Rocky Start to Phillies Homestand
By Matt Veasey
The Colorado Rockies received another strong starting pitching performance from a young hurler, taking their 2nd straight in this weekend series from the Phillies by a 5-2 margin this afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. It was the Phillies 6th straight loss, their 9th in 11 games.
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This time it was 24-year old Eddie Butler who stymied the Phils, allowing just 4 hits and a walk over 6 innings pitched. Butler (3-5) struck out 3 and allowed just a single earned run. Rockies skipper Walt Weiss then paraded five different relief pitchers out to finish off the Phils, with closer John Axford ultimately recording his 9th Save at the end.
For the Phils’, it was another Quality Start for Aaron Harang, his 10th, tying him for the National League lead in that category. The big righthander allowed just 4 hits across 6 innings, striking out 7 while walking no one. But much as yesterday with Cole Hamels, it was the long ball that did him in.
With one out in the 2nd, Nolan Arenado drove a pitch over the wall in left-center for his 11th homerun. One out later, catcher Michael McKenry lifted his 2nd homerun of the year to almost the same spot, putting the visitors up 2-1.
The Phillies had drawn first blood, scoring a 1st inning run when with two outs, Chase Utley singled and scored all the way from first on an RBI double off the bat of Ryan Howard.
The Rockies took their 2-1 lead into the 7th, and Phils’ manager Ryne Sandberg again turned to Luis Garcia, who again gave up runs. Ben Paulsen, who homered last night off Garcia in the 9th, again took the Phillies reliever out of the yard, making it 3-1.
When Garcia also yielded a one-out double to Brandon Barnes, he was out of the game, replaced on the mound by Jake Diekman. As has been the case more often than not this year, Diekman allowed the inherited runner to score when he immediately gave up an RBI single to Rafael Ynoa.
Up 4-1, the Rox got another run in the top of the 8th, this time off Ken Giles. Troy Tulowitzki led off with a double, moved to 3rd on a ground out, and scored on an Arenado RBI single to make it 5-1.
The Phillies got that one back in their half of the 8th when Cesar Hernandez drove a Rafael Betancourt full count pitch deep into the right field stands for his 1st homerun of the season.
The Phillies tried to make a 9th inning run against Axford, but it would prove too little, too late. Cody Asche and Jeff Francoeur started the inning with back-to-back singles, the 2nd hit of the day for Francoeur. But Axford bore down and retired the next three hitters, striking out Ben Revere looking on a fastball right down the middle to end the ballgame.
The two teams will wrap this series with a Sunday afternoon game at 1:35pm, with Jerome Williams (3-4) scheduled to take the mound against Jordan Lyles (2-5) for Colorado.