video thumbnail

CWS@COL: Rockies put up six runs to take the lead

DENVER -- On a day when he was rewarded for defense, Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu had the big hits. LeMahieu went 3-for-4 with a career-high three RBIs, including a tie-breaking, two-run, eighth-inning single to touch off a six-run inning and lift the Rockies to a 10-4 victory over the White Sox at Coors Field on Wednesday in front of 22,745.

LeMahieu began the day by receiving the Rockies' 2013 Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award. He came into the day one of few lukewarm hitters on a hot-hitting team.

"We just couldn't get that big hit earlier in the game, so it just felt good to come through like that," said LeMahieu, who scored twice on a day he lifted his batting average 78 points to .286.

The Rockies, who have a .320 team batting average, won the decider of a three-game Interleague set. For the Rockies (5-5), who went 4-2 on their first homestand of the season, it was a rousing send-off for their first National League West road trip -- three games in San Francisco starting Friday, followed by four in San Diego.

"There's a challenge in front of this next week," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "We talked about playing well at home. It's critical for us to play really well at home. It's nice to get off to a good start this homestand.

"It's a tough schedule out of the gate -- 40 games in 42 days. It's good to see us playing well."

Justin Morneau, who reached base four times, opened the eighth with his second hit -- a single off Maikel Cleto (0-1). Nolan Arenado singled off Ronald Belisario and, after Charlie Culberson's sacrifice bunt, LeMahieu lined Belisario's first-pitch fastball into right field to score both runners.

"We talk about DJ being a winning player, and I think that was on display today -- no situation is too big for him," Weiss said.

Josh Rutledge, called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs before the game as righty reliever Wilton Lopez was sent down, added an RBI single. Michael Cuddyer's single drove in a run and extended his hit streak to 10 games -- his career-long to start a season. Carlos Gonzalez, who added three hits, drove in two more runs with a double against Jake Petricka.

The rally made a winner of Rex Brothers (1-0), who pitched a perfect eighth as part of clutch bullpen work. Matt Belisle set down all three hitters in the sixth with a one-run deficit. Adam Ottavino struck out one while retiring all four hitters he faced. The dominant relief pitching pushed the momentum in the Rockies' favor.

"That's the role of a reliever anytime you get the ball, no matter what inning you come in," Belisle said. "Hitters have told me they feed off a good, aggressive inning. Especially in a tight game, they want to get back in the box and get after it."

With the safe lead, Weiss was able to give closer LaTroy Hawkins two hitters, and slipped lefty Boone Logan in for his Rockies debut. Logan, signed for three years and $16.5 million, missed the early days of the season completing his recovery from left elbow surgery.

Rockies starter Juan Nicasio was not hit hard, but the hits were plentiful -- eight in five innings. Nicasio struck out six, but also had two walks. The 95 pitches drove him from the game before he would have liked more so than the hits. He left with the Rockies down, 4-3, courtesy of Conor Gillaspie's soft, two-run single.

"I tried fighting, competing," Nicasio said. "Every day you don't have your slider or command of your fastball. Sometimes you miss. I tried to go in on him, and he blooped one in the middle."

White Sox rookie right-hander Erik Johnson had a similar outing, giving up nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. Five hits came from Rockies left-handed batters -- a triple and a single from Charlie Blackmon, two singles from Gonzalez, and a sixth-inning double from Morneau, who ended up at third on left fielder Dayan Viciedo's error.

Johnson nearly escaped after Morneau's hit. Arenado and Culberson couldn't get the ball out of the infield. But LeMahieu's soft liner fell out of diving right fielder Avisail Garcia's glove. Garcia sustained a jammed left shoulder on the play, and LeMahieu took second as Garcia rolled on the ground in pain.

Preliminary X-rays on Garcia's shoulder were negative for a fracture, dislocation or separation. Also, Belisario suffered lower-back tightness while giving up five runs in one-third of an inning. Comments