Having just walked Colorado center-fielder Dexter Fowler to lead off an inning for the second time, Houston Astros’ right-hander Bud Norris took the ball from catcher Jason Castro, and as he stepped onto the rubber shook his head in disgust and as Root Sports’ high-third-base camera zoomed-in, muttered one of those words that rhymes with “luck.” Rockies shortstop Marco Scutaro grounded-out softly to third, Fowler moving up a base. Norris, down 5-1 and at that point just trying to eat some innings and minimize damage, got religion and intentionally walked Carlos Gonzalez after getting behind 2-0. With Colorado right-fielder Michael Cuddyer settling in at the plate, Castro picked-off Fowler. Except sorry for Norris, second-base umpire Jeff Kellogg saw it differently. With one strike on Cuddyer, Castro threw wildly to first attempting to pick-off Gonzalez. and with runners on second and third with one-out (versus a runner at first with two-out), Cuddyer doubled to deep right-center, scoring Fowler and Gonzalez. After a Todd Helton pop-out, Rockies’ catcher Wilin Rosario joined the hit parade, singling to right and driving-in Cuddyer. Norris’ once-stellar May was over. Rhiner Cruz came-on to face Jordan Pacheco. Rosario stole second and scored Colorado’s 9th run as Pacheco dropped a soft liner in front of Astro’s center-fielder Jordan Schafer. Norris, who had given-up just one earned run in his first four starts in May, surrendered 12 in his next two.
After Rockies’ starter Jeremy Guthrie bumbled through the first, allowing two base-runners after retiring the first two Houston batters, a recent endearing custom of the Colorado pitching staff, Colorado got the night off to a bang, sprinting-out 5-0. Fowler walked to lead-off, and after Scutaro singled him to third, Cargo sliced his fourth consecutive home-run over the right-field wall, tying a major record record held by many, mostly Hall-of-Famers. Gonzalez is now hitting .338 with 14 homers. Cuddyer singled and scored on a Helton double. After Norris finally retired Rosario for the first out, Pacheco, who has hit in nine of his past 10 games, delivered a ground-rule double that hopped the center-field wall to score Helton.
Guthrie went seven innings, four of them shaky. He surrendered a homer to left-fielder JD Martinez in the second. He allowed three in the fourth on a triple, double and two singles, then was perfect in the fifth and sixth. Houston’s last run scored in the seventh on consecutive singles by Schafer, Jose Altuve, and Jed Lowrie, Schafer scoring on a double-play grounder off the bat of Carlos Lee. Third-baseman Chris Johnson flied to center, ending Guthrie’s night. Matt Reynolds logged a 1-2-3 eighth, and Josh Roenicke navigated the ninth, working around singles by Matt Downs and Altuve.
It was a gratifying win for Colorado, which lost shortstop Troy Tulowitzski to the disabled list with a strained left groin muscle. The Rockies also said good-bye Wednesday to left-hander Jamie Moyer, who was designated for assignment. The 49 year-old Moyer had been a “feel-good” story for the Rockies, becoming the oldest major leaguer to win a game, score a run, and record an RBI.
The Division leading Los Angeles Dodgers arrive for a three-game set this afternoon. Josh Outman will replace Moyer, and limited to 50 pitches, will oppose Los Angeles left-hander Chris Capuano on Friday evening. Saturday Juan Nicasio will face-off against Aaron Harang on Saturday and Alex White faces Nathan Eovaldi on Sunday afternoon. An unlikely sweep of LA could potentially revive hopes for the Rockies, who have dug themselves a 10 1/2 game hole and are eight games below .500. Colorado travels to Phoenix on Monday for three against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Tonight’s first pitch is scheduled for 6:40 pm MDT. Root Sports will have the television with Jerry Schemmel and Jack Corrigan handing the radio broadcast for KOA 850 AM.
Tulo on DL; Rockies Look to Sweep Houston
Guthrie’s Competence on Line vs Astros’ Norris
Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzski was placed on the 15-day disabled list today and infielder Chris Nelson has been reinstated to the 25-man major-league roster to replace him. Tulo took an MRI this afternoon, and while the results of it will not be known until Friday, the Rockies decided to make the move irregardless. Manager Jim Tracy said the “the best-case scenario” was “trying to milk it for five to six days,” and consequently the team opted for a conservative approach. The move comes unfortunately as Colorado is just showing signs of shaking an early-season malaise that finds it 9 games below .500 and 11 1/2 games behind the Division leading Los Angeles Dodgers. DJ LeMahieu will start at second base tonight, with Marco Scutaro moving over to Tulowitzski’s spot at short.
Meanwhile, right-hander Jeremy Guthrie will try to demonstrate some sign of whatever it was made Colorado name him its number one starter back in April. He faces Houston righty Bud Norris (5-1, 3.34), who was having a superior May, allowing just 4 earned runs in 5 starts until lasting only
4 2/3 innings in his last start against Los Angeles. Guthrie (2-3, 5.31) allowed 6 runs (2 earned) on 10 hits in 5 innings, including 2 homers, on Saturday against the Reds at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.
It will be the final meeting between Colorado and Houston for 2012. With 3 wins over the Astros this week at Coors Field, the Rockies will take the season series win or lose, and look to sweep the Astros out of Denver on their last visit as a National League franchise. The lineups:
CF Jordan Schafer
2B Jose Altuve
SS Jed Lowrie
1B Carlos Lee
3B Chris Johnson
RF Brian Bogusevic
LF JD Martinez
C Jason Castro
P Bud Norris
CF Dexter Fowler
SS Marco Scutaro
LF Carlos Gonzalez
RF Michael Cuddyer
1B Todd Helton
C Wilin Rosario
3B Jordan Pacheco
2B DJ LeMahieu
P Jeremy Guthrie