Christian Friedrich followed Alex White’s Sunday performance with a gem of his own, allowing no runs and four hits over seven innings to stifle the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday evening at Chase Field in Phoenix. Matt Belisle navigated a Gerardo Parra lead-off double in the eighth and Adam Ottavino dispensed-of Arizona on one hit in the ninth for the Colorado Rockies’ first shutout of 2012, 4-0. The game took a brisk 158 minutes to complete.
Friedrich struggled a bit early, issuing his only two walks and a double by red-hot Paul Goldschmidt to load the bases in the first. After a mound visit from Colorado pitching coach Bob Apodaca he retired Jason Kubel on a fly ball to center fielder Dexter Fowler to end the inning. In the sixth Aaron Hill led-off with a double and moved to third on a Justin Upton ground-out, but Friedrich struck-out Goldschmidt and Chris Young to quash the threat.
The Rockies scored early. The scorching Fowler led-off with yet another triple and scored on shortstop Marco Scutaro’s sacrifice fly. They added two more in the second when Todd Helton led-off with a double, moved to third on a Jordan Pacheco single and scored as Wilin Rosario singled. Pacheco scored when Arizona starter Joe Saunders’ and catcher Henry Blanco’s crossed signals resulted in a passed-ball. Fowler has now hit in eight in a row, Helton 10, and Pacheco has hit in 17 of his last 18. Carlos Gonzalez singled leading off the third and has an eight-game streak. Rosario, who homered onto the swimming pool deck in right field in the fourth, has hit in seven straight.
Saunders started shaky for Arizona but lasted 6 2/3 to take the loss. Saunders was followed by Craig Breslow, Brad Ziegler, and Brian Shaw, who held Colorado scoreless.
The Rockies have now won seven of their past eight and have moved to within six games of .500 at 24-30. At the 1/3 point of the season they remain 9 1/2 games behind the Dodgers, who retain the best record in baseball at 34-21.
The Arizona series resumes tomorrow, with Colorado sending Jeremy Guthrie (3-3, 5.48) out to face Ian Kennedy (4-5, 4.26) in a contest of right-handers. Game time is once again 7:40 MDT with Root providing the TV and radio on KOA.
Rockies Aim to Rise from Desert
Colorado Needs to Take Success on Road
The Colorado Rockies gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about on the just-completed homestand and now it’s time to take the show on the typically unpaved, rutted and pot-holed road. Colorado stands even 15-15 at Coors Field but is 8-15 away from Lodo. They’re hitting .287 in Denver and .229 elsewhere. At least they’re pitching better away from altitude, 4.55 ERA v a major league last 5.43 at 5280 feet.
But times are good. The Rockies won six of seven on the homestand and picked-up 5 games on Division leading Los Angeles. Jordan Pacheco and Wilin Rosario have hit in six straight, Dexter Fowler seven, and Carlos Gonzalez eight.
Arizona is coming off a 6-0 shutout of San Diego and is 6-4 in its last 10, also making-up ground on the Dodgers. Paul Goldschmidt has hit in 12 in a row and Willie Bloomquist in five.
Colorado sends Christian Friedrich (3-1, 5.59) to the hill tonight against the Dbacks’ Joe Saunders (3-3, 3.61), two left-handers squaring-off. Friedrich is chasing his third straight win despite allowing 8 runs on 18 hits in 11 innings in the two previous victories. Saunders pitched extremely well in April, but fell-off in May until his last start at San Francisco when he allowed only one earned run in 5 1/3 innings.
First pitch is at 7:40 MDT. TV on Root, radio KOA. The lineups:
|CF Dexter Fowler
SS Marco Scutaro
LF Carlos Gonzalez
RF Michael Cuddyer
1B Todd Helton
3B Jordan Pacheco
C Wilin Rosario
2B DJ LeMahieu
P Christian Friedrich
|SS Willie Bloomquist
2B Aaron Hill
RF Justin Upton
1B Paul Goldschmidt
CF Chris Young
LF Jason Kubel
3B Ryan Roberts
C Henry Blanco
P Joe Saunders