Rockies 7, Phillies 6
DENVER (AP)—Some players like to shorten their swings or choke up when they get two strikes.
Not Jeromy Burnitz. He’s looking for something to drive on every pitch.
Burnitz knocked in the tiebreaking run with an infield single in the eighth inning—his fourth hit with two strikes—and had four RBIs, helping the Colorado Rockies end a three-game losing streak with a 7-6 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday.
“My approach is the same every single at-bat,” said Burnitz, who was 4-for-5 and extended his hitting streak to seven games. “I’m just looking for a strike, looking for the ball right down the middle every pitch, every at-bat.”
And it works.
Burnitz knocked in Colorado’s first run in the first inning with a bloop single on a 3-2 count, then fought off four straight 0-2 pitches in the third before hitting a run-scoring double off the wall in right.
Burnitz did it again the next inning with a run-scoring single at 3-2, but his best was still to come.
Kit Pellow opened the eighth inning with an infield single off Rheal Cormier (2-3), moved to second on a wild pitch and went to third on Luis Gonzalez’s sacrifice. Royce Clayton grounded out, then Todd Helton and Vinny Castilla walked to load the bases.
Cormier got ahead of Burnitz 1-2 and broke off a pretty good breaking ball, but Burnitz flicked his bat and sent a one-hopper up the middle. Phillies second baseman Chase Utley made a diving stop, but his throw was too late to get Castilla at second.
“Unbelievable. It was a slider nine inches off the plate. I thought I’d get him out,” Cormier said.
Tim Harikkala (1-0) got two outs for his first win with Colorado, and first in the majors since April 24, 1999, with Boston. Shawn Chacon worked the ninth for his 10th save in 12 opportunities for Colorado, which won for just the fourth time in 12 games.
Utley and Ricky Ledee each hit three-run homers, but the Phillies couldn’t make a couple of key plays to lose for just the second time in nine games.
One came in the fourth inning, when pitcher Kevin Millwood couldn’t stop the ball from rolling into the dugout after third baseman David Bell wasn’t able to handle a throw from right fielder Bobby Abreu. Helton scored on the play, putting the Rockies up 6-3.
Then there was Cormier’s wild pitch in the eighth, which put Pellow in scoring position, and the close play at second on Burnitz’s infield single.
“I’m not going to pick out one thing,” manager Larry Bowa said. “When you play a game in this field, everything is magnified.”
Millwood’s off-day certainly didn’t help.
Philadelphia’s ace gave up three runs in the third inning on doubles by Burnitz and Matt Holliday, and two more in the fourth on Burnitz’s single and Bell’s error.
Millwood gave up six runs and seven hits in five innings, the first time he’s allowed more than three earned runs or failed to get past the fifth inning in eight starts this season.
“I felt my stuff was really good today,” Millwood said. “My curveball wasn’t very good, but everything else was. If I go out every time with that stuff, I will win a lot of games.”
Rockies starter Jason Young, called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs, got two quick outs in the first inning, but couldn’t finish it off. He gave up a single to Abreu, walked Jim Thome, then left a changeup belt-high to Ledee, who sent it out to right for a three-run homer.
It was the third time in five games Colorado allowed at least two runs in the first inning.
“We had the first-inning blues again,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “It took three pitches to get the first two outs and 28 pitches later, we finish the inning and they put three runs on the board.”
Young struck out four of the next five batters and allowed one ball out of the infield the next four innings before finding trouble again in the sixth.
Thome led off with a single, Ledee followed with another, then Utley lifted a ball to left that kept carrying for a three-run homer. It was Utley’s first homer since last Sept. 11.
Young allowed six runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings.
A young girl sitting about 20 rows behind the Rockies’ dugout was hit in the head by Bell’s foul ball in the seventh and carried from the stands on a stretcher. Paramedics attended to her for about 10 minutes before putting her in a neck brace and taping her head to a stretcher. A paramedic said she was taken to a nearby hospital, but wouldn’t give her condition. … The Phillies have homered in 12 of their past 13 games. … Helton tied a team record withfour walks, the ninth time it’s been done.