The Colorado Rockies used a first-inning home run from Nolan Arenado and a strong performance on the mound from Tyler Matzek to record a 4-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants, earning them a sweep over the defending world champs and moving them to 6-0 on the road in 2015. The Rockies now stand at 7-2 this season, the best mark in the National League.
A big part of the Rockies' hot start away from Coors Field has been pitching. In their six road games this season, Colorado has allowed 0, 2, 4, 0, 1 and 2 runs. No, that is not a typo. When you allow 9 runs in six games, or 1.5 runs per game, there's a good chance you're going to win most or all of them.
The bulk of the pitching tonight was done by southpaw Tyler Matzek. He had a tough first inning that included a hit batter, a single, a walk, a run allowed and 27 pitches thrown, but settled down nicely after that, needing just 65 pitches to complete the next five innings. When he was lifted for a pinch hitter in the top of the seventh, he had allowed just the one run on five hits in six innings of work with the lone walk in the first and three strikeouts.
Like Matzek, Giants starter Tim Lincecum struggled in the first inning, throwing 28 pitches. However, unlike his counterpart, he was unable to limit damage. After walking Charlie Blackmon to start the game and giving up an infield single to Troy Tulowitzki, the two-time Cy Young Award winner had Nolan Arenado down in the count 0-2 with two outs before the slick-fielding Rockies' third baseman went down and got a Lincecum changeup below the knees and launched it over the wall in left-center for his third home run of the season, giving the Rockies a 3-0 lead.
Though Arenado's home run would be all the Rockies would need, they added a run in the top of the second as a sacrifice fly from Blackmon scored Michael McKenry, who had reached on an error, to make the score 4-1.
The only other run of the game came in the bottom of the eighth when Giants third baseman Matt Duffy hit his first career home run, a no-doubt solo shot against Rockies reliever Boone Logan to cut the Rockies' lead to 4-2. It was the first run Logan allowed in 2015.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Rockies turned to Adam Ottavino for his second save opportunity in as many nights and the right-hander did not disappoint, even if, unlike last night, he allowed a Giant to put the ball in play. Joe Panik grounded out to DJ LeMahieu between strikeouts of Joaquin Arias and Brandon Belt to close out the game, and the series.
Maintaining the undefeated road record will not be easy for the Rockies Friday, as they travel down the coast to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw, winner of three of the last four NL Cy Young Awards. Kyle Kendrick will be on the mound for Colorado, looking to bounce back from a rough start against the Cubs last Saturday at Coors Field.