Dodgers 3, Rockies 0
Penny allowed two hits over 6 1-3 innings, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 3-0 victory on Wednesday night. The burly right-hander, energized by a game-time temperature of 63 degrees, a slight breeze and an airtight defense, struck out three, walked four and retired 11 consecutive batters before hitting Chris Iannetta with his 108th and final pitch.
“I think the pitcher’s at an advantage when it’s colder,” said Penny, who walked three consecutive batters in the first inning. “The hitter’s getting one at-bat every nine hitters, so they’re a little more stiff than I was because I’m out there moving around.”
Penny (2-0) beat the Rockies for the sixth straight time after going 5-0 with a 2.67 ERA against them last season. He is 11-2 with a 2.59 ERA in 17 career starts against Colorado, and 4-0 with a 2.19 ERA in four starts at Dodger Stadium.
“They’ve got a good lineup, but it seems like every time I face the Rockies I feel good and my stuff’s working,” he said. “I just don’t tend to make a lot of mistakes against the Rockies. But I think if I have that kind of stuff against anyone and just move the ball in and out, I’ll be successful.”
Colorado’s only hits were Iannetta’s one-out infield single in the second inning and Garrett Atkins’ one-out single to left field in the third. Jonathan Broxton retired all four batters he faced and Takashi Saito pitched the ninth for his fifth save in as many chances.
Jason Hirsh (1-1) allowed three runs, six hits and two walks over five innings and struck out three in his first career appearance against the Dodgers. It was the 11th big league start for the 25-year-old Southern California native, who was born in Santa Monica, attended high school in La Canada, and lives in Burbank during the offseason.
“It was everything it was cracked up to be,” Hirsh said. “It was a thrill of a lifetime to be out there. I had a lot of family and friends here, screaming and hollering. It was enjoyable. I mean, obviously it was not the outcome I wanted, but it wasn’t bad.”
The fourth inning, however, was an absolute nightmare for Hirsh—especially from the neck up. Juan Pierre and Russell Martin singled with two out, then executed a double-steal while the rookie right-hander absentmindedly kept looking for a sign from Iannetta. Hirsh kept his right foot on the rubber and never made a move toward either runner, while Iannetta got out of his crouch and pointed to second base.
“That was the first time a runner had gotten to second base, so I really didn’t even think about it,” Hirsh said. “Chris told me to step off, and I thought maybe a beach ball had fallen onto the field because that’s happened many times since we’ve been here. The next thing I know, both guys had moved. I wouldn’t say I was rattled, but I was definitely surprised by it.”
Nomar Garciaparra lined the next pitch to left field for a two-run single— and before Hirsh made his next delivery, he balked Garciaparra to second.
“I didn’t quite understand that,” Hirsh said of his first balk in the major leagues. “I was trying to get the catcher to go back through the signs, and (plate umpire Chris Guccione) said I tilted my shoulders and came back up like I was coming set. It’s one of those ticky-tacky things. I wasn’t trying to deceive anybody, but it is what it is.”
Jeff Kent singled home Garciaparra, giving the Dodgers a 3-0 lead. It marked the first time in eight games that a Rockies starer allowed more than two runs.
Rockies manager Clint Hurdle acknowledged that Hirsh lost track of the situation at the wrong time.
“He was so locked in there,” Hurdle said. “In a sense, that’s what you’re looking for—but your mound presence has to be a little bit better than that. Once he stepped off, I think everything kind of went quick on him. And the sequence of pitches after that wasn’t as clean as it was in every inning but that inning. He got some balls up and some experienced hitters took advantage of it—Garciaparra and Kent, three runs in the blink of an eye.”
Penny made 24 pitches in the first inning. He walked three in a row after retiring leadoff hitter Willy Taveras, then came back to strike out Matt Holliday on three straight pitches and retire Brad Hawpe on a fielder’s choice grounder to third.
It was the first time in nine games this season that a Rockies starting pitcher didn’t go at least six innings—and the first time the bullpen did not allow a run. … Kaz Matsui became the third Colorado batter to be retired on a bunt in the air when he fouled out to the catcher in the fifth. The other two were Hirsh and Taveras. … Colorado 1B Todd Helton needs two RBIs for 1,000 in his career.