one back on a Rollins double and Victorino triple off Belisle, then another when Utley singled off Brothers. Phillies’ closer Jonathan Papelbon, who had relieved Sanches after the Rosario home run, retired Colorado in-order in the ninth for his 19th save.
The two clubs play a rubber match tomorrow afternoon, with Philadelphia sending Cole Hamels (10-4, 3.20) against the Rockies’ Drew Pomeranz (1-3, 3.06) in a contest between two left handers. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 pm MDT, with television on Root and radio 850 KOA.