DENVER (AP)—Brandon Webb is starting to like Colorado’s bullpen. It’s giving the Rockies fits.
Troy Glaus hit his fifth homer and Webb benefited from Colorado’s shaky relievers for the second time in a week, helping the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Rockies 5-3 Monday night and end a three-game losing streak.
“It seemed like the exact same thing,” Webb said.
It was pretty close.
Shawn Chacon allowed a run in six innings in a taught duel with Webb last Tuesday, only to see the bullpen spoil it by allowing three runs in a 4-2 loss.
This time, Chacon gave up a run and five hits in six innings before being lifted for a pinch hitter. He had thrown 101 pitches and manager Clint Hurdle didn’t want jeopardize his health just because the bullpen has been struggling.
Right-hander Ryan Speier (1-1) replaced Chacon, and 14 pitches later—poof! — the lead was gone.
Quinton McCracken led off with the first of five straight singles off Speier, the boos growing louder with each hit. Tony Clark, Craig Counsell and Royce Clayton chased Speier with consecutive run-scoring singles, then a sarcastic cheer rang out when Hurdle finally went out to get Speier, who didn’t get an out.
But the meltdown wasn’t really a surprise. Colorado is off to the worst start in franchise history at 2-12, and six of those losses have come from the bullpen. And with six blown saves already, the Rockies could be well on their way to breaking the major league record of 34 they set last year.
“I don’t think there is any worse feeling in baseball than to have a lead after the sixth inning and then to blow it,” said Speier, whose ERA rose to 15.75. “I just needed to get three outs before I gave up a run, and I couldn’t do that tonight. It’s very frustrating.”
Chacon has deserved a better fate the way he’s pitched.
Unable to spot his pitches in a failed attempt as closer last year, Chacon has been superb in two outings since returning to the rotation. The right-hander has allowed 11 hits and two runs in 12 innings, with nine strikeouts with just one walk after issuing 52 free passes in 63 1-3 innings last year.
Against Arizona, Chacon had his curveball working early, freezing the Diamondbacks to set up his fastball on the corners. He allowed four singles in the first five innings before Glaus went down after a low fastball and lined it out to left-center in the sixth, cutting Colorado’s lead to 3-1.
“Anytime you lose it doesn’t feel good,” Chacon said. “Regardless of how I pitched, we lost the ball game. We will keep coming out and trying to win. You have to tell yourself that you have to go out there with your stuff and trust your teammates.”
It could have been good enough for a win, but that went to Webb (3-0), who wasn’t bad, either. He allowed three runs and five hits in six innings, with six strikeouts. Brandon Lyon pitched the ninth for his fifth save in six chances.
Webb’s only trouble came in the fourth inning.
Brad Hawpe started things off with a fly to left-center that kept carrying until it cleared the wall in the deepest part of the park. Webb then walked Cory Sullivan and Clint Barmes after J.D. Closser grounded out to first, and Chacon followed with a run-scoring single through the left side—his first hit since July 30, 2003, against Cincinnati.
Aaron Miles made it 3-0 with a chopper up the middle that Webb couldn’t glove.
The three runs were one less than Webb allowed his first two starts (13 innings), and it would have been more if not for Counsell’s diving stop at second—one of three in the game—for the third out.
But that was all the Rockies managed off Webb. He was lifted for a pinch hitter in the seventh inning, picking up the win after Arizona’s four-run outburst against Speier.
“I’ll take these last two outings. They are a shot for me,” said Webb, the first Arizona pitcher to start 3-0 since Randy Johnson in 2002. “My first couple of years I would give up a couple of runs and the bats didn’t come alive. Now they have picked me up.”
Arizona’s Luis Gonzalez was ejected in the eighth inning for arguing balls and strikes. … Barmes was hit by a pitch for the third time in three games in the second inning. … Arizona won on the road for the first time in 10 games, dating to last season. … Colorado has lost 19 of 22 games, spanning two seasons.