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Shortstop's strong debut helps Rockies topple Phillies

The SportsXchange

DENVER -- Josh Rutledge's storybook major league debut Friday helped Christian Friedrich break a five-game losing streak, and the Colorado Rockies added to the dire nature of the Philadelphia Phillies' season with a 6-2 victory.

Rutledge, a 23-year-old shortstop who was brought up Friday from Double-A Tulsa, hit a run-scoring double and a single in his first two at-bats, then a sacrifice fly on his third plate appearance. He walked on his fourth trip to the plate and stole second base, finishing 2-for-2 with two RBI.

"I couldn't have dreamed it up any better," Rutledge said.

Friedrich, who turned 25 on Sunday, held the Phillies to one run and five hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out seven. Friedrich won for the first time in seven starts since June 4. At that point, his record was 4-1, but he had lost his past five decisions before Friday -- posting a 7.85 ERA in his past six starts -- before making his 13th career start and first against the Phillies.

Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said Ryan Howard, playing just his third game of the season, isn't used to facing left-handers yet -- he struck out twice and walked against Friedrich -- but felt his lineup would challenge Friedrich.

"The kid threw all of his pitches, and he threw strikes when he had to," Manuel said. "That's how I saw it. He stayed there, and he did pretty good. I mean, we didn't hit him."

Cliff Lee, who is 1-6 with a 3.92 ERA over 15 starts, gave up three runs (two earned) in six innings. The Rockies jumped on reliever Michael Schwimer for three runs in the seventh, which began with a double, a single and a triple by Carlos Gonzalez, Ramon Hernandez and Michael Cuddyer, respectively.

The loss was the fifth straight for the Phillies and their 10th in their past 11 games. They fell 15 games behind the Nationals in the National League East.

Before his team slipped to 37-51, Manuel succinctly said what the Phillies had to do to have any hope of getting back in contention.

"We got to start outplaying people," Manuel said.

Instead, the Phillies, who reached the All-Star break in last place for the first time since 2002, continued to muddle along, even at Coors Field. The Phillies had won 10 of their past 12 games and four straight at Coors Field before losing there Friday for the first time since May 12, 2010.

An error by Phillies second baseman Chase Utley contributed to an unearned run in the second. Also, Catcher Carlos Ruiz threw a ball into left field on a pickoff attempt in the seventh that netted the Rockies' final run.

John Mayberry Jr. was picked off first base by Colorado catcher Hernandez after his leadoff single in the fifth. Philadelphia right fielder Hunter Pence and left fielder Mayberry had chances to throw out runners at the plate had they made stronger throws.

"I shake my head because I look out there and see Lee pitching, and I can't believe we can't win some games with him pitching," Manuel said. "We get outplayed, and I've been saying it all year long. That's kind of how it goes."

Rutledge's equipment was in a bag by his locker, having arrived during the game. He used cleats and batting gloves that belonged to injured shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, bats that belonged to infielder DJ LeMahieu, who was briefly with the Rockies earlier this year and is playing at Triple-A Colorado Springs, and borrowed a glove from Jordan Pacheco.

Rutledge had been pulled in the fourth inning from Tulsa's game Thursday night at Little Rock, Ark., and was told he was going to Denver.

"I was definitely pretty surprised," said Rutledge, who hit .306 at Tulsa with 27 doubles, 13 homers, 35 RBI and 14 stolen bases. "I was hoping to continue to play well in Tulsa and maybe, possibly get a call in September. But knowing that it came this early, I couldn't be happier. It was unreal."

Manager Jim Tracy said his pregame message to Rutledge was, well, brief.

"I said, 'Hi, how're you doing?'" Tracy said. "And I told him in about the fourth inning, he was doing pretty good."

Rutledge drove in the Rockies' first run with a two-out double, belting Lee's 0-1 fastball to center field.

"My first at-bat, I was definitely a little nervous," Rutledge said. "I mean, just getting in the box, it kind of hits you. 'Wow, I'm playing in a major league baseball game right now.' But you get that first at-bat out of the way, you settle down and you just realize that you're just playing the same game."

On his final plate appearance, Rutledge, whom the Rockies drafted in the third round in 2010 out of the University of Alabama, walked in the seventh and stole second base. He said Tulowitzki sat next to him before the game started, telling him what to expect and to have fun.

"He acts like he's been here for 10 years, in a good way," Friedrich said, "He doesn't walk around in a cocky walk, but he acts like he belongs here."

NOTES: The Rockies made a slew of roster moves Friday. They placed first baseman Todd Helton (right hip inflammation) and catcher Wil Nieves (turf toe, right big toe) on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 9. Tyler Chatwood, who had a 7.62 ERA in seven games and a 12.60 ERA in three games after being recalled June 29, was optioned to Double-A Tulsa, and his spot in the bullpen was taken by right-hander Mike Ekstrom, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he went 2-1 with a 2.64 ERA in 37 games. Also, Hernandez (left hand soreness) was activated and started, playing his first game for the Rockies since May 23. Left-hander Jorge De La Rosa was transferred from the 15- to the 60-day disabled list. He is recovering from Tommy John surgery performed June 3, 2011, and hasn't pitched for the Rockies this season. ... Manuel said Roy Halladay is expected to start Tuesday at Los Angeles. Halladay allowed one unearned run in three innings and threw 43 of 61 pitches for strikes Thursday for high Class A Clearwater. It was his first appearance in a game since May 27 when he was pulled from a start for the Phillies with a strained muscle in his back. ... The Phillies placed left-hander Raul Valdes (right hip strain) on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 9 and recalled left-hander Joe Savery from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Savery is in his fourth stint with the Phillies this season.
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