Rockies’ bats come alive against Rangers
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Colorado Rockies starter Josh Outman went to the mound for the fifth inning with a 10-run lead.
While the Rockies held on for a much-needed 11-7 victory over the Texas Rangers, it ended up being a no-decision for the right-hander who was the first to start on short rest since manager Jim Tracy’s decision this week to go with a four-man rotation.
Even given extra pitches and another chance through the heart of the Texas lineup, Outman fell one out short of the required five innings to be eligible for his first victory with Colorado.
“At the end of the day, the team won, and that’s the big picture,” a clearly disappointed Outman said. “We got a team win. We came out and played. Besides one inning, we played a great game against the best team in baseball.”
Tyler Colvin and Chris Nelson had consecutive two-out, two-run singles in the third to put Colorado up 5-0 against the two-time defending AL champions, who had won seven in a row.
Before Colorado’s four-run third against Colby Lewis (6-6), the Rangers hadn’t even allowed more than three runs in a game during their winning streak. Wil Nieves and Dexter Fowler – the Nos. 8 and 9 batters – homered on consecutive pitches in the fifth off reliever Michael Kirkman for three more runs and an 11-1 lead.
“I don’t know that we’ve had a better offensive game all year long,” Tracy said.
Six players had at least two hits for the Rockies, who won for only the third time in 16 games. They got their first win in 11 games this season against AL West teams.
Nelson Cruz homered twice for two-time defending AL champion Texas (44-28), which lost for only the third time in 14 games and still has the best record in the majors.
With a double-digit lead, and even though Outman was already past the 75-pitch limit Tracy is trying to impose on his starters, the lefty had two outs in the fifth before Adrian Beltre and Michael Young had consecutive RBI singles to make it 11-3. Outman slammed his glove against his leg in frustration when he was pulled from the game.
“Nothing that I’m going to repeat that went through my head,” Outman said when asked what he was thinking.
“Trying to give the kid the opportunity to be involved in the decision,” Tracy said. “He had done very well, and you know something, I gave him that rope and a little bit more. I gave him Josh Hamilton, I gave him Adrian Beltre, I gave him Michael Young, and the inning was still going.”
Cruz, who had a solo shot an inning earlier off Outman, hit the first pitch from reliever Adam Ottavino over the center field wall for a three-run homer.
“I give him Nelson Cruz and he hits the ball in the bullpen off that kid, then personally for me, I’ve done it wrong,” Tracy said. “But I tried to get him that fifth inning, really, really hard.”
Outman allowed five runs and eight hits with three strikeouts and a walk. He threw 92 pitches.
When Cruz homered deep into the Colorado bullpen on a hanging 0-2 slider in the fourth, Outman slammed both of his hands to his knees.
“Right pitch, obviously very bad location,” Outman said.
Rex Brothers (3-2), the third of five Colorado pitchers, threw two scoreless innings despite allowing leadoff doubles in both.
“They put runs on the board. They hit the ball hard all day,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “I don’t know how you can say it’s a game we should have won. … They beat us. I’ve got no excuses.”
The Rockies loaded the bases with three consecutive singles in the third before Colvin blooped a single to shallow left just out of the reach of shortstop Elvis Andrus. Nelson followed with a single up the middle for a 5-0 lead.
Jonathan Herrera dropped to one knee on his swing that resulted in an RBI double in the fourth before Michael Cuddyer’s two-run double made it 8-0. Nelson had a leadoff double off Kirkman before the homers by Nieves and Fowler.
Lewis struck out six with no walks. The right-hander had two complete games his previous three starts, and allowed only 11 earned runs over 44 innings his last six games.
“Hard day at the office,” Lewis said. “They put the bat on the ball and made key hits when they needed to. They took advantage of mistakes. That’s the way it goes.”
NOTES: The Rockies led 1-0 after Herrera led off the game with a single and stole second and third bases – both steals coming on strikeout pitches – before Jason Giambi’s RBI single. Before that, Herrera had only seven stolen bases in 235 career games, and none this season. … Colorado is 3-5 on its longest roadtrip of the season, which ends with Sunday’s series finale. … Left-hander Matt Harrison, 5-0 with a 1.43 ERA his last six starts, goes for Texas in the finale. Righty Alex White (2-5) starts for Colorado, four days after allowing five earned runs in 3 2-3 innings at Philadelphia.
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