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Colorado Rockies win the series finale behind stellar pitching

Jordan Lyles and the bullpen provide a much needed boost to a rather struggling pitching staff.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockies capped off a four-game set with a 2-1 victory over the San Diego Padres Thursday afternoon. After losing five straight, it was good to see the Rockies bounce back for two straight victories before another three-game set against the defending World Champs.

The Rockies were only able to score two runs today at Coors Field, which normally is not enough to get a victory. It was only possible because of the solid performance from Jordan Lyles and damn good pitching from three relievers.

Jordan Lyles, who has been the best starter for the Rockies so far this season, pitched 6 ⅔ much-needed innings for the team tonight. The Rockies bullpen has been taxed the last few days after Jorge De La Rosa only went two innings and Tyler Matzek only went five.

Lyles started out the game by inducing a groundout from Wil Myers followed by a ground ball base hit from Cory Spangenberg. One of the plays that really stood out to me this inning was Lyles ability to make a deceiving yet smooth throw to first base and was able to pick off the speedy Spangenberg. What made the pickoff such a huge play is that the following hitter was Matt Kemp. Kemp thrives in Coors Field, hitting .323 with 14 homers during his career. Lyles was able to limit the RBI potential for such a productive hitter.

The Rockies were able to load the bases in the bottom of the first, but they were only able to get one run as Drew Stubbs struck out swinging to end the inning. Stubbs is now hitless through his first 15 at bats of 2015. He struck out in nine of those at bats. The Rockies would only muster one run in the inning on a bases-loaded walk.

In the bottom of the third, the Rockies would once again load up the bases against Tyson Ross after a Stubbs walk, which was the first time he has reached base all year. Unfortunately, the hitter was Lyles, who struck out on a foul tip and allowed Ross to escape the inning unscathed.

The Padres would finally get a run off of Lyles in the fourth as Yonder Alonso would lace a single into left field scoring Matt Kemp. The throw from left fielder Corey Dickerson wasn’t a very strong one, and prompted a tweet from The Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders:

Definitely something to think about for the future with a couple of solid outfield prospects not too far away in the minor leagues.

The score was 1-1 with a Rockies starter pitching a gem, which the team don’t see very often. The Rockies needed to score, and after talking about how bad Dickerson’s throwing arm was, he showed us how strong he can swing a bat with a towering solo shot to the Padres bullpen in the bottom of the fifth.

Lyles would eventually run into some trouble in the top of the seventh with two runners on and two outs. The Rockies called upon freshly-called-up reliever Scott Oberg, who made the biggest pitches of the game, striking out Justin Upton to end the threat.

Rafael Betancourt would come on in the eighth inning and continued to show that he can still pitch, allowing a double but inducing three pop ups to have another solid inning out of the bullpen.

The Rockies would attempt to add on some insurance runs in the eighth after a lead-off double from Rafael Ynoa and a sacrifice bunt from Stubbs. Carlos Gonzalez, who got the day off, fell deeper into his slump by striking out to end the inning.

John Axford would get the call to close the game in the ninth, but did so rather easily. The Padres would get a man on via base on balls, but couldn’t bring him around as Axford struck out the final two batters of the game. Adam Ottavino, who is the newly named Rockies’ closer, did not pitch tonight because of "usual pitcher soreness."

The Rockies face the San Francisco Giants tomorrow night in Denver. Lucky for me, I’ll be there in person!